The most effective way to protect your home from burglars is to consider how they might get in and then shore up your defences in these areas.
A locked door is not enough. Most burglars can defeat it by breaking the door, picking the lock or finding an alternative method of entry.
So go beyond the door and consider all the most common ways burglars enter the home. Here are the ones you should prioritise.
1. All the doors
According to the Office for National Statistics, 70% of burglars gain entry through the door. So that should be your top priority.
In addition to have a solid door, make sure the bolts and locks are heavy-duty as well. Install an extra deadbolt and replace the screws in the strike plate with longer ones that won’t give in easily.
This protects your door from being kicked open.
Consider also using a security bar on the inside. It will be the last line of defence should the other measures fail.
Check that there’s no shrubbery concealing the door and giving the burglar all the privacy they need.
Don’t just focus on the front door. If it is impossible to compromise, burglars will immediately go to the back door.
Use the same security measures as the front door.
It’s also a good idea to have an alarm and security cameras protecting both the front and back doors. This will deter burglars from even attempting to break in.
First floor windows are the second most common points of entry (30% of burglars use a window).
As with the doors, the first thing to check is that there aren’t shrubs covering the windows. A burglar is unlikely to climb in through the window if there is a risk that a passer-by might see them.
Install additional locks on your windows. In high-risk neighbourhoods, also consider installing bars to prevent a burglar from breaking the glass.
A window alarm system is also an effective deterrence.
3. Garage door
Many homeowners forget about this one, creating a weak point that provides access to your garage and the entire house.
A heavy-duty garage door lock that you bolt into the floor provides excellent protection against forced entry.
Even if the burglars manage to spoof your remote signal or release the emergency release lever using a wire, they still cannot open the door.
Other possible points of entry
- Second floor windows. Make sure they are just as secure as the first floor windows.
- Skylights. Yes, there are cases of burglars who went in through the skylight. The best way to prevent this is to install security bars on the skylight.
- Pet access doors. Some burglars will have a child or a petite partner in crime get through the doggy door and unlock the door from the inside. Either get rid of the dog door or find a way to lock it on the inside when you are not home.
- Basement window. Install a strong lock on the window. If you live in a neighbourhood with a lot of burglary, consider installing window bars as well. Make sure you have cleared the area surrounding the basement window to deny a potential burglar any privacy. An alarm system can also help.
- Balcony. Make sure the door leading to the balcony is secure.
How to protect your entry points
Start with the basics. Install secure locks, replace the doors or glass with better quality ones and install security bars on windows.
Next, find ways to deter burglars from even attempting to break in through a window or door.
Install security cameras around strategic points such as the front door and back door. Make sure the cameras are easily visible to discourage burglars.
You should also consider getting a dog. A large dog is an excellent deterrent. Most burglars won’t risk the barking or biting.
Finally, don’t make the amateur mistake of hiding your key in obvious areas. Burglars know all the hiding places – you cannot outsmart them.
If you don’t want the hassle of keys, consider getting a smart door lock that you can open from your smartphone though these present other security issues because of hacking.