Dr Steffan George
Dusk-till-dawn lights deter thieves and alert neighbours to any unwelcome activity With the New Year, comes the chance to make a fresh start. Many of us make a bid to drop bad habits and pick up those which will increase our health and happiness, but one important practice which we rarely focus on is checking and maintaining our home security. According to Dr Steffan George, Development Director of the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), a trade association for the locksmithing profession, our attitude towards security is one of the most important changes we can make in 2017. Preventing burglaries He says, “With almost 400,000 burglaries taking place each year in the UK, the main cause of which is easy access, i.e. open windows, unsecured doors, and damaged locks, getting into the habit of regularly maintaining our security equipment and double-checking that windows and doors are firmly secured when leaving the house is vital. There’s little more devastating for a family than having their home and personal belongings targeted, and we see it far too often. Luckily, making a few small changes can minimise the chances of your home being burgled.” Here, Dr Steffan George advises on the New Year’s resolutions which will help keep you, your family, and your home safe. Firstly, kick-start your security focussed habits with a professional home security check. Have an MLA-approved locksmith carry out a security assessment. This will involve inspecting the exterior of your property for any damage to doors or windows and checking that all locks and any fitted security alarms work properly and meet your insurance requirements. Recommended resolutions Double-check your security every time you leave the house: When you leave the house you probably tap your pockets to check you have your phone, keys, and money, don’t you? It’s well worth adding an extra step to this process—double-checking you have locked all windows and doors and turned off all electricals. Even if you think you have, it’s worth checking twice for that extra peace of mind. “Making a few small changes can minimise the chances of your home being burgled” Get out into the garden on a regular basis: Gardening doesn’t just improve the appearance of your home—it could save you from becoming a victim of burglary too. Cutting back overgrown hedges, trees, and bushes means they are less likely to be used as a hiding place for someone who would like to gain entry to your home or outbuildings. Another point to consider is a gravel driveway, as the noise underfoot could deter an intruder and attract the attention of neighbours. Invest in high-quality security products: Security might not be the most exciting thing to spend your hard-earned cash on, and we realise you may not have the most spare cash post-festive season, but purchasing quality security items now may save you from unexpected costs in the future. Dusk-till-dawn lights deter thieves and alert neighbours to any unwelcome activity, while indoor light timers do the same by giving the impression that someone is at home. Keep on top of things: Home maintenance is vital—any kind of visible disrepair like broken windows, rusted locks and chains, cracked panes of glass and rotten frames act as red flags to thieves as they suggest your property is an easy target, so it’s essential you perform regular and thorough maintenance checks. Lock away garden tools and accessories: These items (which include everything from spades to ladders) are often used to break into properties, so ensure they are secured out of reach of potential burglars in a sturdy shed or outbuilding. Finally, we know it’s tempting, but don’t hide a spare key under the doormat: Or anywhere else outside your home—burglars know to look for them. Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbour.