Home security is often overlooked until the worst happens, however the protection of your loved ones and possessions should be at the forefront of all home owners minds.
Simple actions can be taken to increase the security of your home, you should start by inspecting your current locks to see if they are not only working properly but are secure enough.
External doors can be placed into 2 separate categories, wooden solid doors and plastic UPVC doors, these two types of doors are both locked and secured in very different ways. Mortice locks, with more traditional larger mortice keys are typically found on solid wooden doors, a hole is cut into the side of the door to accept the mortice lock case, the only visible part of these locks are the forend which can be seen on the edge of the door. Often the forend will give details about the lock and its security level, on this example, we can see the lock brand at the top, number of levers in the middle and BS Kite Mark at the bottom, showing this lock has been accredited with BS3621:2004. When checking your existing locks, look out for these stamps, ideally locks fitted to external door should be at least 5 Lever British Standard, if you do not have a lock to this standard, then consideration should be taken to upgrade the lock, checks should also be made with your home insurance details, often a minimum security level for locks is specified. Replacement mortice locks can easily be sourced and fitted to match your current lock size, simply remove the lock from the door and measure the lock case and forend length / width, a suitable alternative can then be easily sourced.
UPVC plastic doors are normally much thinner than wooden doors and therefore can not accept a mortice lock. Multipoint locking mechanisms have been developed to offer excellent protection for PVC doors, they use a mixture of bolts and hooks to provide locking security, often engaged by lifting the door handle. UPVC lock cases will be operated by a simple Euro or Oval barrel lock, these cylinders fit through the door and lock case and once the key is turned, it will lock the multipoint lock and secure the door. The locking cylinders are available in many sizes to suit all door types and thickness and also differing security levels. 5 pin cylinders are the most common, however these have proved weak against various types of attack, including lock picking, bumping and snapping. Higher security levels can be achieved by replacing these less secure lock barrels with Kite Marker alternatives, look out for cylinders that have Anti Snap, bump and pick protection.
All windows should be secured with a key operated lock, this can be a locking window handle, however, as the price of replacement windows fall, so does the quality of the handles and locks. Extra window locks can be fitted to compliment any existing locks. Sash stoppers are one of the most popular types of secondary lock for windows, as they are easy to fit, cheap to buy and simple to operate. Also known as their brand name of Sash Jammers, they can be purchased in a colour to suit existing windows with locking and non locking options, the simple nature of these locks means they are more likely to be used when securing and leaving a house.
Patio doors are vulnerable to attack as their locking systems are often weaker than front or back doors and often not overlooked by neighbours or from the street, this could allow an intruder to spend more time trying to gain entry. Simple push to lock patio door locks can be fitted to add extra security and strength and also provide anti lift protection.
Front doors can be further protection with security items such as, door chains to allow caller identification before a door is fully opened, door bars to provide extra strength to door frames and thus restrict a force attack and hinge bolts again to offer defence for a force attack but also essential for doors that open outwards with exposed hinge plates.