Is your home secure? Despite the slowdown in the housing market, homeowners are still selling up and moving on, so the security experts at Yale have come up with some top tips for securing your new home. People who have lived in their house for less than a year are among the most likely to be burgled and with nearly 300,000 reported burglaries last year, this is advice you can’t afford to ignore... 1. Secure all external doors – it may seem obvious but if the property you’re moving into has incorrect or sub-standard locks, this can impact on the vulnerability of your new home, as well as potentially compromise your insurance. While you’re getting yourself settled and sorted, take the opportunity to check that all doors are fitted with the correct lock. A mortice lock and/or a nightlatch that meets British Standard BS3621 should be used on all external timber doors. Look out for the kitemark on lock packs and the lock itself. The ‘Secured by Design’ logo also indicates that the lock meets the standards set by the police and insurance companies. 2. Don’t forget the windows – windows are a common point of entry for burglars. Make sure all windows are fitted with at least one appropriate lock, especially ground floor windows which have the potential to be accessed easily. Even if your home looks unoccupied, burglars will still avoid smashing windows to prevent leaving their DNA if they cut themselves and will instead, try to force the window frame itself. So, be sure you fit window locks that can withstand force and manipulation. 3. Securing your conservatory – if your new house has a conservatory, make sure it’s secure. When it comes to home security, conservatories are often overlooked, yet they’re one of the most inviting areas for a potential burglar, as they’re usually located to the rear or side of a house, away from view. So, make sure all your conservatory’s windows and doors are fitted with appropriate locks. Yale recommends that a wirefree alarm or CCTV system is used to provide extra protection. Yale supplies a comprehensive range of wirefree alarm kits and CCTV kits and camera accessories. 4. Set your alarm – 60% of burglaries attempted on homes with alarms are unsuccessful. As well as providing a visual deterrent to potential burglars, alarms are vital for alerting your neighbours. So, if your new home has an alarm, its worth learning how to use it. If there isn’t one fitted, then Yale offers a range of wirefree alarm kits that are quick and easy to install, offering discreet protection for all types of properties, from flats to large family homes. 5. New keys – when you move into your new home, unless it’s a new build, always change the locks, as you never know how many previous owners still have keys to your property. Remember, when fitting new locks look for the kitemark or ‘Secured by Design’ logo. 6. Secure your valuables – take the opportunity whilst you’re moving and sorting through all your belongings to collect together and secure your valuable documents and possessions. With the rise in identity theft, it’s more important than ever to store them in a safe place. Installing a home safe, bolted securely to the floor or wall, is a great way of doing this, giving you peace of mind that sensitive documents such as passports and birth certificates as well as valuable jewellery or ornaments are safely tucked away. Yale offers a range of electronic and key operated safes that are easy to use and install. 7. During the move – remember to be aware of where your belongings are, during the move. Moving in day is often when you’re at your most vulnerable, with boxes left in full view on driveways and doors and windows kept continually open. Always make sure that there are people around who you can trust to keep an eye on your new home and possessions, and never leave your most valuable items on display or unsecured. 8. Sheds, garages and outbuildings – don’t tempt opportunist thieves by leaving sheds, garages and outbuildings poorly secured, especially if they include an integral door leading to your house. When you move in, check that they all have adequate door and window locks, as chances are, you’ll be storing valuable items like lawnmowers and bikes, as well as ladders and tools that could prove useful to burglars. By fitting a heavy-duty padlock, anchor lock or cable, you can secure the buildings as well as deter would-be thieves. 9. Lighting – for outside areas, movement-sensitive security lights can deter potential intruders, making it harder for them to break in undetected, by creating some unwanted attention and alerting neighbours. If your new property already has lights installed, check that they are in good working order and if not, its worthwhile fitting them, especially at the rear of your property. 10. And finally – after a hard day of loading and unloading, nobody feels like putting up their new furniture or finding a place for your shoe collection, so the garage is often used as a temporary storage space. Wherever you choose to store your possessions while you’re getting settled, make sure it’s locked securely, as having them stolen, could be a very unwelcome moving in present. All of the Yale security products recommended are available in many large retailers and hardware stores, or through your local locksmith. Alternatively, buy online at www.yale.co.uk. For further information on security advice and products, contact Yale on 01902 364606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.