How can I make my home more secure?
It’s makes for depressing reading. After years of steady decline the number of burglaries committed in England and Wales jumped up by six per cent in the year to the end of March. Even more worryingly, according to the figures released by the Office for National Statistics in July, the number of aggravated burglaries – those involving a weapon – jumped by 33%.
Windows and doors are a key factor in determining the security of our homes. How good they are at doing this is determined by the type of material that they are manufactured from but perhaps most importantly, when they were manufactured.
High security windows
Today’s energy efficient windows, feature advanced and robust multi-point locking mechanisms, designed to keep you and your property safe. PVC-U windows, for example will today generally feature no less than eight different locking points (nine on larger sizes) as standard.
These anchor the sash (the opening part of the window) to the frame, making it very difficult to force apart. They’ll also be lockable and in some higher security specifications will also use high strength laminate glass.
This can be used if security is a particular concern. It features a special laminated layer, which ‘holds’ the glass together. This means that even if the glass cracks or is damaged during an assault, burglars still can’t get through.
Old or single-glazed windows can be incredibly vulnerable in comparison, making them a weak point in your home’s security.
High Security Doors
Exactly the same goes for doors. New High security doors also employ multi-point locking, high performance anti-drill, anti-pick and anti-bump door cylinders and the local thickening of frames, to provide an extra-strong fix for hinges and locks. Combined, this makes it far harder for burglars to force entry by jimmying the sash and frame apart.
But this technology – at the very least not all of it – won’t be there in older doors, in the same way that it’s absent from older windows.
This means that older doors can be subject to inherent weaknesses that make your home and easy target for burglars.
The biggest offender here is the Euro Cylinder. The cylinder is a key feature on your door, you turn the key and set the lock. If you can breach, nothing else, the multi point locking, attack resistant hinges – it doesn’t matter, your door will simply open as if the burglar had the key.
Unfortunately for tens of thousands of homeowners up and down the country, the cylinders used in their front or back door, have a major Achilles heel – well, in fact several of them.
The first is ‘bumping’, a method which uses a skeleton key readily available and bought cheaply over the Internet to gain access to the cylinder lock mechanism. This leaves no trace of forced entry and on this basis in some cases insurance companies have refused to pay up.
The second is snapping and the forcing of cylinders, which is now beginning to rival the number of break-ins through bumping. Handles are removed and the protruding part of the cylinder is forced either through the force of an impact or the use of tools, commonly mole grips.
They can also be picked and drilled.
It’s why the industry has responded by offering anti-bump, anti-pick and anti-drill options. For example, along with multi-point locking, our ultra-tough and durable high security High security doors ranges are sold with SS312 Sold Secure Diamond rating and TS007:2012 British Kitemark – 3 star rating options.
Secured by Design
New doors and windows offer a high level of protection against intruders as standard. If you’re particularly concerned about the security of your home, you may want to consider a Secured by Design Specification.
This means that they will have met ultra-tough and independently tested criteria set out by the Secured by Design scheme.
For example, on doors this includes manual attack on the locking hardware with tools including a crow bar and mole grips; three minute attacks on the door cylinder using a range of tools including craft knifes and screw drivers; three-minute manual attacks using chisels and brick bolsters; and hard-body impact testing of the leaf, hinge and locking points using a 50kg steel impactor!
See our guide to choosing an entrance door.
If someone is determined enough, the reality is that at some point, they’re going to be able to get into your home. If your home is a soft target because your windows and doors are old, its however, much more attractive and likely to be targeted than a neighbouring property, which is secure.
For a free window and door home security assessment please contact the team by calling 01264 359355 or emailing email email@example.com