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crime prevention advice

Age UK - Personal Security at home leaflet

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Home Security



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Downloadable
crime prevention advice

Download practical information to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

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Door Security

Locking a door with a key.A house door left openA row of houses and their front doors.

A secure door can protect the rest of your home and property.

The Door

  • Keep doors locked even when you are at home

  • If you are replacing or fitting a new door set, make sure it is certified to British Standard PAS24-1: 1999 ‘Doors of Enhanced Security’

  • Timber doors should have a solid core, be at least 44mm thick and comply with BS 8220

  • Doors made of other materials must have passed the British Board of Agreement (BAA) security test for doors

  • Make sure doors and frames are strong and in good condition. (You can strengthen existing timber doors by fitting steel strips or a steel plate over any thin panels and around the lock)

  • Doors used as the final point of exit should be fitted with a lock which conforms to BS 3621 or BS EN 12209 security standards

  • Back doors should be fitted with a five lever mortise deadlock and two rack bolts, fitted approximately 15mm from the top and bottom of the door

  • All glazed areas in or around the door should be laminated glass, or covered with a reinforcing window film

  • Ensure you have an escape route in case of fire or other emergency.

Door hinges

Check that the door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws. For added security, fit hinge bolts. These are cheap and help to reinforce the hinge side of a door against force. Hinge bolts or security hinges are especially important if your door opens outwards.

Door locks

  • PVU-U doors usually have multi-point locking systems

  • Wooden front doors should be fitted with a five lever mortice deadlock fitted a third of the way up from the bottom of the door, and a rim lock fitted a third of the way down from the top of the door (both to British Standard BS 3621)

  • Before fitting locks to PVC-U or metal doors, check with the installer to make sure that this will not affect your warranty.

Door keys

  • Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, in a flowerpot or behind a loose brick – burglars know all the usual hiding places

  • Some burglars have been known to use a fishing rod or magnet on a stick to steal keys through the letterbox

  • If you move into a new home, change the external door locks immediately – other people may have copies of the keys. Use a reputable locksmith who is a member of the Master Locksmiths Association

  • Decide on a safe place for your keys and always use it, so you can find them in an emergency.

Door viewers, chains and bars

  • If you don't have a window in the door or some other way of checking who's calling, fit a door viewer. Look through this to identify callers before you open the door

  • Use a door chain/bar to restrict how far the door can be opened so that the caller’s identification can be checked. They can stop callers pushing their way in, but must be securely fixed to avoid screws being pulled out.

Letter box

  • Fitting a restrictor to your letterbox will prevent burglars looking or reaching through or 'fishing' for keys

  • Never hang a spare key inside the letterbox – this is an obvious place that a thief will check

  • Letterboxes should be at least 400mm (16 inches) from any locks

Patio doors

  • When buying, ask for a multi-point locking system with anti-lift blocks and the sliding section on the inside

  • For existing patio doors fit additional mortise security bolts with removable keys at the top and bottom of both doors, and ensure an anti-lift device is used to prevent the sliding door being lifted off the runners.

If you live in a flat or shared housing

  • Consider having a phone-entry system fitted to the main door to your building. Never ‘buzz’ open the main entrance for strangers or hold the door open for someone who is arriving as you are leaving or entering the building

  • Doors to flats over a floor level of 4.5 metres (normally those on the second floor or higher) should have locking mechanisms fitted in line with British Standard BS5588-1: 1990 ‘Fire precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings’

  • If you are a student, take high-value goods home with you during holidays or take advantage of secure storage schemes at your university or college

  • In halls of residence, always lock your room door, even if you are just going down the corridor.