If You Pull Your Front Door Shut Without Locking It With Your Key … It Is Not Locked
The above statement may sound obvious to you, but many homeowners do not realise this. It is a common problem with PVC doors these days, or to be precise, the locks that are put on them. When your front door closes behind you it is not locked – yes, you cannot open it just by pushing the handle down, but a burglar will get in with no more than a screwdriver or butter knife in a few seconds. You are not alone though, over 40% of householders leave their homes unlocked and fail to observe basic security measures such as locking doors properly and fitting insurance compliant locks.
Carelessness in home security providing an open invitation for thieves
According to UK Crime Stats, around 1000 homes are burgled in Essex every month, and there’s no doubt some of these could be prevented by householders taking elementary precautions. Violent crime in Essex has increased by 300% since 2010, and use of weapons has more than doubled in the last 5 years. It is more important than ever to stay safe at home.
Even the basics such as locking doors, not only when leaving the house but when you are home too, are being ignored by some, and many more take unnecessary risks by leaving ground floor windows open and hiding keys in easy to detect places outside amongst other things.
Watch this video – the burglar takes less than a second to open a front door after seeing that the handle moves – if the door is not locked, the handle will move, and this tells burglars they can get in.
Over 40% of householders ignoring basic household security
A survey of 2000 householders undertaken by the Neighbourhood Watch organisation revealed an alarming four in ten householders frequently leave their homes unlocked and less than half would consider changing the locks if they lost their keys. Many people surveyed on an Essex neighbourhood group revealed that they did not know they needed to lift the handle and turn the key to properly lock their front doors.
Many burglaries are opportunistic, and thieves often have their work made easy for them with householders taking unnecessary risks with their home security or not locking up properly.
Another damning statistic unearthed by the survey revealed that barely half of people with burglar alarms activate them unless they’re away from their home for a prolonged period such as a holiday.
One in four householders aren’t aware if their door locks meet the terms of their insurance; a worry as insurance companies are very specific as to what types of locks are required, and non-compliance can result in disputes in the event of a claim.
Checking you have insurance company approved locks should be a priority; even if you have it’s well worth taking to a local security expert such as this locksmith in Essex to ensure your locks provide the best in security.
Locked homes can be vulnerable
Even people who do lock up can still provide easy pickings for experienced thieves. By careful observation they can tell if a home is as well protected as it should be.
For example, a dusty house alarm box might suggest it’s hardly ever activated, and a cobweb over a keyhole might show the deadlock isn’t being used – the door is simply being pulled to so the property is only being protected with a ‘basic’ latch lock.
From this vulnerability a thief could be inside the home in less than 30 seconds and would take barely three or four minutes more to take what they wanted and be away.
Simple security lapses made unwittingly
Bearing in mind experienced thieves can soon make the most of vulnerabilities, it’s certainly concerning that so many householders make it easy for them. Some common weaknesses:
- Unlocked windows – even if they’re not opened, windows at ground level are vulnerable
- Social media – announcing on Facebook you’re in the Maldives for three weeks is interesting information to potential thieves along with your friends
- Valuables on display – acts as a temptation for prowling thieves
- Tools left lying around – thieves usually rely on householders leaving tools and so on lying around to help them break in, so keep items locked away
- Advertising your absence – mail and circulars sticking out of the letter box and unkempt gardens act as a clue for thieves
- Garden tidiness – keeping bushes tidy and trimming overhanging branches reduces poor visibility and hiding areas for thieves
- Keys – keep them away from sight and from letterboxes (they can be fished out by wires and hooks)
Taking basic steps
It’s worth re-evaluating your home security along with ensuring basic steps such as locking up at all times (including windows) and tending to other vulnerabilities; this security advice can help.
If you are in any doubt about the strength and effectiveness of your door locks – a basic first line of defence in making your home secure – then call in an expert locksmith to help you fit up to date locks to help deter thieves and keep your home safe.
Also, lock up at all times.