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How to Secure Your Home for Winter

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Having passed the autumn equinox this week (22nd of Sept.) our nights are now drawing in, becoming increasingly longer than our daytimes. It’s during the winter months that insurance claims tend to peak every year. One of the key reasons is that home burglary crimes tend to increase at this time of year as house-breakers, who like to work under the cover of darkness, have more time to pursue their criminal inclinations. So now is a good to time to establish the best home security precautions you possibly can to help ensure you don’t become a crime victim.

Home Burglaries

In the UK a home burglary takes place around every 106 seconds. Over the year 2019/20 there were around 356 thousand burglaries in England and Wales. While this is a huge decrease from 540 thousand, recorded 10 years earlier over 2009/10, this is still a very high number.

It is notable that 16 to 24 year olds are burgled more often than any other age group and importantly, 56% of burglaries happen to homes which don’t have even a basic home security system installed. It is worth noting that the average cost of a burglary, to a householder, is around £3,030.

And home burglaries not only have a financial impact, they can be extremely traumatic events. The knowledge that a burglar entered a home, possibly while the occupiers were sleeping, stealing valuable possessions, can cause extreme emotional disturbance and feelings of insecurity.

By far the best option is to take stock of your current home security status and implement additional precautions to stay safe and secure. Here are our basic recommendations for making your home secure over the winter months.

winter home security
Review Your Home Security for Winter

Review Your Existing Home Security

This sounds very obvious but it’s surprising how many homeowners don’t pay adequate attention to the basics. Start by examining your property perimeter to identify weaknesses such as damaged fencing or broken gates and fix everything that needs repair or replacement.

Then take stock of all entrances into your home and outbuildings. Doors and windows remain the main points of entry for burglars. And when examining sheds or outbuildings be aware that burglars know of inherent weaknesses in some structures such as shed rooftops which can be lifted off. Look out for weaknesses like these and take steps to bolster structural strength where needed.

Window and Door Security

The locks on your windows and doors are a vital aspect of your home’s security. If windows and doors are left open or unlocked burglar’s find it easy to gain entry so its worthwhile reviewing your security routines to make certain all ground floor windows and doors are secured before you retire to bed. Installing high quality, strong locks on your windows and doors makes them far more impenetrable.

Window and door security can be further bolstered with the aid of window bars and door security bars. These formidable mechanical barriers are particularly useful for outbuildings and sheds.

Security Lighting

Motion triggered lighting around your property will act as a powerful deterrent. Burglars like to work unseen, under the cover of darkness, so providing bright illumination will often scare them away. When installing security lighting be sure to focus on hidden areas around your home that might otherwise attract burglars.

Exterior lighting that illuminates pathways and your main door is beneficial for both safety and security. By illuminating paths there is less chance someone might trip and hurt themselves in the dark and the bright illumination will deter would-be burglars. It`s a good idea to use a motion sensor to turn on the lights and to carefully direct the lights to where illumination is needed and avoid causing a nuisance.

Another form of lighting that can be considered is infra red security floodlights. Infra red security lights work in conjunction with infra red sensitive security cameras by effectively enabling the cameras to see in the dark. The infra red light will illuminate subjects up to as far as 100 metres away, allowing them to be recorded by security CCTV cameras.

Home Security Cameras

Home security camera systems have plummeted in price over recent years while their capabilities have become increasingly sophisticated. Many of the systems available today include night vision infra red spotlights built into the cameras themselves.

Wireless home security cameras are favoured by many as they don’t require any awkward wiring for installation. Many systems include additional features such as two way audio and super loud 110-decibel sirens. But when using wireless devices it’s important to pay attention to wireless security as there have been reports of systems being hacked allowing access to the two way communications facility.

Intruder Alarms

There are many different forms of intruder alarm including both wired and wireless. Such systems provide significant benefits as the alarms act as both a deterrent and an alert system. Intruder alarms are particularly useful alongside other measures such as security lighting, outside security cameras, perimeter security and enhanced door and window security.

Protect Valuables

Although most burglaries are opportunist crimes some homes are targeted specifically, based on what the criminal expects to find there. Targeted bicycle theft is a good example of such a crime. If criminals have spotted you and your family out enjoying a bike ride in the sunshine on your collection of valuable bicycles it doesn’t take too much effort to track you back to your home where they know those valuable bikes are stored.

Similarly, if you own and ride a valuable motorcycle this might be noted by a criminal who then finds out where you live and how you store your motorbike. And the same applies to other valuables such as jewellery, watches, electronics or even car keys!

You need to be highly aware of the valuables you have in and around your home and take extra special precautions to keep them safe. Bikes and motorbikes should ideally be securely stored somewhere out of sight, in a securely locked shed or garage. But importantly, they should be firmly attached to an immovable anchor point inside the storage space using a high quality security lock and chain.

Valuable personal belongings such as jewellery and watches should ideally be securely locked away in a safe. And other valuable items such as passports, car keys and personal documentation should all be securely locked away.

Multi-Layered Security

The layers of security around your home, your family and valuables can be visualised much like the layers of an onion. Right at the centre is what you are aiming to protect and each additional layer of security adds to the overall protection.

But it’s worth remembering that every security system is only ever as strong as the weakest link in that system. This is why it’s important to routinely and regularly examine and review your security precautions and take steps to beef it up where necessary. As winter is approaching fast, now is the time to make your home as secure as possible.

If you need help with your home security precautions give us a call on 01273 475500. We are always happy to help.

This message was added on Friday 25th September 2020

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