The longer evenings during the winter can encourage burglars and increase the risk of break-ins. Rather than worrying about your home and property portfolio security, why not take a pro-active approach and carry out steps to help keep your property safe and secure over the winter.
To help you feel safer this winter, we’ve put together a short guide with the support of Locksmiths Corby, who’ve expanded their 24 hour residential and commercial security business to cover Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire. We’ve covered the top 8 things that any homeowner, or rental property owner, can do to improve their security.
Before you do anything, find a local locksmith who is willing to come and give your home and any rental properties the once owner. A professional locksmith will be able to carry out security audits and let you know how you can make your properties more burglar-proof.
1. Invest in upgraded locks
One of the most common ways that burglars enter a property is by snapping the locks. Even the sturdiest looking locks can be susceptible to this way of gaining entry. Anti snap and Ultion locks on the other hand are specially designed to resist lock snapping.
These more secure locks have a cylinder that is intended to break at a specific point if anyone tries to snap them, meaning that they maintain their structural integrity and still protect your property. Ultion locks have even more security features such as a lockdown mode that prevents a burglar from opening the door.
2. Check any sliding and French doors
If your French windows or patio doors have been getting heavy use over the warmer months you may find that they are starting to suffer from wear and tear. Common issues with French doors include misaligned hinges which can lead to the door sticking when you try and open it and can also increase draughts.
Consider asking a locksmith to realign the hinges so that they close snuggly and securely over the winter. A locksmith could also advise you on additional security measures such as pat locks.
3. Light up your property
Dark alleys or pathways around your property can not only make you feel unsafe, they could provide a hiding place for burglars. Installing external lighting is a simple way to improve security, and give you added peace of mind.
If you do plan to fit outdoor lights, choose those with a motion sensor. These will switch on when anyone approaches, and act as a particularly good deterrent.
4. Fit light timers
Nothing alerts a burglar to an empty home than one that is bathed in darkness. If you or your tenants tend to go out frequently in the evening, or don’t return from work until way after dark, consider fitting timer switches to some of the lights in prominent rooms at the front of the property.
Light switch timers can be set to switch lights on and off when there is no-one at home, giving the illusion that there is somebody in. They are also useful if you are staying away from home for a few days.
5. Use the locks you have
This may seem obvious but the best locks in the world won’t keep you safe if you don’t use them. Many break-ins happen on an opportunist basis, with would be burglars trying doors and windows to see if they’re locked.
This is particularly true of window locks. During the winter we tend to open windows less frequently, maybe to let steam clear from a room, and it’s easy to forget about them when we go out. Make sure that you always lock up properly and remind any tenants to do so, especially if they are going to be away over the festive period.
6. Don’t forget about outbuildings
If you keep tools or gardening equipment in an outbuilding or shed, you may not have much use for them over the winter period. It can be a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’, but make sure that you don’t forget about keeping them locked up.
Take the opportunity for checking current locks for any wear or damage and have them replaced or repaired as necessary, or fit extra locks if you feel that your sheds, garages or outbuildings aren’t very secure.
7. Be careful answering the door
Most people find that they have more visitors during the December and January. What with carol singers or friends and family coming to visit you may find yourself answering the door more frequently.
It’s worth considering fitting a door chain and/or a spyholes to all main entrance doors, so you and your tenants can check who’s there before opening the door. Of course you should have already made sure that the exterior of each entrance is lit well enough for to see who’s at the door!
8. Have the number of an emergency locksmith to hand
The last thing you want on a dark, wet winter’s evening is to find yourself stranded on your doorstep, or dealing with a tenant who’s locked out over Christmas. It’s easily done. You may have lost your keys, or they may have been locked inside, whatever the reason having the number of a trustworthy emergency locksmith to hand will ensure that you get back into the warm and dry as quickly as possible.