22nd July 2021
Aside from installing a burglar alarm system, there's a range of ways to make your home safer.
Consider each possible entry point to your home, such as doors and windows, to see how they could be improved.
As well as opportunistic burglaries, some burglars scope out a property beforehand, sometimes working with others. It's therefore important to think about measures to ensure your home looks occupied at all times, that there aren't any clear places where a potential burglar could hide to assess the house, and that their entrance to the house is visible and difficult.
In January 2019**, we asked 1,330 Which? members about the extra security measures they have in their homes, from alarm systems to CCTV.
The largest proportion, 65%, have a deadlocks on doors, 57% have outdoor security lighting and 45% a burglar alarm.
As well as buying security equipment, which can be costly, there are other ways to protect your home. Here are our top tips, some of which cost little or nothing:
When fitting a lock to a window or door, use the strongest screws you can, not necessarily the ones supplied, and make sure they are all to British Standard BS7950.
Retrofitting UPVC and PVCU doors or windows with locks could weaken them or invalidate warranties. Sufficient locks fitted at the time of construction are safer.
Outdoor lights, either ones that you switch on manually or those that are set off by movement, are a good way to ensure a burglar is more visible, which will help to put them off. Generally, a single light can cost anything between £8 and £100. But take care to direct these downwards so as not to annoy neighbours, and make sure they won't shine into drivers' eyes if your home is near a road.
For indoor lighting, the key thing is to make sure that a burglar thinks people are in the house, even when they're not. Timers that can turn lights on and off around the home, as well as TVs and/or radios, cost as little as £5. Just make sure these are in sync around your home, such as turning the light off five minutes after the TV goes off.
If you have a burglar alarm system, make sure ‘bell boxes’ are visible on your property to let potential burglars know you have an alarm. You can also get fake burglar alarm boxes, which cost around £15 to £20, if you can't afford to get a full alarm system fitted.
CCTV or (either indoors or outside) can be an extra security measure to put burglars off, but they're not for everyone - only 16% of our members surveyed have one or more of these. Read our guide to find out more about .
As well as all the above security measures, consider installing a and carbon monoxide monitor, too, to protect yourself from other hazards. You can buy these on their own, or as part of a package with some burglar alarms.
It's also worth remembering that while you want to make your home as secure as possible, you need to make sure this won't stop you from being able to escape – or be rescued – in an emergency such as a fire.
Identity theft is a booming business, so keep all your personal information out of sight. It's worth taking a look at our page on identity theft for more tips on how to stop it, and what to do it you're affected.
Most insurers will insist on a minimum level of security before they will offer you insurance, such as deadlocks on some or all external doors. These locks will usually need to be five-lever mortise locks and have to meet a minimum standard - usually BS3621.
You will probably find that your insurer expects you to have locks on all your accessible windows as well, although some insurers don't make this a requirement. So putting locks on all your basement and ground-floor windows, plus any that may be accessible by climbing a drainpipe or wall, will increase the number of companies likely to cover you.
*In January 2019, we surveyed 2,083 members of the public who own a burglar alarm about their system. Data has been weighted to be representative of the GB/UK population (aged 18+).
**In the same month we separately asked 1,330 Which? members about the extra security measures they have in their homes, from alarm systems to CCTV.