Common home security mistakes to avoid

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With the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, now is as good a time as ever to review your home security to help keep your family, property and belongings as safe as possible.

We’re often called upon to install home security measures to help homeowners protect the things most valuable to them.

However, we’re firm believers that when it comes to security, prevention is better than cure.

After all, it’s often cheaper to install measures that actually prevent a break-in than it is to put things right in the aftermath.

So, here are some of the most common home security mistakes we see when we’re out and about and what you can do to avoid them…

Having poor quality locks

Many standard locks are vulnerable to lock snapping. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to break a lock and gain access to your property.

So, auditing all your locks, particularly those on your downstairs access points, and upgrading them where necessary is essential.

Anti-snap locks, or locks that bear the British Standards kitemark, are the best ones to choose because they have been certified as being stronger and more robust than the cheap locks you can pick up from your local DIY centre. 

Leaving a spare key outside the house

We’ve covered this one before. While hiding a spare key under your doormat, behind a plant pot or even on top of your door frame or porch might seem like a good idea in case you get locked out, it’s a considerable risk to take.

Would-be intruders know all the most popular places to hide a key, and if they can see your house is empty, it wouldn’t take them long to find the key, pop inside and have a free run of your home and your belongings.

Plus, if you were burgled because someone had found your spare key, it may invalidate your home insurance.

Creating blind spots

While exterior security lighting can help protect your property and act as a strong visual deterrent to would-be thieves, it can actually create security issues if not installed correctly.

Single, static lights are great for illuminating the area they are trained on but create dark pockets outside of their beams, which are perfect for intruders to skulk around in.

While installing multiple lights might not be an option, choosing motion-sensor lights is a good bet, as they will be triggered whenever anyone approaches, which can often alert you to an intruder or scare a would-be thief away.  

Leaving valuables in plain sight

You can have the best home security system in the world, but if you leave your valuables, such as electrical goods, jewellery phones, car keys or wallets, in plain sight, you might be inviting trouble.

They may be too tempting for opportunist thieves to turn down, if they can quickly smash a window and grab whatever is to hand, or case your house and come back when nobody is around.

So, lock your extremely valuable items away in a home safe. And if your ground floor windows are at street level, consider installing nets or keeping your curtains or blinds closed. 

Too much privacy

High hedges, fences, gates, bushes or trees are great for protecting your privacy, but they can also shield the activities of would-be criminals from prying eyes.

Burglars and thieves will find it easier to skulk around your property unnoticed if nobody can see into your front yard and garden, so striking the right balance between privacy and security is vital.

Where it’s impractical to cut down tall trees or demolish brick walls, investing in motion-sensor lights or CCTV cameras can help deter potential intruders.

Leaving windows or doors open

This one is down to common sense, but if you leave your doors or windows open, even if you’re at home, it makes it easier for burglars or thieves to sneak in and out undetected.

If you’ve left any valuables on show or within easy reach (see above), you might lose them and not even realise until much later, when it’s too late to do anything about.

Plus, if you’re home alone, do you really want to risk someone you don’t know entering your property unlawfully? So, always remember to lock all your access doors and close your windows wherever you can.

Not changing locks

When you move into a new home, it’s essential to change your locks on the day you move in, as it’s not uncommon for break-ins to happen just after new owners move in.

After all, many people may have keys to your house that you don’t know about.

While most previous owners, estate agents, builders or other tradespeople are trustworthy, can you afford to take the risk?

While the cost of replacing locks can be moderately expensive, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it will bring and could help prevent more significant financial losses if you were burgled because someone has access to a spare set of keys.

Security advice from Grays Locksmiths

Grays Locksmiths Nottingham has been providing trusted locksmith services to the people of Nottinghamshire for more than 30 years. As a Master Locksmiths Association member, we are qualified and regularly vetted and inspected to carry out all aspects of professional locksmith work.

We strive to stay ahead of the curve with all the latest security trends to ensure you are always getting the best locksmiths services and solutions on the market.

To find out more about our products and services, give us a call on 0115 9422315 or email