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10 Top Tips for Home Security
Burglary is on the rise in Autumn and Winter: tips to protect your home
Insurance claims data indicates a spike in burglaries around Autumn and Winter, making it an ideal time to review your home security. In collaboration with Wealth & Safety security specialist consultants we have drawn up 10 top tips for home security.
1. Think Smarter (lighting)
A completely dark house is an obvious sign of a vacant property, and an increasing amount of people have invested in timers for their home lights. Timers for lights are useful, but smart security technologies offer significant advantages over the more traditional methods. In cases of targeted burglaries, homes are often scoped out for a few days prior to forcing the entry. If lights in the same rooms switch on at a routine time each night, it doesn’t take long to realise that they are operated by a timer whereas smart technology allows a homeowner to control lighting at home from anywhere in the world. Smart bulbs can be dimmed and switched on and off, lighting up rooms or areas of a house at different times, creating the impression of movement and an occupied property.
Motion detecting floodlights are a useful deterrent and can be connected to a smart phone to notify the homeowner if unusual activity occurs. They can also be linked to security cameras to ensure the early identification of potential intruders.
2. Lock it down
Leaving valuables and large amounts of cash unsecured puts a home at higher risk of theft and can even invalidate your insurance. Most high value home and contents insurance policies will stipulate that valuables, such as jewellery and high valuable collectibles, are only covered if secured in a safe of an approved standard.
3. Secure your doors and windows
To keep your home secure and be eligible for lower insurance premiums, all external doors and windows in a property should be fitted with British standard locks:
The Five Lever Mortice Deadlock
The more levers a lock has the more secure it is. The Five Lever Mortice Deadlock is regarded as the most secure general house lock and is often fitted on wooden external front and back doors. A five lever Mortice Deadlock cannot be fitted on uPVC or composite doors.
Most insurers will insist that your lock conforms to British Standard BS3621, which ensures it has certain security features in the mechanism. To check if a lock conforms look out for the BSI Kitemark™ – usually on the plate set in the door.
Rim Automatic Deadlatch with Key-Locking Handle
A Rim automatic deadlatch (nightlatch) is fitted on the inside of doors, and is often paired with a mortice deadlock for additional security. This type of lock can be locked and unlocked from both sides and locks automatically from the inside once the door is shut.
Fitting both a nightlatch and a Five Lever Mortice Deadlock to wooden external doors improves the security of a home.
Multi-Point Locking System
This type of lock is used mostly on external front and back doors. This lock can be found on Composite, UPVC, French Windows and Patio Doors. When the lock is used multiple bolts will engage into the door frame, usually with a minimum of three points and sometimes four or five.
Euro Cylinder Lock
Most often, these locks are to composite and UPVC doors and used with Multipoint locking systems. A Euro cylinder lock fitted should be SS312 diamond approved or TS007 3 Star.
4. Secure your perimeter
In addition to building alarm systems, perimeter fencing and security gates can add another layer of protection to a property and form the first line of defence before a would-be burglar can gain access to your home. There are many options for perimeter fencing and gates which provide additional security and fit the aesthetics of a home. Additional outside security, including CCTV systems and night vision cameras, intruder alarms, security lights, electronic barriers and sophisticated access control systems, should also be considered.
5. Invest in a monitored alarm system
There are many kinds of alarm systems available, but for those with high value properties and assets a monitored alarm system offers the best protection for your home.
An alarm transmission system (ATS) product is used to transmit alarm signals to a continuously manned alarm receiving centre (ARC).
The installers of such systems conform to police rules and applicable standards which allows them to request a police unique reference number (URN). The award of a URN allows the ARC to directly contact the police force’s control room and request an immediate response to alarm activations, justifying police attendance.
British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) publishes a useful guide, designed to provide details of what security standards insurers may typically expect and can be viewed in full here.
6. Keep it confidential
Burglars who target high-net-worth properties are often privy to inside information such as the whereabouts of valuables in the home. Avoid sharing these details with visitors to your home unless absolutely necessary, even if you feel they are likely to be trustworthy.
7. Vet your household employees
Even when hiring staff through reputable agencies, there is a risk that some employees may take advantage of access to your money and valuables. Wealth & Safety offer vetting services for household staff (including au pairs, nannies, cleaners etc) and contractors to find trusted employees, reducing the risk of theft and breach of confidential information about household security.
8. Protect your vehicles
High value cars are at high risk of theft, and most insurers will only offer their best premiums to those who take appropriate steps to secure their vehicles through, for example, secure storage and anti-theft systems. Many insurers will also stipulate that vehicles such as supercars and classic cars should always be stored overnight in a securely locked garage.
9. Consider your cybersecurity
In this digital age, cyber criminals can prove to be as serious and damaging to your home and assets as a physical break-in. All computers and devices in a home should have up-to date security software, strong passwords and any sensitive data should be encrypted. Smart devices used in a home can be vulnerable to hackers and compromise security. To discuss any data and security concerns, including cybersecurity and to check your home and vehicle/s for listening devices and electronic surveillance, arrange a specialist IT inspection.
10. Review your home security regularly
Even if the insurance recommendations for home alarms, security cameras and secure locks have been followed, your home could still be vulnerable. A confidential security survey carried out by a trusted provider can highlight areas where security could be improved for extra protection.
Wealth & Safety
Wealth & Safety, part of the Gold Command Group, provides a complete service from consultancy to installation for the security of your family, home and business. Services include:
- Security consultancy
- Security surveys
- Vetting services: e.g. staff screening (au pairs, nannies, contractors, etc)
- Cyber computer services. Monitoring intrusive viruses, money transactions and employee use.
- Debugging of vehicles, homes and buildings
- Confidential Supply and installation of Alarms, locks and CCTV by nationally accredited, police approved technicians to NSI Gold standard or equivalent
- Cash and jewellery safes made in Britain to ISO standards and approved by the British Insurance industry
- Gates, railings & security fencing, including Anti-climb paint.
- Top quality vehicle anti-theft systems
Wealth & Safety was founded by Peter French (MA, CF, FRSA, FSyI, MIoD) a former senior police detective whose distinguished career included a period as the Assistant Divisional Commander responsible for Criminal Investigation Crime Reduction, Security and Counter Terrorism. Peter also held many specialist roles investigating organised crime and murder, giving him significant experience in security management and crime reduction.
Peter lectures and writes on security and has recently been appointed by the US State Department as a lecturer on Security and Counter Terrorism. He holds a Masters Degree from Exeter University in researched Crime Reduction techniques and is a fellow at several academic institutions in both the UK and USA.
Mr and Mrs K owned several homes in the UK and abroad, and employed a number of domestic staff. The staff were hired via a recognised employment agency that specialised in nannies, butlers, house managers, and chauffeurs.
After a major theft, Mr & Mrs K asked Wealth & Safety to investigate and the team established that some members of staff were stealing significant sums of money. Wealth & Safety presented the evidence and the offending staff members were dismissed.
Wealth & Safety also discovered that Mr & Mrs K’s home in Europe was being used by an employee as a base for organised crime – putting the Ks and their family at risk.
Recognising that their clients’ reputation and safety were paramount, Wealth & Safety dealt with the matter discreetly but effectively. At the client’s request, Wealth & Safety then undertook a thorough security review upgrading the alarms, cameras and locks at their homes.
Wealth & Safety also set up a comprehensive security vetting system for existing and potential staff, thus reducing the opportunity for significant theft or harm to their children.
To make an enquiry about your existing cover, or get started with a new policy you can speak to your Tysers Broker or contact us through the link below: