A guide to home security audits

Home security should be a concern all year round, but with summer just around the corner, there is no better time to evaluate your home security with an audit, as it is the best way to identify the weak points of your home and allows you to visualise any vulnerabilities.

Think like a thief
Rather than flicking through a catalogue of security products to help you decide what devices you need, you should instead walk around your home to identify weaknesses. Take the view that you have been locked out and are looking for ways to break back in.

Firstly, walk around the exterior of your property. Take a step back and see if your garden or driveway has areas for a potential burglar to hide such as trees or bushes. If this is the case, trim shrubs leading up to the house to make it difficult for someone to conceal themselves. Do you leave your bins out where they can be used as a climbing aid? Are your gates and fences secured to prevent access or an easy escape? Do you have curtains and blinds in place to prevent people from seeing in? All of these factors can significantly impact whether or not a burglar considers your property an easy target or too much hassle.

It’s important to also note what existing security measures you already have in place externally. When examining the outside of your property, does movement trigger security lighting to make a criminal more visible? Do you have a CCTV or alarm system monitoring the property? Not only can these alert you to a break-in, but they also act as an excellent visual deterrent when a tempted-thief is scouting out your property.

Additionally, do you have any outbuildings or sheds? If so, can burglars use these as aids to climb on and access open or poorly secured windows? Is your shed secured with a robust, weatherproof padlock? Burglars frequently use items such as garden tools and equipment to aid a break-in into the main home so it’s well worth securing these belongings.

Next, assess the entry points to the home. Do you have open windows and is your front door unlocked? It’s important to lock all doors behind you, even if you are in the property. All doors should be fitted with British Standard BS3621 locks, and all windows should have at least one appropriate, key-operated lock.

Should a criminal succeed in gaining access to your property, it’s essential to know what they’ll be looking for. Most people store valuables in their bedrooms or the living room. But did you know, burglars are less likely to look for items in the kitchen, which makes it an ideal space to invest in a home safe to keep valuables such as small electronics, cash and jewellery.

This advice comes just in time for summer when thieves are taking advantage of the lighter evenings and unsecured properties. In the UK last summer alone, there were a reported 200,000 burglaries*, so there is no better time to complete this audit than now.

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*Good Housekeeping