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Handy tips to keep your home safe and secure

9th November 2014

As a locksmith in Rotherham, people often ask me "Hey Stephen, which film won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1934," and to them I reply "It Happened One Night" and we continue with our drinks.  Okay, that only happened once and it was a pub quiz, but even so, I'm still proud of that answer. In reality, I find people are more keen to ask me how they can best protect their valuable belongings.

Aside from the obvious answer of getting me in to update their locks and home security (I had to get a plug in somewhere), there are other steps that can be taken and, in the spirit of the season of goodwill (nearly), and to mark the ending of Home Security Month (what, you mean you didn't know it was in October?), I've put together a few pointers on how to be just that little bit more secure throughout the winter months. 

These tips assume that you've already taken the most important step of ensuring your doors and windows are as secure as they can possibly be - if you haven't done that, I'd seriously advise contacting a Rotherham locksmith, perhaps even the splendid chap writing these words right now. (Seriously, that's all the plugs now)

Working house alarm

Seven in ten houses in the UK still don't have a house alarm, despite the fact that they have been proven time and time again to deter all but the most determined of burglars.  Well over half of all attempted burglaries on a house with an alarm are unsuccessful, with the burglar scared off either from  the fear that neighbours will be alerted by the piercing sound, or from the knowledge that many alarms are directly connected to a response centre, meaning the police are on their way. A monitored alarm will be a little more expensive than a non-monitored setup, but any system at all is better than none, and in this era of smart phones, even some of the cheaper alarms now come with the ability to contact the house-owner the very moment the alarm is tripped. 

It's all very well having an alarm, but it also needs to be working, otherwise it's just a plastic box on the front of your house. There are many companies who will maintain and service alarms but if this will be too much of an expense, then at least test out the alarm yourself to check it's in working order. It will only take a couple of minutes - just don't leave it sounding for too long, or else you may find yourself getting significantly fewer Christmas cards from your neighbours this year. 

Keep valuables out of sight

Almost too obvious to mention, but you'd be surprised how many people don't take heed of the mantra to keep valuables out of sight and this applies as much to households as well as to vehicles. Here's where common sense comes in - don't leave a laptop, wallet, cash, keys etc in plain sight through a downstairs window - burglars rarely need a second invitation when they see a display like that. Within the house, ensure the most tempting items are out of sight as burglars tend to want to be in and out as quickly as possible and will often grab the easily seen items on display rather than undertaking a lengthy search. If you're leaving the house for days at a time, why not put the more valuable items into a lockable drawer or cupboard. Anywhere in fact, as long as they're not on obvious display on a kitchen worktop or the like.

Home security safes

Continuing on the above theme, if you do keep valuable items in the house and really want to thwart the most tenacious burglar, a safe is a most worthwhile investment. There are many different types and sizes available so think about what you will be putting in the safe. If it's for jewellery and cash along with the odd bit of important paperwork such as a passport/birth certificate then  clearly a small one will do the trick. If you're wanting to go the whole hog and use it to store large items such as laptops etc then you'd be looking at a much more substantially sized one.  Look out for whether the safe is accredited by an organisation such as the AIS (Association of Insurance Surveyors) or Safe Secure. Buying a cheap flimsy model is really a false economy as this is just gathering all the items your burglar knows are valuable and storing them all together in a box they can handily take away with them to break into at their own leisure. The safe needs to be secured to a wall or floor to prevent this, and a qualified locksmith can certainly help with this fitting. *coughs*. 

So there's the 3 main tips for now. Bear in mind there are other smaller steps you can take to reduce the risk of burglaries, including security lights on the exterior of your property, locking away all garden furniture and tools for the winter, preferable in a locked shed or garage. If you're planning on going away, consider using timer switches on your lights so that it looks as if someone's in; ask neighbours to keep an eye on your property when away, perhaps offer them the use of your drive for their car to give the impression that the house is occupied. Small steps, but they all add up and decrease the chance of a burglary wrecking your festive season. 

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For further advice, or for a free quote on any locksmith work in Rotherham call 01709 711 055. We aim to give the best possible locksmith service in Rotherham. 

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