27 Sep Security Systems for the Home
Thinking about how secure our home is and actually doing something about it is something that we all tend to put off. The busy lives we all lead leaves very little time for us to take a serious look at how our house may appear from a burglar’s point of view. We all know someone a friend or maybe even a neighbour who has had the misfortune of being broken into, but hey it will never happen to me, will it? With the night’s drawing in and the days getting shorter and shorter now might be the perfect time to give it some serious thought.
It’s a proven fact that the burglary rate goes up this time of year this is due to it being dark from as early as 3pm so burglars have several more hours of darkness to work in before you come home.
One of the best ways to decide on what security measures you should consider for your home is to carry out a Home Security Risk Assessment. This will only take a few minutes and will help you to identify the areas of your home that are the most vulnerable to a burglary. Try to look at your home as a potential target for a burglar and identify any areas that you would consider to be weak points.
Look at your doors first if it is a wooden door how old is it, is the wood rotten or in need of some repair? The frame is equally as important as it can be seriously weakened if extra locks have been fitted to the door and the frame has not been adequately reinforced. The back or side door is one of the most targeted places a burglar will attempt access into your property, the most common method is to back kick the bottom of the door in or attempt to jemmy the door open. A burglar has to think about escaping from your home with the items he is steeling so a good exit point is vital, what could be better than a door?
UPVc doors have come a long way over the last few years in terms of security. Unfortunately many of us still have older doors installed which to be brutally honest do not have the same security features incorporated into the newer doors. The locks tend to be particularly vulnerable on UPVC doors as the Euro-profile Cylinder which usually protrudes by almost half an inch from the lock is its Achilles heel. The burglar simply uses a blunt edged tool such as a common wood chisel or large slotted screw driver and with a hammer snaps the euro-cylinder leaving the lock mechanism exposed and hence easy access is created for the burglar.
Upgrading the door is something that might be worth considering. Doors can be manufactured from numerous materials including various hard woods, composite (a mix of materials) plastic (UPVC) and steel. At QSec we have searched for a steel door that does not resemble a substation door but offers a similar level of security. The six panel steel security door that we supply and install offers customers both a high level of security without compromising on looks. The door has been designed to resemble a standard six panel wooden door but is manufactured from 1mm thick steel with a rock wool core providing both insulation and fire resistance. The locking mechanism is drill and impact proof operating 12 points of locking. Finally the door is finished off with a durable white powder coated finish (many other colour are available). Correct installation plays a large part in ensuing you get the best out of the security products you are installing and this couldn’t be more important than when installing a steel door. The door is very reasonable priced for such a high specification, and can be purchased on a supply only basis or we can install it for you.
With the doors now upgraded the next area to consider are the windows. Windows that are at the rear of the property, are hidden by plants and bushes or overlook a flat roof are all seen as a good access point for burglars. A good way of approaching this is to imagine that you have lost your keys to the house how would you gain access? The securing of windows in its simplest form is to use extra locks fitted to the frame of the window. These are manufactured for all types of windows including wood, metal and UPVc. Window locks are the most basic form of security and will deter only the most casual burglar. Window locks play no part in preventing the window being broken and offer little resistance to a determined burglar using a jemmy. An area of particular vulnerability are French and patio doors as they are usually at the rear of the property and once forced open or had the glass smashed offer burglars a perfect access point and an ample escape route.
There are various products available to add an extra level of security to you windows. One of the most effective offering both a visual and physical deterrent is to use a retractable grille. These grilles are usually made to measure to fit the window they are intended for. Installed internally within the window reveal or surface mounted. We have found over the years that if at all possible any security measures tend to be most effective if installed internally. This offers many advantages to the home owner from a security point of view and makes the burglar’s job much harder. With the retractable grille being installed on the inside it cannot be tampered with, is not subjected to the elements and easily operated by the owner. Having the grille installed behind the glass has many advantages, burglars want to spend as little amount of time as possible in your home, once they have committed to breaking the window speed is vital, they want to be in and out as quickly as they can. This is when having grilles installed internally offers you the best form of security. Burglars don’t want to spend valuable time trying to cut through a security grille especially if they have broken a window and possible triggered an alarm.
