As autumn draws in and the leaves start to fall, the nights are getting longer and unfortunately that means break-ins become more common.
Here, Dr Steffan George, development director of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) – the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession – advises home owners to be extra vigilant as the clocks go back.
As we prepare for darker evenings and an extra hour in bed this month, there is a greater risk to home security. This is the time of year when homeowners need to be extra vigilant as autumn is traditionally the time when home burglaries are on the rise, with an average increase in cases of 20 per cent, according to Home Office statistics. Taking some simple precautions can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime as hours of daylight get shorter.
1. Get an expert in to check your security: The seasonal increase in crime can be tackled by using properly vetted, inspected and qualified professionals to help secure your home. A professional MLA-approved locksmith will be able to carry out a security assessment and advise on suitable locks, fittings and additional security, as well as providing input from a safety point of view. An expert locksmith will check your locks and, where necessary, upgrade and fit the appropriate additional security hardware.
2. Make potential burglars think twice about breaking in: The clocks going back and the nights getting darker can help to create an ideal set of conditions for potential burglars. As a homeowner you can’t do anything about these two factors, but you can secure your home in such a way that burglars will think twice before attempting to break in. It is always advisable to perform an assessment of the exterior of your property as appearances can act as a deterrent against crime. Any kind of visible disrepair like broken windows will stand out to would-be thieves, and could act as a marker identifying your property as a potential target.
|MLA development director Dr Steffan George|
4. Don’t make it easy for an opportunist thief: Lock any tools and items like ladders that can be used to break into a property securely away. It is also worth considering when your keys were last replaced, where past owners or tenants may still have access to your home and if anyone might have copied keys without your knowledge. If you’re worried, ask a professional locksmith to change your locks.
5. Don’t make your home an open door: You may want to install top and bottom bolts on French doors or add sash jammers to UPVC doors and windows. Side windows can be can be smashed to reach keys and gain entry so consider adding reinforced glass or maybe even block up the window. Decorative grilles and bars can also vastly improve the security of a home without spoiling the aesthetics. Never keep your keys in your locks or within easy reach of a door/window.
6. Light up your home and install security: Dusk to dawn or sensor lighting to the front and back door of your home will deter potential thieves and help you gain entry into your home in the dark. You could also consider additional security measures such as alarms and CCTV, which act as a deterrent. Opportunistic thieves often approach houses that look like nobody is at home so consider installing light timers around the house (ensure one is upstairs) as the dark nights creep in or use a ‘fake TV’-type device that projects TV-like light onto a wall so it appears someone is home.
7. Remember to secure outbuildings: While people are security conscious about their homes, they can easily forget about garages or sheds, where valuable equipment, gardening, power tools and mountain bikes are often stored. Ensure all outbuildings are locked and valuables inside are have locks and are security marked.
The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) was established over 50 years ago to set and promote standards of conduct, practice and materials within locksmithing. The MLA is recognised as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the Police, Home Office and other leading organisations such as the British Standards Institute.
As a not for profit association, the MLA ensure its member companies undergo strict vetting procedures so the public, government and industry receive the appropriate service and advice. MLA members share the ethos that ‘skill and integrity’ remain paramount in locksmithing and are able to provide sound advice based on knowledge and experience.
A list of approved MLA companies can be found on the MLA website. For further information please visit www.locksmiths.co.uk.
Main image © romulj / Dollar Photo Club
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