When we leave our homes the last thing we do is shut and lock the front door; it’s also the way we get back into the house when we return, so we can be forgiven for thinking that the security of our doors is the most important part of keeping our homes safe. It is certainly a very important aspect – a sturdy, well-made door with good quality locks acts as a physical and visual deterrent for burglars as it shows you take home security seriously. Our windows, however, can sometimes let us down even when they’re locked.
Net curtains aren’t to everyone’s taste but they serve an important purpose – people can’t see in during the day because the nets obscure the window just enough to retain your privacy but still let the light in. It’s worth checking out modern styles as trends have moved on a long way from the fussy, lacy styles that first come to mind. Window films can give the same effect and are ideal for bathroom windows without frosted glass, and to add privacy to ground floor rooms. These are easy to fit and come in a range of styles to suit every interior.
There are shatterproof window films available which make it almost impossible for someone to break the window, even with double glazing. Single glazed windows are a security risk, so these protective window films are a must-have for older homes which are listed and therefore can’t be double glazed, or for shed and garage windows. They’re also great for anyone with kids who play ball games as they’ll stop broken windows as a result of errant cricket balls.
Blinds are another alternative to net curtains or window films as they provide privacy but also deter burglars, as there’s no way of getting through a pulled down venetian blind without making a lot of noise. Anything that attracts attention or slows the burglar down is a good idea for homeowners and a big red flag for burglars.
Shrubs planted around windows can look nice from the outside but they provide the perfect cover for burglars to wait and scope out what you have that’s worth stealing and how to get inside. As night falls shrubs cast shadows that easily hide a person, while lights on inside mean that even through net curtains or window films the interior of your home can be seen. Keep planting around windows low and small, or very prickly so that hiding in them is not an option.
Think carefully about furniture placement – soft furnishings directly under windows provides a nice safe landing for a burglar entering through a window, so don’t inadvertently make it easy for them by having a table or sofa right under the window. Instead, keep the areas under windows clear (usually this is where your radiators are so it’s not much of a compromise) or use plants like cacti and other spiky houseplants to deter burglars. Inexpensive glassware on a windowsill, or anything that is easily knocked and will make a sound when it falls or breaks, will deter a burglar from using that route into your home.
You should always lock your windows when the home is empty – most double glazed windows have a locked ajar mode, which is great for maintaining airflow around your home without compromising security when you’re in. When you’re not at home you should fully close and lock these windows, as thieves will exploit the vulnerability of the lock mechanism when left in the locked open position.
Next time you’re cleaning your windows, take a look at what is around the window, both inside and out, and how secure the windows themselves are.