Tommy’s Tips: Christmas Security

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It’s that time again, Christmas is just over a week away!  It’s a really busy time for all of us, shopping for presents for our loved ones, Santa is so busy we have to help out, and that’s where the problems start.  Trying to juggle a normal working life, with all the extra tasks we give ourselves at this time of year, we may quite easily overlook something crucial at this time of year: “security”!

Unfortunately not everybody is considerate, and in the spirit of the season, there are a minority who see Christmas as a period of opportunity, who without any conscience, will steal from busy people, who have let their guard down, ruining their Christmas!

When shopping at Christmas, remember to put all your purchases in the boot of your car, if you are in a hatchback or estate, ensure all purchases are in the back under cover, and I always try to park the car in a carpark with the back against the wall.  I also try to shop first thing in the morning, as there tends to be less opportunists, like pick-pockets and table surfers, who distract people, to steal bags and phones etc. Once home, all that careful shopping may be all for nothing, if when stored indoors, the windows and doors are insufficiently secure to stop those opportunist thieves from breaking in and ruining your Christmas. 

On casement windows, changing an ordinary handle to a lockable version, is a simple job, and requires just a screwdriver, and maybe a bradawl to make new pilot holes if the original ones don’t line up, (put a bit of filler in the old ones).  Extra security can be added, by fitting one or two swing locks, especially on large casements.  They are surface mounted using a bradawl to create pilot holes then simply screw the lock into place.  Sash window locks are available in a range of finishes, and are generally surface mounted, pulling both sashes together eliminating drafts as an added bonus! If time and money are an issue, a screw fitted to either side of the sash, first piloted with a drill, through the bottom sash into the top sash, carefully avoiding hitting the glass, can serve as an effective temporary fix.  I don’t agree with external security bars fitted to windows, as they are ugly, and dangerous in case of fire. Use internal concertina type screens they’re less obtrusive but do the job!

Doors are also vulnerable, and not just the lock side of the door, fit hinge bolts to the back edge of the door to protect the hinge side from being forced in!  these are very simple to fit, by drilling a pair of corresponding holes in the door and frame, screw the bolt into the frame attach the locking plate to the door edge, just two should suffice for the average door. Front and back doors should always be fitted with quality locks and bolts.  The back door should be fitted with a five lever sash/dead lock, with a top and bottom, surface fitted shoot bolt.  The front door should be fitted with a five lever deadlock, about a third of the door length up from the bottom, and a deadlock cylinder rim lock fitted about a third of the door length, down from the top of the door. Also fit a frame guard, over the top of the “door-lock keeps”, and multi screwed into the edge of the frame, this prevents the frame splitting, letting the door open if the lock side of the door is forced. Two more things, fit a surface-mounted door guard, to prevent forced entry once the door is opened. Fit a door peephole so you can see who is at the front door, before opening it in the first place!  Finally if you can’t afford, or don’t have time to fit an alarm to your home, fit a dummy one.  It will put burglars off, they’re available from Poundland for the princely sum of £1.  Oh! Burglars hate dogs, especially big serious or noisy ones, I’ve got an 11 stone Rhodesian Ridgeback.

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