Beat the Burglar

The feeling that someone else has been in your home can live with you for a long time. The advice here will help stop you being the next burglary victim.


Outside doors should have deadlocks which at least conform to BS3621. These locks can only be opened by key. A burglar cannot just use a plastic card to push back the tongue of the lock or break a glass panel and reach in to open it. Doors which you usually lock from the inside – for example the back door – should also be fitted with bolts. But locks and bolts are only as strong as the door and the frame to which they are fitted. So check the woodwork and replace it if it is at all weak or rotten. Double doors should have bolts (preferably security bolts with removable keys) at the top and bottom of both doors as well as a lock. On patio doors, additional security locks should be fitted to stop the slicing frame being lifted off the tracks. The sliding leaf of patio doors should be fitted on the inside.


Most burglaries are through windows. Key operated locks should be fitted to all accessible windows – those on the ground floor and those near drainpipes and flat roofs. These locks are inexpensive to buy and easy to fit.


Never leave keys in a lock – always take them with you. Never leave keys in a "secret" hiding place – thieves know all the hiding places. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour.


Check the identity of all callers. Before opening your door fully, ask to see their identity card if they claim to be officials. Don’t be fooled by a uniform. Telephone their office if in any doubt. A door viewer or door chain will help you see who is at the door without opening it fully.

Going Out

A burglar can be in and out of your home in two minutes. So always shut and lock all windows – however short a time you are going to be away. Don’t forget garages and sheds – they contain valuable items and tools useful to a burglar. Chain and padlock ladders, or keep them in locked sheds or garages.


Don’t make it obvious that you are away – cancel the milk and newspapers. Ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, taking in any packages and removing mail from your letterbox.

Property Marking

List your valuable items with serial numbers and a short description. Take photographs or videos of items such as jewellery and keep them with your policy. You will have a better chance of getting your property back after a burglary.

Mark your property with a property marking kit. Use your postcode and the number of your house. This will help the police to return your property to you. Your local Crime Prevention Officer will advise you. Use the checklist in this leaflet and keep it with your policy.


If you own valuable property you may prefer the added security of a safe. Before you buy one, consult your insurance company surveyor or Crime Prevention Officer as to which type is best suited to your needs.


If you are considering installing an alarm get advice from your insurers first, before buying one. Many insurance companies insist that the installation of alarms is carried out by companies registered with the National Approval Council for Security Systems (Queensgate House, 14 Cookham Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 8AJ).

Most alarms only warn that someone has already broken in. Your first priority is to stop them getting in at all.

Neighbourhood Watch

Get involved in a neighbourhood watch scheme – or help to set up one. Your local police will give you details.


Some insurers allow a discount from the cost of home contents insurance if you fit specified security measures. Ask your insurance company or insurance advisor for details.

Check List

TV/video recorder    
Hi-fi System    
Camera(s)/Video Camera    
Washing Machine    
Food Mixer    
Vacuum Cleaner    
Home Computer/Word Processors    
Electric Tools    
Lawn Mower    

This document is reproduced with the permission of ABI – The Association of British Insurers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>