Crimestoppers and National Home Security Month offer advice on how to protect your home this winter
November 5, 2020
National Home Security Month (NHSM), an initiative which is sponsored by security experts Yale, has returned for the eighth year to provide advice, information and support on how people can keep their homes, families and possessions safe as the dark nights return.
Recent research from NHSM supporters Crimestoppers charity revealed there has been a 26.8 per cent increase in burglary reports they have received over the last four years (April 2016 – March 2020), so ensuring your home is safe and secure is still as important as ever.
Crimestoppers’ Regional Manager and Burglary Lead, Ruth McNee commented: “It’s estimated there’s a burglary every 40 seconds, so being aware of and updating your home security is essential. Being burgled can be very upsetting and unsettling as it can be very traumatic to lose valuables and personal possessions from your home. We’re pleased to be able to support National Home Security Month and help raise awareness around the importance of home security.”
Not sure where to start when it comes to your home security? Here, National Home Security Month provides 10 top tips on how to ensure your home is protected as the clocks go back and the nights get darker.
- Check your doors and windows
It might be tempting to leave the front door off the latch or leave the back door unlocked when you’re at home, however, burglars tend to break in through the front or back door or via a downstairs window. So, it’s important to keep all doors and windows locked when not in use and when at home.
- Meet your standards
A vital step in protecting your home is making sure that your doors meet British Standards. Look out for the Kitemark symbol on the front of high-quality cylinders, this lets you know that the lock has undergone the necessary tests.
Not sure what standard your door needs to meet?
- If you have external timber doors, they should be secured with a mortice lock and/or nightlatch that meets British Standard BS3621.
- Alternatively, if you have a PVCu or composite door, then it’s suggested you upgrade to a British Standard Kitemark TS007 euro profile cylinder for additional protection.
- Install a CCTV camera
A survey of former burglars revealed CCTV is the most effective way to deter a potential burglar. Fixed to the outside of your home, CCTV can be available wired or wireless. Smart, wireless CCTV/outdoor cameras can be controlled and viewed via your smartphone, providing added convenience and allowing you to control your camera from anywhere.
- Remove easy access points
Make sure any wheelie bins or ladders are moved away from any locked gates, windows or flat roofs, as this could help give a burglar easy access to your property.
- Check your fences and hedges
But make some time to check your perimeter fences, hedges, and walls. Even a relatively small hole could be enough of a weakness to tempt a potential burglar to try their luck.
- Don’t store valuable items near a window
If you have sparkly jewellery, laptops or smartphones at home, make sure you don’t leave them on display near a window. If a potential intruder is passing the house, your phone will be a prime target. Likewise, watches, car keys, money and personal documents are easily spotted prizes if left in the view of a window.
- Invest in smart security
Wireless technology lets you be in control of your home security, even when you’re out. Smart home alarms, smart door locks, indoor and outdoor security cameras and security lights are all designed to be controlled remotely via your smartphone and are easy to install, for added convenience.
- Don’t check in on social media
‘Checking in’ when you are on a day out might seem like a harmless thing to do, however, the world of social media is a database of potential spots to burglars. They can scour profiles in their local area to see whose homes might be key targets to break-in to.
- Get smart with your lights
Leaving lights on in the home can make it look like you’re at home and awake, even if you’re not. The use of smart plugs or smart lighting lets you control your lights inside the home and outside, via your smartphone. With many smart plugs you can also set a timer, so the lights come on and go off at different times of the day and night, making any potential intruders believe someone is at home.
- Keep a check on your garden
As it starts to get colder, we’re less likely to be venturing out in the garden and so sheds and outbuildings are often forgotten about. Keep your garden tools, bikes and outdoor equipment locked up and secure with a Sold Secure weatherproof padlock. Standalone alarms can also be used to alert you if your shed or out outbuilding is being broken into.
Follow these tips to ensure a safe, secure home this winter.
For more information on the independent charity Crimestoppers, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
 Crimestoppers 2020 report