Securing windows and doors

guarding against the most common methods of entry

If you are one of the unfortunate individuals to have suffered a break in to your home this year, the burglar will have entered through a window or door. Statistically, one third of burglars will gain entry through a window, whilst the remaining two thirds will get in through an insecure door. Unfortunately, it is made very easy by some householders. Opportunist thieves can gain entry to house without having to use any force whatsoever 1 in 5 times - often through an open door or window. It is your job to make it more difficult for the intruder.

Securing windows

Modern double glazed windows using laminated glass can make it very difficult for burglars to break so that they can gain entry, so if you are considering getting double glazing you can not only help to insulate your home but also make your home more secure.

The addition of window locks that are visible from the outside can discourage even the most determined burglar (provided these are locked) because it would mean the burglar would need to break the glass to gain entry which would risk attracting attention. Also, if the burglar did take a chance in breaking the glass, they would not be able to gain entry and open the windows from the inside to make it easier for themselves and/or accomplices to have easy passage to steal possessions.

Depending on the size of the windows it maybe necessary to add more than one lock, although this should not provide a problem as this is a relatively easy DIY project and the locks can be purchased easily and cheaply from a number of DIY shops.

It is advised to ensure that all windows have locks applied (particularly downstairs windows) even small skylights and upstairs windows as thieves could climb the drainpipe to obtain access to these windows. If there is particular concern about lower level windows there is also the option of adding security grilles. It is possible to buy decorative window grilles from DIY shops if you are concerned about aesthetic appearance, but this should not be considered as an option if the window is an escape route in the event of a fire in the property.

The type of locks that you should consider include casement locks and fanlight locks, however, if you are fitting these to existing uPVC windows, it is highly advisable that you speak to the double glazing firm from which you bought the windows to ensure that by fitting the locks yourself you are not invalidating any warranty that you may have.

Finally, the simplest piece of advice is to not leave windows wide open and unattended and ensure that windows are locked as appropriate.

Securing doors

Of all burglaries committed in the UK, two thirds of perpetrators gain entry through a door. It is absolutely essential to ensure that all doors are as secure as possible. If you need to upgrade your doors to make them more secure you should make sure that they are certified to the British Standard PAS 24-1 "Doors of Enhanced Security".

Wooden doors should have strong solid frames and they should be at least 44mm thick - they can be made even stronger by fitting steel strips and plates to the frame and around any of the locks. If they have glass panels you should ideally replace the glass with laminated glass.

Door hinges should be securely fitted with long screws with the incorporation of hinge bolts. These can be purchased very cheaply and they will help protect against an individual attempting to force a door open.

Automatic deadlocks should be utilised on the front and back doors. These require a key to open the door both from the outside and inside. A rim latch should be added along with chain and door viewers and an automatic deadlock. Also have a five lever mortise deadlock added approximately one third from the bottom of the door. This should be kitemarked to British Standard BS3621. It is only possible to open a deadlock with the key so these locks are extremely safe for the homeowner and will mean that even if a burglar was to gain entry to the house, they would not be able to exit through the front door.

It is important to note that these locks will not only help to secure your home, but they are also important when you come to apply for your home insurance policy. You will notice that one of the questions the insurer will ask is if your door has a five lever mortice deadlock - this is an additional reason for ensuring these type of locks are fitted as a matter of course because it could save you money on your home insurance.

A common sense approach should also be followed when securing doors. Do not leave them open even when in the property at the time and when away from the property do not leave spare door keys hidden anywhere near the door such as under nearby plantpots, doormats, a loose brick or hung inside the letterbox as these are the first places a thief will look!

Also in this section:

Security Overview

Burglar alarms

External security measures