The next decision is deciding on what security level of retractable grille meets your risk. This can be broken down into three levels low, medium and high. Retractable grilles all have a similar appearance when viewed from a distance but some are manufactured to a much higher specification. Generally for residential properties a medium level security grille offers the best value for money and security. If the risk is that bit higher it might be worth considering using an insurance approved retractable grille. These grilles have under gone rigorous testing simulating an aggressive attack by a burglar using the type of tools they would use when attempting to break in to a property. The test is timed and if the grille has stood up to the attack and not failed in any way in a accordance with the strict rules laid down then it is awarded the Loss Prevention Council Certification Level One, this is also recognised by insurance companies. If the idea of having a fully tracked security grille installed in your home just does not appeal, then the trackless retractable grille may be the best way forward. These grilles have all the advantages of the made to measure retractable grilles but are designed to run without any tracks top or bottom. This gives the grille the facility of being able to hinge aside when not in use. Although only classed as low to medium security they do provide a good visual deterrent and offer the home owner a quick and easy to way of securing their home as this particular product is available “off the shelf” as it comes in various standard sizes, and is designed to be a do it you’re self-installation type of grille.
The construction of the Level One retractable grille is slightly different to the unrated grilles. Heavy-duty bolts rather than rivets hold the pickets together plus multi-point locking is used making the grille much more secure. The installation of the grille must also be carried out in accordance with the LPC using a specified type of fixing. Overall if you feel your risk is high then using an LPC rated grille might be the best option.
Other products also available to the home owner include the use of fixed security grilles in various different designs and gauges of steel. These are designed to resemble the traditional leaded lights as the infill of the grille forms a large diamond pattern. This not only makes the grille more attractive but increases its security. This is achieved by how the grilles are manufactured, the lattice infill which forms the diamond pattern is spot welded every time it crosses another bar creating immense strength. But also means a thinner gauge of steel can be used making the grille lighter in appearance but still very strong. Other designs of the fixed grille can be used depending on the security requirements and aesthetics the diamond designed grille also comes in a traditional square pattern and an oblong Georgian design. The Qsec perforated mesh grille It’s important to also take consideration as to the fixing you use when installing these grilles especially if the substrate is made up of a cavity and therefore will require specialist fixings. Installing security grilles with poor fixings will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the product.
Although not widely used in the United Kingdom residential shutters are starting to appear especially on new builds. Looking at your home security requirements it’s important to think about the internal versus external aspect especially with roller shutters. From a visual point of view roller shutters offer an excellent deterrent as they prevent burglars from seeing in to a property which in itself can put burglars off. On the flip side they can seem more tempting as a burglar may think that a property that has roller shutters installed might have something to hide and therefore worth breaking into. New buildings can take advantage of having the roller shutters built in during the design stage. This means that the roller shutter box and guide rails are concealed within the fabric of the building and when not in use are neatly hidden from view. This not only enhances the security as the guides cannot easily be tampered with but also does not interfere with the looks of the building. Roller shutter are traditionally made from steel but have a tendency to look heavy and industrial. For a more attractive alternative aluminium provides a higher grade finish and if an extruded slat is used then they are more secure than steel lathed roller shutters. Roller shutters have also undertaken the rigorous testing of the Loss Prevention Council and require installation in line with the proposals in the guide.
With the house now secured other areas that might be worth considering on the outside of the home is the driveway. A common form of theft from domestic properties is the car which is left on the drive. Overnight. Burglars may break into your house just to obtain the keys to you car, so it is wise to ensure any keys are kept out of sight. The car or caravan can be protected by using a retractable security post. The retractable security post offers a highly visual deterrent plus is also extremely effective in protecting your car or caravan. To steal the car the thief has a lot of work to do either attempt to cut through the post or disable the lock and retract the post. Some thieves even foolishly crash into the post in a vain attempt of disabling it. This usually renders the vehicle un-drivable creates a great deal of noise. When the post is not required or you wish to use your vehicle then simply un- lock the post and lower it back into the ground and close the lid over it. Telescopic posts range from a domestic type right up to anti-ram and automated posts.
Carrying out a quick review of your security at home especially at this time of year can highlight areas that may need some attention and possibly adding some form of physical security.