Safe as houses

With security remaining high on a homeowner’s list of priorities, and with the threat of burglary ever-present, Martin Smith of IronmongeryDirect.co.uk takes a look at the different options available.

Modern home security measures are an increasingly indispensable feature for all properties. Unlike many other household furnishings, which need to be aesthetically pleasing (sometimes to the cost of functionality), home security’s primary focus is to offer a much more practical purpose – i.e. to protect the property and keep its occupants safe from harm.

Over the past 20 years, the number of burglaries in the UK has fallen – incidents in 2016 were down 23 per cent for the same period five years earlier, and 38 per cent lower than 10 years ago.

However, between October 2015 and September 2016, there were still over 400,000 police-reported burglaries, giving a burglary rate of seven offences per 1,000 people.

Given these statistics, it is understandable that prospective homeowners are as concerned as ever about home security provision. It is imperative therefore that developers address these concerns when building or renovating a property by taking advantage of the rapidly developing technologies and hardware that are now available.

Smart locks and alarms

Traditional ‘lock and key’ methods have been the basic foundation of security for centuries. However, the introduction of keyless smart locks has marked an important development in home security for specifiers of housing developments.

A keyless lock is still as simple to use as its traditional counterpart, but provides greater flexibility. It can be unlocked with a PIN code, key card, key tag, remote fob and even your smartphone, meaning there are a variety of secure ways with which to lock and unlock the door.

Some manufacturers offer additional security features, including a tamper alarm and incorrect PIN code immobiliser included as standard. Many smart locks are also interactive, with smart alarms and CCTV systems.

Alarm systems are another security feature that have evolved to maximise capabilities and become more user-friendly.

With smartphone connectivity, users are now able to arm/disarm and configure their alarms anytime, anywhere. With PIR image cameras, remote viewing is now possible, with images and displays sent directly to a smartphone.

It is also now commonplace to be able to ‘part arm’ a home – meaning a solution where an alarm can be set, securing a ground floor, while still being able to move freely upstairs.

Lighting

Indoor lights on a timer and external motion sensor lights may seem like an age-old trick to deter burglars but they remain effective.

Combined with window and double door locks, these simple yet effective light installations were found to make a home almost 50 times safer than a home without these security measures.

It is also important to make sure that all doors and pathways, both front and back, have a proper spread of lighting and to think about potential blind spots. Many dimmer lights can do a much more effective job than a single bright one and there are a huge amount of LED security lighting options on the market.

CCTV

Research shows that areas with installed CCTV see a reduction in recorded offences for burglary and vehicle crime, but just five per cent of homeowners have home systems installed.

This is perhaps not entirely surprising as CCTV is still relatively expensive compared to a number of other security options.

However, although you can still spend thousands on a top-of-the-range system, it is feasible to find more cost-effective solutions. When this reduction in price is considered alongside new, additional technologies, including HD recordings, enhanced night vision and remote viewing, the installation of CCTV becomes a more realistic prospect.

It is important to remember that these individual measures should not be seen as an ‘either or’ solution. Many smart locks, alarms, lighting and CCTV can work best when used in conjunction with each other as part of an integrated network. With a range of affordable measures to choose from, it has never been easier for a developer to ensure a property’s protection, making it more attractive to potential buyers and securing its value.

Martin Smith is category manager at IronmongeryDirect.co.uk