Whether you have a property in the UK or overseas (or both) the same ground rules apply for making sure your property is safe and secure.

As a simple tool for boosting home security, the Master Locksmiths’ Association (MLA) have produced this step-by-step visual guide:

Unsecured house

Unsecured House (click on image to enlarge)

It’s useful to understand the pitfalls of poor security before deciding how to improve the security of your own home. Figure 1 illustrates the most common areas where security can be compromised:

1.    Obstructive bushes: overgrown greenery can provide cover for burglars.

2.    Open windows: check that all windows are not only closed but locked before leaving the house.

3.    Old door:  a lock can only be fully effective if the door it’s being fitted into is appropriate and the door and frames are in good condition.

4.    Drainpipe next to flat roof: the combination of a flat roof and a ‘convenient’ drainpipe can make it all too easy for potential intruders to gain access.

5.    Window next to flat roof: if you do have a flat roof, make sure that any windows within reach have the relevant window lock and consider reinforced glass, bars/grilles etc.

6.    Exposed window: side windows can make weak points for attack if you do not reinforce the glass.

7.    Broken and unlocked gate: don’t lose out by leaving gates unlocked and in poor repair.

8.    Broken fence: gaps and broken patches in your fence create weak spots where intruders could gain access.

9.    Unsecure tools: tools left lying around can be used by burglars to gain entry.

10.  Open and unlocked shed: there is little point in having a shed to protect and secure tools if you leave it unlocked and open for anyone to enter.

Secured house

Figure 2 shows how just a few changes can ensure your home is safe and secure:

Secured House (click on image to enlarge)

1.    Trimmed hedges: keeping hedges and undergrowth well trimmed makes it much harder for intruders to hide.

2.    Closed and locked window: make sure all windows are closed and locked whenever you leave the house. It is also worth enlisting an MLA locksmith to check the locks on your windows meet your insurance requirements.

3.    Door and lock to appropriate standards: Sadly ‘one lock fits all’ doesn’t apply, for instance a standard mortice lock would not work a multi point locking system on a UPVC door. Seek advice from a professional who will be able to install the correct lock to the right specification and appropriate security level.

4.    Alarm: make sure you set it and change your alarm code regularly.

5.    CCTV: It’s worth considering installing a CCTV system to help you be vigilant over who approaches your property.

6.    Safe: Invest in a professionally specified and installed safe to ensure valuable items are properly secured.

7.    Lighting: dusk to dawn lighting will not only deter potential thieves; it will also light your way to the door in the dark – and help you search for your keys!

8.    Bike lock: if you own bikes make sure you lock them securely in place, perhaps using a ground anchor. Look for third party accredited products such as those that have passed Sold Secure testing.

9.    Locked window next to flat roof: make sure you always keep windows next to flat roofs securely locked.

10.  Bars on window: bars or grilles are the most secure way of ensuring that a window does not compromise the security of a building – and you can find a style which does not compromise the aesthetics of your home.

11.  Locked gate: having appropriate locks installed on garden gates vastly increases the security of your home, as well as sending a deterrent signal to would-be burglars.

12.  Secured fence: by keeping your fences in good condition you reduce opportunities for intruders to gain access to your property.

13.  Secured tools: tools which are secured in a locked shed cannot be used by burglars to smash windows and gain access to your home.

14.  Locked outhouse: investing in a strong shed is advisable but this needs to be reinforced by a lock of an appropriate standard to ensure your insurance requirements are met, as well as to protect your belongings.

For further information or to find an approved MLA company please visit www.locksmiths.co.uk