Stay safe this autumn

Posted: 22 Oct, 2014.

This is the time of year when the leaves start to change colour and some of us have already been tempted to turn on the central heating. Although autumn can be beautiful there are some unexpected consequences of the shortening daylight hours!

Between August 2013 and July 2014 there were 401,495 burglaries in England and Wales.
burglary statistics
Burglary chart courtesy of:

October sees a dramatic upsurge in the number of burglaries probably due to the shortening daylight hours and the change from British Summer Time late in October. The prime time for burglaries is from September to January each year.

As most burglaries happen via the front or back door now is the perfect time to think about increasing security of your external doors.

Do you have the right door security?

The Metropolitan Police and the BBC’s Crimewatch programme give the following advice for the security of your front and back doors. Your front door should be of substantial construction; at least 44mm (13/4″) thick to support the mortice lock and hung on three strong 100mm (4″) hinges.

Letter Boxes

Letter boxes are an opening in your front door which may allow burglars access to the door lock, or your mail, or increasing they are being used to insert a rod to extract any car keys left nearby.

  • Install them no closer than 400 mm (or 15.74 inches) from the door lock
  • Never fit a letter box to the bottom rail of a door
  • Consider an internal cover plate or letter basket (with the bottom removed to prevent mail theft). A letter basket can also prevent access to the lock or nearby car keys One unintended consequence of the huge improvement in car security is a new method of car theft; theft of car keys usually via your front door. Because car immobilizers and alarms are now so good, thieves are only able to steal them if they can get hold of the keys.

So if you leave your house keys, together with your car keys close to your front door you may wake up to discover your car is missing and your house burgled. Remove the keys to a safe and hidden location – but make sure you can get hold of them quickly if you have to vacate the building in the case of an emergency. Thieves use a rod and hook to obtain your keys if they are too close to the door and in plain view.


  • Five lever mortice deadlock – check they are British Standard 3621 or European Standard EN12209. A rim latch (Yale type) on its own is not sufficient. The rim latch and the mortice should be fitted 45 to 60cm (18-24″) apart.

If in any doubt please consult a locksmith who is a member of the Master Locksmith Association.

Door frames

Quality locks are only as strong as the doors and frames to which they are attached. Timber frames should be sound and securely bolted or screwed to the walls every 600mm (23″) around the whole frame. Consider fitting a London Bar (metal strip on frame side) to support the strike box, or Birmingham bar to support the frame on the hinge side.

Extra Door Security

For added safety and security fit a spy hole and door chain or limiter. These will enable you to deal with callers to your front door whilst retaining a level of security.

Stay safe this autumn!

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