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Home improvements that involve new building construction often provide an excellent opportunity to improve your home’s security. This is because you will be able to take advantage of selecting products that meet security standards and benefit from a design change that will remove a crime opportunity. Here’s just a few examples (with links to further advice) to highlight some common home improvements projects that can reduce crime.
Replacement doors and windows
Many of us choose to replace doors and windows to improve the appearance of the dwelling, to improve energy conservation and to cut down on maintenance. Fortunately you can also select doors and windows that have been designed to provide an enhanced level of security. The most common security standard for enhanced secure doors and windows you will see is PAS 24 2012, but there are other security standards available as described in the sections shown below
Tell your builder or supplier that you want your windows certificated to your chosen security standard. PAS 24 2012 doorsets are automatically supplied with laminated glass, but windows are not, so if you want some additional security specify the use of laminated glass for the windows as well. Further information about security glazing can be found at the link below:
Enhanced secure doors and windows are supplied to you as a complete ‘set’, which will include the frames and all the locking devices and furniture. The door lock cylinders will be resistant to the various attacks made on them by burglars, such as bumping and snapping.
These secure doors and windows will also be available in a wide variety of designs and materials and so it is likely that you will be able to find ones that match your existing types, which is especially important if you live in a conservation area.
Replacing a front door may also provide the opportunity to not include a letterplate, but instead have your mail delivered into a secure letterbox mounted on the house wall. If you want to retain the letterplate then you can purchase ones that have been designed to prevent fishing (stealing things through the letterplate) and lock manipulation (reaching the inside of a door lock via the letterplate to turn a key, thumb-turn or handle). There are even letterplates that have been designed to prevent arson. There are sound security reasons for following this advice and for further information you should follow the link below.
Rear and side extensions
This is also an opportunity for you to specify enhanced secure doors and windows, but the extension itself might also add or take away some security at the same time. Let me explain:
Adding to security: A conservatory, which occupies the full width of the back of a house, is going to add a new line of defence against thieves if the original doors and windows are retained and locked when the house in unoccupied.
Taking away: An extension off the back or side of a house, especially one with a flat roof, may provide new access opportunity to some of the first floor windows. This problem is easily remedied by ensuring that the affected windows are properly locked and, if need be, replaced with ones of enhanced security.
You may also need to extend your house alarm into the new extension and it is highly likely that you’ll need to relocate your external lights or fit new ones.
New porches and recessed front entrance doors
Some homes have deeply recessed front entrance doors that can provide an opportunity for a thief to work unseen at the door, either to force the lock or, for example, to fish through the letter plate to steal car keys from a hallway table.
The removal of the recess or a new extended porch will place the thief in full view of the street and thereby make these actions highly unlikely.
Having a garden redesigned often provides you with an opportunity to replace the boundary fences and or walls. Some fencing and wall types are more secure than others, so you should follow the link below to find out more
Such work might also provide the opportunity to replace old garden buildings for new ones and since a large number of burglars break into sheds to steal the contents, or to find tools with which to break into the house, this is the opportunity to make sure the new buildings are secure.
If you are installing some new garden lighting it would be beneficial to be able to operate the new lights from inside the house.
During garden design we should not forget that nature has supplied us with a huge variety of shrubs and trees that can help us better defend our boundaries. However, 'defensive planting', as it is known, is not just about selecting the best prickly plants. It's also about enhancing natural surveillance of the garden to reduce the cover and hiding places that could be afforded to the thief.
There are probably many more instances when a home improvement project can result in a more secure home, but the important thing to do is to make sure you always include security as part of your planning and design process. You will only be doing these jobs once, so don't miss out on the opportunity to do them right.
Updated March 2016