Burglaries go up in the darker months. By some estimates, as the evenings draw in, the rate of break-ins goes up by as much as 160%. It doesn’t take a home security expert to figure out why: with the longer and darker nights, burglars have more opportunity and more time to accomplish a break-in. And while, with the current warm summer weather, it may be difficult to believe that autumn is just around the corner, the dark nights will be here in no time at all.
What should you do to protect your home from burglary? We all know the basics: keeping doors and windows locked, installing security lighting, and, perhaps, investing in a home security system. But what about the quality of your doors and windows? Are they really up to the task of protecting your home, and what should you be looking out for? Neil Ginger, CEO at Origin, the leading British manufacturer of aluminium windows, doors and bi-folds, answers the most important home security questions and offers expert tips on choosing the most secure doors and windows.
1. How secure is your front door?
You probably know this: in most burglaries the theif enters through the front of the property. Most frequently, the door is compromised via lock snapping. ‘This is because most doors use insecure cylinders which burglars can vandalise to gain entry,’ Neil explains.
‘Be sure to choose tamper-proof barrels. Reputable companies will offer either a three star barrel, or one with coded magnetic keys for the highest level of security. Both are proven to protect against snapping, picking, drilling and bumping. For an even more resilient option, look out for diamond barrels – the strongest on the market.’
2. How secure are your windows?
Installing a window lock is the most obvious way to enhance its security, with the Yale Encloser Lock recognised as the best window lock you can get. But have you also checked the hinges? Burglars can (and do) open windows by jemmying them at the hinge side. Your window hinges should, ideally, be made from stainless steel and have hinge guards fitted.
3. How strong is your door/window material?
What is your door or window frame made from? Is it uPVC or wood? In both cases, your home security will be compromised, Neil says.
‘ uPVC is the cheapest option and is not as innately strong as aluminium, making it easier to break for intruders. Its inferior strength also means it cannot hold as much glass and requires a thicker profile, meaning it’s less attractive to look at and lets less light in.’
What about wood? It looks great, especially in period properties but, unless it is solid hardwood (an expensive option), it’s still leaving your property vulnerable. The best option is aluminium with a woodgrain finish. It’s superior on both performance and security, Neil explains.
‘Aluminium is unique in its properties as it combines strength and robustness with a lightweight structure that weighs 67% less than steel. This makes it the securest option available. The proof of good quality aluminium is in the surface finish. Look out for a perfectly smooth finish, as poor quality profile may have pitting from when the door has been heated during powder coating.’
4. Does your door have ‘Secured by Design’ accreditation?
For absolute peace of mind, look for this accreditation when choosing your doors and windows. Products bearing this mark have been put through rigorous tests developed by the police force, and then independently certified by a third party registered by the UK Accreditation Service.