With the clocks going back, how secure is your home?
The clocks are about to go back which is typically when evening opportunist burglaries start to increase and we would normally remind you to be alert to this.
This year, however, Covid 19 is likely to exacerbate the problem. With jobs being lost every day people are going to become desperate enough to resort to crime to keep their families going. With everyone tightening their belts financially it’s more important than ever that we all take additional steps to protect our property and valuables as the cost of replacements is going to have a bigger impact on our cashflow.
Your local police force and neighbourhood watch can offer suggestions on how to improve both your domestic and business security. Simple low-cost steps to take are:
- Ensuring hedges are pruned back so there is nowhere for anyone to hide outside.
- Make sure that your locks are in good working order – we’ve had a pretty good summer so locks may need lubricating (they dry out in the sun/warmth and dust collects in the mechanism).
- Use locks properly – most doors are not secure if the door is simply pulled shut. In most cases, the lock has to be engaged with a key. Your insurance may not cover you in the event of a burglary if locks weren’t used correctly.
- Secure garages and sheds, make sure that ladders and tools can’t be used to break into your property.
- Keep keys out of sight of doors and windows. Don’t leave keys in the back of the door, they can be accessed through a letterbox (it may also prevent YOU from getting in).
- Make sure you know who has had keys in the past such as tradesmen and old friends. Also if you have moved into a property, did you change the locks? The previous owners of the property may have also issued keys that are in circulation. You must change your locks to ensure that your property is safe and secure, so make sure you know exactly who has a key to your precious belongings.
If you’ve already covered the steps above then you may wish to consider upgrading your security:
- Ensure that your doors and windows have insurance approved locks – and use them.
- Invest in Insurance Approved anti-snap, -bump, -pick, -drill locks to deter anyone who tries to break in.
- Fit an additional lock. Most doors can accommodate more than one lock.
One final point – if you need a locksmith or any other tradesman please check them out. In the locksmith business alone several local cowboys advertise that’ll quote very cheap prices but when they arrive the prices escalate dramatically and any work done is usually of very poor standard. You may then need another locksmith to pick up the pieces. Look for:
- Personal recommendations
- Membership of recognised trade bodies, Which? Trusted Traders, Checkatrade, Trading Standards approval, Traders 4u
- Neutral reviews on 3rd party forums. If there are lots of reviews, look to see if the company is a National one so you can appreciate the value of the reviews collated. For example, if the company has 1000 reviews across 100 contractors nationally, then that’s only 10 reviews per contractor (1000/100=10).
- Reviews can be captured across many different trades, so look to see if the company is a dedicated locksmith. There are many companies offering lock services, but they also offer plumbing, heating, glazing, pest control, electrical etc. Again you need to divide the total reviews collated by the number of trades, then the number of contractors to appreciate the true value of their reviews