With some lockdown measures continuing for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are finding ourselves with more time on our hands.
Whether that’s because you’ve been furloughed, or just because you can’t get out and about anymore, why not put that lockdown time to good use, and review your home security.
Together with the team at Locksmith Leicester we have put together 6 tips to help you review and update your home security. Most of the jobs you’ll be able to do yourself, but once the lockdown measures are eased, why not ask a local locksmith to give your home the once over.
Before we get to the tips there is some good news. Experts suspect that, as more people are at home for more of the time, the level of crimes such as home break-ins may fall. This is because many burglars are opportunists who will target empty properties. In addition, more people around mean more people to spot anything suspicious. Despite this, it’s still worth giving your home security measures the once over during lockdown.
1. First inspect your home
Start by taking a look around your home and thinking about any easy steps you can take to improve security.
For example, have you left bins close to flat roofs making it easier for potential burglars to get up and possibly gain entry to your property via a window? Do you notice a bathroom window that routinely gets left open when you leave the house?
Think about any changes you have made that mean that you may want to upgrade some of your security now. Maybe you’ve bought an expensive lawnmower that you store in a shed, but you haven’t quite got round to fitting a lock. Many of us have brought expensive laptops and IT equipment home and are now regularly working from the kitchen, shed, or have even created an outside home office space.
2. Next check existing locks
Locks are usually the first thing we think about when we think about home security, so make sure yours are up to the job.
Make sure locks aren’t sticking or jamming and ensure that keys turn easily to reduce the risk of them breaking. You may be able to help locks operate more effectively or keys turn more easily by applying a little lubricant.
You can also check at this time that your locks conform to the relevant British Standards. This is often a question you are asked when looking for home contents insurance, so it’s good practice to know the answer. You should be able to see a kitemark on the faceplate of any lock and the British Standard should also be stamped there. Insurers recommend that external doors are fitted with five-lever mortice locks conform to British Standard 3621, so that’s what you should look for.
If locks don’t appear to conform to the appropriate British Standard, or your just worried that they may be past their best, make a note of which locks they are with a view to contacting a locksmith when the lockdown measures are eased.
Of course, if a lock is so faulty that it presents an immediate security risk, don’t delay in contacting a locksmith to carry out an emergency repair or upgrade.
3. Use what you have
Whether you’re lucky enough to have a back garden to enjoy in sunny weather, or your making sure that you head off for your daily dose of exercise, don’t make entry into your property easy for would be burglars by leaving windows or doors unsecured.
If you’re in your garden, don’t be tempted to leave front windows open, as an opportunist thief can get quickly in and out of your home before you notice.
Similarly, if you head off out, even if only for a short time, don’t forget to lock windows and doors, especially if your leaving your home office on the kitchen table! When our routines change, for example because we’re no longer going out to work, it’s easy to overlook the simple things. Get into the habit of locking up, every time you leave the house.
4. Don’t forget outside
Don’t just think about the locks on the doors and windows on your home, also check locks and bolts on garages, sheds, gates and especially any home offices that are in outbuildings. Again, make sure you that you are using the locks that you do have, and don’t leave sheds unlocked, even if you are at home.
It’s also easy to think that leaving a garage door open while you’re working around your property will be fine, but it really only takes seconds for a thief to nip in and take a bike or some of your tools.
5. Think about cyber security
We are all online from home a lot more, especially during this lockdown period. Whether that’s because you are working from home or because you are buying more on the internet, keep an eye on your cybersecurity.
Make sure that your Wi-Fi network has a strong password and don’t share passwords with anyone. If you are using credit or debit cards on a website, ensure the site is secure by checking for the padlock symbol in the address bar.
Again, when working from home, treat any software and access to computers as you would in the office, by having strong passwords and restricting access by locking them when not in use.
6. Keep an emergency locksmith’s number to hand
Whether you’ve managed to lock yourself out of your home or you’ve been unlucky enough to have been broken into, there may be times when you need a locksmith in an emergency.
With many businesses either not trading or furloughing staff, rather than waiting until the worst happens, do some research in advance. Look at reviews and find a trustworthy local locksmith that you can call on in an emergency.
Make sure you put their number onto your phone so that you can contact them quickly and easily.