When it comes to securing your home from potential threats, there are a number of things that you can proactively do to ensure your home is the most secure version of itself that it can be. From acknowledging your attitude to your home’s security and taking basic measures to protect it, to identifying your most cherished possessions and safeguarding your windows and doors (the key points of entry to your home), we have the top tips to help you take action.
Public Attitudes to Home Security in Ireland
According to nationwide research conducted by Zurich Insurance and published in their Home Security Study in early 2016:
- Three in five people do not have their most cherished household possessions insured.
- More than two in five people ignore basic security measures when they leave their homes.
- More than one in two people do not set a house alarm every time they leave their homes.
- More than one in five people only set their house alarm when they go on holidays, or are away for several days.
Insights into Cherished Household Possessions
- Almost one in five people say that the electronic devices they own, are the most cherished possessions in their homes.
- The average value of these devices is €1,513.
- More than one in ten people say that the jewellery they own, is the most cherished possession in their homes.
- The average value of these items is €3,621.
- This also makes jewellery the most expensive of the cherished possessions found in Irish homes.
- In fact, almost one in five people cite a value of €5,000 or more for their jewellery.
- Outside of electronic devices and jewellery, other cherished household items include paintings, homeware, sports equipment and designer clothes.
Burglary Rates and Risk
According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 26,259 recorded cases of burglary and related offences in 2015. While the vast majority of these related to non-aggravated burglaries, there were 270 recorded cases of ‘aggravated burglary’ and 598 cases of ‘possession of an article with intent to burgle, steal or demand.’
When it comes to burglaries, there are a number of measures that can be taken to minimise a burglar’s opportunity. These focus on securing the main points of entry into your home. According to An Garda Siochana, burglaries increase by 25% during the winter season and more than 40% of winter burglaries take place between 5pm and 11pm, so now is the time to act.
Key Points of Entry That Burglars Target
Securing doors and windows is a crucial aspect of protecting your home. 20% of burglaries that occur are as a result of access via an unsecured window or door. Jewellery and cash are the most common items stolen by a burglar.
Protecting Your Home from the Inside Out
With front doors being the most common point of entry that burglars target to enter our homes, it is imperative to invest wisely in the front door you choose for your home. A key element to look for when purchasing a front door is the door handle mechanisms that are in place to prevent against common types of attacks. These include:
Look for a door handle that includes steel reinforcement technology within the backplate. This will provide ‘jemmy resistance’ to prevent a burglar from snapping the door handle. Right-angled edge or corner backplate shoulders will also provide anti-grip protection.
Look for a door handle with an integrated cylinder guard which is visible within the raised backplate design. This encases the cylinder to protect it from being tampered with.
Look for a door handle that incorporates an integral anti-plug disc within the backplate that is located directly over the cylinder face to shield it from burglars’ attacks.
Look for a door handle which houses a mechanism to allow for anti-drill disc spins if attacked with a drill. This will prevent a burglar’s drill bit from penetrating the cylinder.
With rear, front, and side widows acting as key points of entry for potential thieves, it is important to choose the right frames and hardware for the windows in your home. One of the main security considerations to take into account when choosing windows is their locking mechanisms and how reinforced the glass is. Window security features to consider include:
Whether you have casement windows, sliding sash windows, or tilt and turn windows, additional security window locks, safety catches and sash jammers are available to suit most window types for added security. For the ultimate in locking mechanisms, look for windows with shoot-bolt locking mechanisms which have been proven to exceed the latest performance requirements in the window security industry.
Internal Glazing/Safety Glass
If you are considering upgrading your windows for security purposes, look for those with internal glazing and toughened safety glass.
Check that the turn handles on your windows include push buttons. These allow for the person closing the window to listen for an automatic click of the button indicating that the window is in fact locked.
Do and Do Nots: Top Tips for Home Security
- Do have sensor lighting outside your home. If a potential burglar walks around your house to case it, your neighbours will be alerted to their presence.
- Do not leave spare house keys under your welcome mat, or under a pot plant outside your front or back door. Get an extra key cut and leave it with a neighbour, friend, or family member instead.
- Do find out if your community has a neighbourhood watch facility in place. By adding a neighbourhood watch sticker to one of your house windows, it may deter unwanted intruders.
- Do not make it public knowledge that you are not at home by sharing images or updates about your location on social media, especially when you are on holidays for an extended period of time.
- Do set an alarm on your radio so that it comes on and off while you are not at home. Invest in timer lighting for the same purpose. These suggest to an outsider that you are at home when they hear noise or see lights coming from your home.
- Do not leave any items of value on display that can be seen from the outside of your home. This is especially true for money and jewellery which are high value targets for burglars.
- Do install an alarm system that is approved by your home insurance provider. This adds an extra layer of security for peace of mind, as well as availing of a possible discount on your home insurance policy.
- Do not leave any garden shed, garage, or outbuilding unlocked. These buildings often contain gardening and DIY equipment that may be valuable enough to steal, but may also be used as tools to break into your home.