As many workers are heading back to the office following the pandemic – either on a part of full time basis, homeowners wanting to protect their properties while they are away at work can look to these top tips from home experts.
Checking that the front door is locked properly, all the windows are closed and whether or not you remembered to set the burglar alarm are just some of the things that – lockdown aside – already run through our minds once we have left the house.
The home improvement experts at Stormclad have compiled together a short list of the best ways to ensure your home is secure and safe so that you can be away for hours and not have to worry.
John Evans, managing director at Stormclad, says: “Your home, whether it be a house or apartment or something in between, is your sanctuary. To guarantee a clear conscience and peace of mind when it comes to home security, you need to know it’s safe.
“It’s important for homeowners to invest in the very best security systems to protect their property against criminal opportunists. As many professionals across the UK begin to venture back into the office full or part time, our increased absence from our homes might make them a target.
“Whether it’s a new door with a robust composite frame, a multipoint locking system or internally beaded windows to prevent forced entry – it is worth the investment, and has the potential to add value to your home as well.”
1 Secured by Design Specification
70% of intruders get in through insecure front and back doors, therefore homeowners should ensure doors are manufactured to Secured by Design specification, or “SBD”. This is an independent police-approved group that was established as part of the Association of Chief Police Officers to evaluate the effectiveness of door products against crime.
If a door has been SBD accredited, it has met the strictest criteria that it can withstand attack against forced entry.
Homeowners should also invest in products that are British Board of Agrément (BBA) accredited, which indicates a high quality, experienced and reliable company or product.
2 Securing protective and defensive door and window hardware
There are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing the best hardware systems for your home.
Depending on your preference and style, timber core composite doors offer an impact-resistant solid core whilst remaining soft on the eye, energy efficient and will most likely last as long as 35 years, if properly maintained.
uPVC doors are practical, durable and weather resistant. Whilst not as thick and solid as composite doors, uPVC doors are developed with ‘CoolSkin’ technology eliminating warping, bowing and cracking. uPVC doors and windows can be either double or triple glazed for extra protection, and windows are often internally beaded to prevent forced entry with multi-lock points and restrictive sash openings.
Cutting-edge aluminium doors and windows have robust panels and frames yet are lightweight, slender and offer a sleek finish. Coded key options can also prevent unauthorised key cutting.
Accoya, Sapele, European Oak and European Redwood are four strengthening timber species all perfect for defensive timber window and door hardware systems, often available in a wide range of protective and durable finishing options.
It is worth weighing up what is best for you and your home both aesthetically and security wise, and going from there – with so many choices available, you should have no problem finding a balance of the two.
3 Security System
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to ensure your homes’ safety is to install a reliable security system.
With so many different types available on the market, carefully research what is out there and decide whether a standard or premium system would meet your needs, depending on budget.
After all, if you were a burglar, would you target a house blaring with an alarm, or one making no noise at all?
4 Lived-in look
Thieves are less likely to approach houses if it looks like someone is home – no thief wants the hassle of actually being caught!
If you are leaving your house unattended, leave a low energy light on – or better still, buy yourself a plug-in timer or a trigger sensitive light.
You can also invest in motion-sensor outside lighting at the front and back of your property, so any intruders approaching your home have nowhere to hide.
5 Keep valuables safe
Whilst it may seem like a no-brainer, always double check that you haven’t left your phone on the kitchen table in view of the window, or your laptop on the sofa in the lounge, or any money lying around.
Don’t forget to put away any valuable documents, too, and to shred any personal correspondence when throwing it away. Identify theft can be even more damaging than something materialistic – being taken.
It is also worth being mindful of any rubbish that you leave outside. An empty computer box is just a free advertisement to thieves of what you have inside your home – so avoid it at all costs if you can.
The same goes for any packages that are delivered to your home while you are at work. If possible, arrange for any parcels to be left in a safe, secluded space – you can even invest in a secure box for all post and packages – so that couriers and postal workers don’t end up leaving items on display if you’re not in.
6 Neighbourhood watch
Whether by word-of-mouth or via an online group set up on the likes of Facebook, knowing that when you are away from your home, your neighbours are keeping an eye out for you can be a huge relief. Even if the very worst happens and a thief manages to get into your home, having an eyewitness just might be all it takes to find them and have your possessions returned.