As we prepare for darker evenings and extra hours in bed from tonight, Steffan George, of The Master Locksmiths Association, issues a security warning to home owners and tenants – and provides advice on keeping your home safe and secure.
WHILE an extra hour in bed can be a welcome result of the clocks going back by one hour this month, the risk to home security is a definite downside. The longer, darker evenings offer better cover for potential thieves, so it’s vital to review and improve your security as we move into winter months. Master Locksmiths Association members – who are vetted, regularly inspected and highly qualified – carry on security reviews with home owners all over the country are particularly wary of the problems that the dark nights may introduce. The MLA recommends measures are taken in winter months to protect your property, such as checking locks are in working order, fitting security lighting to illuminate darker or obscured areas of your garden, cutting down overgrown bushes and using internal timed lighting. Here are some tips which will help you keep you, your home and your valuables safe & secure: Start by reviewing the exterior of your property to make sure fences and gates are in good condition and there are no broken windows or access to your property through garages or conservatories. Lock up garden tools and ladders. Ask a qualified locksmith such as a MLA member to review your doors and windows – including internal doors to conservatories and garages – to maker sure they have the most appropriate locks, are in good condition, properly fitted and meet insurance requirements. It is important to check insurance documents to know if you would be fully insured in the event of a break-in. Opportunist thieves can often approach house that look like there is no one at home so consider installing light timers around the house as the dark nights creep in , so it appears that someone is inside of the property. ‘Fake TV’s ‘ can be used that emit changing light patterns similar to those emitted by a television, making it seem that someone is home watching it.
Dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to front and back doors will deter potential thieves and help you gain entry into your home in the dark. Consider additional security measures such as alarms and CCTV. If you have items of cash or sentimental value, consider getting a safe professionally installed and think about getting the property marked. Side windows can be smashed to reach keys and gain entry so consider adding reinforced glass or perhaps even blocking up windows. Decorative grilles and bars can vastly improve the security of a home . You could also install top and bottom bolts on French doors or add sash jammers to UPVC doors.
While you are reviewing your security it is also worth considering when your keys were last replaced, whether past owners or tenants may still have access to your home and whether anyone may have made copies of you keys without your knowledge. if you are worried, ask a locksmith to change your locks and fit a patented system; this will mean that keys can only be copied with proof of ownership. Consider your own influence on the level of security for your home and make sure you put an end to bad habbits such as leaving keys in the locks or in view that you or your family may have. Simple tips such as always setting the alarm, changing the alarm codes and locking side or back gates can deter criminals.
Steffan George – director at The Master Of Locksmiths Association, www.locksmiths.co.uk , 0800 783 1498