Russell Penman: Review home security before winter

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Police Scotland is advising anyone who has a Euro Profile Cylinder lock, used mainly on uPVC doors and which is more than a few years old, to consider changing to the more secure “Break Secure” type of cylinder.

This is because criminals have devised methods of snapping these types of cylinder locks in a matter of seconds and still allow the door lock to be manually unlocked and the door opened giving access to the house. The number of “lock-snapping” housebreakings reported to Police Scotland is minimal compared to other areas of the UK, however the more secure alternative can be easily purchased from high street retailers or online and fitted by any person with general DIY skills in a few minutes.

As criminals are now targeting houses with high-value cars parked outside, they are engaging in “two in one” criminality, by both breaking into your home and stealing things like smartphones, tablets and other portable high-value items and then driving away in your car, so good home security is vital. If you have a Secured by Design rated door fitted after 2010 you can be confident that it will have a “Break Secure” lock.

The lock on your door is one aspect of domestic security and there are many other things that you can also look at.

These include: checking all doors and windows are locked – even if only popping out for a minute; ensuring door locks meet British standards – not complying with this may compromise your insurance cover; ensuring house keys and car keys are not in view or easy reach of windows or doors; having key-operated locks fitted to all windows; installing and using a visible burglar alarm; making sure the rear garden is secure; removing any ladders or tools from outside. Also, consider leaving lights and the radio on a timer when the house is vacant.

Police Scotland is dedicated to Keeping People Safe, and following the tips above and being aware of your surroundings at all times will help keep you, your family and your possessions safe.

• Russell Penman is a Chief Inspector with Police Scotland