Home Security, Locks, Alarms, CCTV

Techniques to Help Protect Your Home

Protecting your home from being targeted by burglars has become a high priority for many today. The level of security you may require could depend on several factors, not the least of them being the amount of valuables you may have in your home.

There are, of course, other reasons why you may want to protect your home. It may be that you just wish to have peace of mind in knowing that you are protected, regardless of what you may have in your home. The reality is that it is not always personal possessions that criminals could be targeting, and that is reflected in how security systems have been adapted to protect individuals as well, with personal attack alarms included as part of the home security system.

So before we discuss the types of systems and devices that are available it would be good to review the steps you should be taking to protect your home. Some may seem obvious, but it’s good to refresh our minds regarding such an important measure.

  • Always make sure that you have locked the doors and windows before you leave the house, even if it’s only for a while
  • All external doors should have 3 locking points, and mortise locks will go a long way in adding strength to the doors. They are readily available at any local DIY store
  • Window locks will help in the efforts to stop intruders, especially on older windows, or windows without double glazing
  • Deadlocks are great at stopping the intruder from getting in and also make it very difficult for them to get out again
  • If you thinking of replacing your doors and windows with uPVC or metal check that the locks are of a good security standard beforehand
  • Don’t leave spare keys under the mat outside or in a tin in the shed as this is the first place intruders will look
  • Remember to lock your car and garage and keep the keys out of sight in the house
  • When you lock the doors, don’t leave the keys in the locks
  • Make sure the curtains are drawn at night and keep your valuables out of sight

So those tips are a good start to being more security conscious and once implemented. Let’s have a look at what security systems and ideas are available to increase your safety.
“55% of burglaries take place in the evening or night and 34% occur at the weekend.”

Source: crimestoppers-uk.org

This chart shows how a security alarm works

This chart shows how a security alarm works

ALARM SYSTEMS

If you are looking for a burglar alarm system then you may have been confused by the number of systems available. To help narrow the types down to what you think you might need we have listed the 5 main systems and their approximate cost.

Bells-only alarm

For a one-off fee you can have an alarm installed that makes a loud noise. This can act as a deterrent but the problem could be that you have to rely on a kindly neighbour calling the police and then hope that the police will respond.
Cost: £300- £600.

Maintenance contracts

This system will involve an annual fee for inspecting and maintaining the alarm. The aim is to cut down on false alarms and give you the peace of mind that it is still working.

Cost: Around £50-£100 a year.

Monitoring contracts

This type of contract is often called a key holder system. The idea is that if the alarm is activated then this will be picked up by a central monitoring company and they will contact the individuals who have been nominated as key holders for the property. Because of the history of false alarms with these systems most monitored systems will now activate when there are at least two indications that there is an intruder. This may be because a movement sensor is going off alongside an indication that a door has been opened. The initial cost of the system is kept to a minimum in place of a monthly fee.

Cost: Around £100-£400 a year.

Having a good security alarm is vital to home security

Having a good security alarm is vital to home security

Police response

A more sophisticated system will link your alarm to the police. Because of a history of false alarms there have been many discussions between the police and the security companies which has resulted in stricter guidelines on their use. Just as in the key holder system the alarm must have at least two indications that there is an intruder in the property.

None of this guarantees a fast response from the police and will greatly depend on what other incidents are happening at that time. If the monitoring centre indicates to the police that there is definitely a burglar in the property this may hasten a quicker response. The down side could be that if you have three false alarms in a twelve month period then you are struck off the police register.

Cost: this could be from £250 a year including maintenance but does not include a one off fee up to £45 paid to the police for registering your alarm with a unique reference number.

Speech dialler

This system is much simpler and cuts out the need, and the expense of monitoring. Quite simply, when the alarm goes off the system will call a set of telephone numbers that you have chosen until it gets an answer. It will then alert the person it has contacted that the alarm has gone off. This system only requires one movement sensor to be activated for this to happen.
Cost: Around £99-£150 to fit as a one-off fee and any costs associated with calling the nominated numbers.
For help in choosing an installer have a look at the following websites:
www.nsi.org.uk
www.ssaib.org

Security Locks

Thieves have devised methods of ‘snapping’ locks in seconds to gain entry to your home. Most security companies and locksmiths today would recommend that you fit ‘Euro cylinders’ to your doors. The only way to tell if these are already fitted is to dismantle the lock so the best thing to do is to get a locksmith to check out all of the doors to the property. When you consider the cost of losing your possessions against the expense of upgrading your locks, then it really is a no-brainer. Added to that is the bonus of reducing your annual home insurance premium by fitting better locks to your property.

Don’t leave your code as the default 0000

Don’t leave your code as the default 0000

CCTV
The use of closed circuit television cameras has become an integral part of our lives, and there are several organizations who expend a lot of energy in trying to halt their progress. The fact that they have prevented a certain amount of crime cannot be denied, and they have often been used in providing evidence in criminal cases.

We may not be so inclined to use them privately when it comes to protecting our property but any device that may allow a criminal to be identified is going to be a deterrent. Many individuals have even resorted to placing dummy cameras in prominent positions. If you live in a high crime area you may consider using a door entry system that incorporates a CCTV camera. This may be as simple as a small image on the entry system or could be a more sophisticated system allowing images to be shown on the television. Generally, once a camera system has been installed, it is only the most foolhardy of criminals who will risk committing an offence within its field of view.

Get a Dog

The most obvious thing to say if you are considering using a dog to guard and protect your home is make sure that you really want to have a dog. Although it may seem a cheaper option, the reality is that it can be expensive and time consuming to look after a dog.

Having solid locks on doors is important

Having solid locks on doors is important

So if we assume that you would like to have a dog in your life then they can play a large part in reducing the possibility an intruder breaking into your home. You need to weigh up the positives of no monthly fees for an alarm and alerting you before the intruder even breaks into the house against the insurance costs for vet fees alongside the expense of feeding a dog and the amount of time needed to train and exercise your pet.

Conclusion

What is clear regarding home security that there are several ways we can protect our homes today, whether it be through technology or by age old methods. It may be that you require electrical advice or possibly building advice on your home. What is most important is to make sure you get the right information before proceeding.