Burglary Prevention

By Cliff

Although having contents insurance is a backstop, being burgled is stressful and inconvenient. It’s better to avoid being burgled altogether, so here are some tips for keeping burglars out, based on information from Zurich Insurance plc.

Robbers usually enter through a door, so secure locks are vital. It’s a good idea to consult the Master Locksmiths Association for assistance with lock selection and installation.

 

Front/main door

Deadlocks: A BS 3621 accredited, five-lever mortice deadlock will have been rigorously tested for burglar resistance and is highly regarded. It’s a key-operated deadbolt that’s embedded in your door, giving it extra strength. It prevents burglars from entering using lock-picking, force, drills, manipulation or hacksaws.

As deadlocks are key-operated, would-be thieves can’t unlock them – even after smashing a glass door panel. Even if a burglar gained entry through a window, they wouldn’t be able to leave through a deadlocked door.

BS 8621 locks have the security of the aforementioned deadlocks, but they can be unlocked from inside without a key – which could be important in a fire.

If you’re considering a BS 8621 lock, the door must be well away from windows and must not contain or be near a letterbox (so you can be confident that it couldn’t be unlocked from outside).

However, this type of lock can be deadlocked from outside, so after you leave your property and lock the door, an intruder couldn’t easily use the door as an escape route when carrying stolen goods.

 

Back/secondary doors

Back doors should be fitted with either of the above locks or with a lower-level mortice deadlock plus either mortice rack bolts or surface-mounted locking security bolts.

Mortice rack bolts are installed within the door and operated internally using a threaded key. Surface-mounted locks are opened with a key and locked by pushing the door. They need to be fitted 15cm from the top and bottom of your door at a 90° angle to the grain of the wood to help prevent the wood splitting if pressure is applied to it.

All glass should be laminated and fitted from the inside – so putty and beading can’t be stripped from outside. You could also fit a grille. Although most UPVC door locks provide reasonable protection when fitted at more than one point in the door, you could consider upgrading the lock cylinder to one that meets EN 1303 standards and a handle confirming to PAS 24 to protect against the lock cylinder snapping.

 

French doors

Fit mortice rack bolts or surface-mounted locking bolts to both doors. A mortice sash lock would provide extra security. Hinge bolts are recommended for outward-opening French doors, and should be fitted 10–15cm below the top hinge and above the bottom hinge.

 

Patio doors

Burglars often enter through patio doors, which can be less secure than other doors, so ensure you have a multi-lock system or extra locks on your patio doors. Extra locks can be attached to the bottom of the fixed frame that push through the sliding door in the centre, or on the side opening point of the door up to a third of the way down.

Some patio doors can be lifted off their tracks. If this is the case for your doors, you could fit a wooden block into the channel to prevent this, or contact your locksmith for an anti-lift device.

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