School's out and it's not just you and your family that are looking forward to the relaxed pace of the summer break. With statistics from the British Crime Survey released last week suggesting a 14% increase in burglaries at home across England and Wales in 2011, the holiday season also represents the perfect opportunity for thieves to target properties which may be unoccupied as homeowners travel overseas, take day trips or are simply away visiting friends.
Research from the BSIA (British Security Industry Association) Previous research has shown that households with no home security measures are almost ten times more likely to fall victim to burglary than homes where simple security measures have been adopted, from physical security such as locks and fencing, to electronic equipment such as intruder alarms or CCTV.
To make sure you AND your home are safe over the holidays, here are our top tips to secure your property this summer:
Physical security measures are the very backbone of home security. Ensure that doors are fitted with good quality five-lever mortise locks. Fit locks to your windows, especially those that are on the ground floor or are accessible, for example, from a flat roof. Remember that your garage or shed will also need a quality lock in order to protect its contents.
Consider the importance of securing a home from the outside – as well as from the inside. Installing an attractive, secure perimeter fence and gate with good locks, will act as an effective first line of defence to deter and prevent thieves from gaining access to the home and its contents. Thieves will typically consider the ability to make a fast unhindered exit from a property a high priority - either to enable a quick escape with stolen goods or simply to avoid capture – so designing the perimeter fence and gate to make it difficult to enter and exit will make your property far less attractive to a thief.
Choose the right combination
Getting your “external security” right does not mean transforming your home into a fortress; however, care needs to be taken to ensure you select the right fence and gate combination. The overall fencing design (including posts and fittings) should be sufficiently sturdy to frustrate any attempts to push it over, remove any panels or parts, kick it through or climb over – an ‘average’ garden fence is designed to provide attractive demarcation and can easily be compromised. A total fence height of less than 1.8m is generally ineffective as it can easily be scaled and allow objects to be passed over it. Where possible, and subject to planning permission, a fence should be 2-2.4m high. If a higher fence is not an option consider adding an anti-climb deterrent such as a spiked topping or trellis which sits on the top of the fence. For total peace of mind look out for fencing and gates which carry the Secured by Design license
- Jacksons Fencing is a Secured by Design licensed company which means its products comply with the stringent technical standards endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers Crime Prevention Initiatives Ltd.
In terms of material, either steel vertical rail
or mesh type fencing
, or a timber fence designed with security in mind and made using substantial sections of wood; offer the best security options dependent on the level of protection required. Recent innovations from Jacksons include the EuroGuard Combi
system which combines the beauty of natural wood with the strength of steel to create an ultra secure, aesthetically pleasing fencing solution and the Jakoustic fencing system
which not only provides high levels of security against intrusion but also keeps unwanted road noise from your garden (incidentally, higher security versions of both these fencing systems were recently tested and approved by the UK Government).
Get the right gates
A high, framed garden or side passageway gate
with a good lock will be more resistant to attack than an unframed design; always check that the hinges are galvanised so that they are protected from rust and operate freely and more importantly, that they are easily adjustable to ensure the gate will close correctly, engaging the latch and lock effectively. As far as driveway gates are concerned, you need to consider whether it is preferable to close off the view to your property from passers-by (a thief can’t be tempted by what they can’t see) or to choose a design that allows visibility, for example if you live in an area with an active Neighbourhood Watch programme. As with garden gates, you should look for a sturdy, fully framed design fixed to substantial posts and integrated with fencing or walls. Jacksons ‘Courtyard’ gates
for example are timber clad on both sides for good looks and feature a welded, galvanised steel frame and are fixed to substantial steel posts. Gate automation
is not just a convenience; it also represents a valuable personal safety feature, allowing the homeowner to enter the property without leaving the protected environment of the car and by employing the right access control option, allows you to screen visitors before allowing them onto your property. Always make sure your automated gates adhere to the Gate Safe safety guidelines, which can be found at www.gate-safe.co.uk.
To find out how the perimeter security around you home measures up, why not complete this home perimeter security audit