There are a number of different products available these days that can help you to keep your home and your possessions safer. Outlined below are main ones, but a home security firm will be able to offer you more specific advice for your type of home, and you can find home security companies in your area by using our listings guide.
Intruder alarms, or burglar alarms as they are more commonly known, are generally split into two categories, bell-only alarms and monitored alarms. However, there are many different styles, shapes and fittings of burglar alarm systems, such as hard-wired and wireless systems.
When this type of alarm is triggered an alarm or siren outside the house
is activated, and this should inform the burglar they have been detected
and make them leave, hopefully without any of your possessions. However,
the alarm box that is displayed on the outside of your house also acts
as a deterrent to would-be burglars who may see the alarm and decide to
commit their crime at a house with no alarm.
There are usually a number of sensors positioned in your house, maybe at the windows and doors or in the main rooms, such as the lounge and kitchen. When the alarm is activated, either by a code, card or key, the sensors are set to work and will make the alarm sound should anyone walk into their path.
However, it is worth noting here that because so many houses are now fitted with alarms the general public may choose to ignore the warnings bells – and unfortunately burglars are aware of this.
Monitored alarms are connected by telephone to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), and when the alarm is set off the system automatically rings the ARC. If staff at the centre see two or more different units (that is two or more sensors in the house) activated then they can take the relevant action, which will include alerting the police to the incident.
Police will probably no longer respond to a bell-only alarm unless there is other evidence of a crime being committed. However, they will respond to a monitored alarm that qualifies for a police response, such as a Monitored Personal Attack Button, and a Duress Signal, which is a secret code that can be sent to the ARC if you are forced to turn off the alarm.
Security cameras, surveillance systems and CCTV are no longer reserved for commercial properties and the homes of the rich and famous. Simple black and white surveillance cameras are now fairly cheap to buy and you can even install them yourself. You can use these cameras to record what's going on outside your home, keep an eye on your car, or even view certain rooms inside your home. The cameras can be activated by sensors similar to those used on alarm systems or can take still pictures every now and then.
However, there are a few things to remember if you are planning to install any kind of personal security camera system. Firstly, cameras should only be pointed at your own property, and you should think carefully before using this system to spy on your children or nannies, a scheme becoming popular in America.
There are a number of ways you can make your home safer by using secure locks and doors. One of the best locks to buy is the five-lever mortice deadlock, and these are available from most DIY shops. Even if your door is not wide enough for one of these locks it is worth getting a high security rim deadlock, carrying the British Standard BS3621 kite mark to deter and prevent criminals from gaining access to your property.
When it comes to your doors, the most secure tend to be those without glass, which is obviously easy for criminals to smash to get into your home. However, other things you should consider are the door hinges, which should be attached with long screws, and letterboxes, which should have restrictors on them, while tough laminated glass could be an option for those who want doors with glass in them.
Police statistics say that windows are the way that most burglars enter a home, and that is why it’s so important to make sure the windows in your home are protected. Timber frames, particularly older ones that are rotting are a target for criminals because they are easier to remove, while the modern PVCu windows tend to be more difficult to break and gain entry through.
You should also ensure your windows have locks and safety catches on them, and all these should have a British Standard kite mark on them, such as PAS 011for the whole system, BS 7412 - PAS 011 for PVCu systems, or BS 644 - PAS 011 for timber windows.