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National Home Security Month – Your Security Questions Answered

Our Facebook Q&A all in one place

As part of National Home Security Month we’ve been answering your home security questions throughout October. These questions are a combination of those posed by customers and the common questions we get asked a lot in our day to day activities.

All these questions and answers have been answered on our Facebook page and are provided here for your information:

Is there any way to make a garden safer than just a standard padlock?

A padlock would only allow you to lock a gate from one side whereas something like a key lock, or even a keypad operated lock, would allow you to lock from both sides, whether you were in or out. Locks can be fitted to out-buildings or garages to protect their contents, or even connected up to your burglar alarm. We’d also recommend some motion-triggered security lighting. Other measures could be to keep hedges trimmed (so they don’t conceal any would-be intruder) or a gravel path that would make a noise underfoot. Try not to leave items accessible that can be used to break into the house such as tools, ladders and garden furniture.

Why does my alarm go off when we have a power cut?

There could be a number of reasons but the most likely reason is that the battery is dead. This means that when the power supply is cut, there is no back up in place. If this is the case you need to have it replaced by an alarm engineer (and a service is probably a good idea).

Can smart home security cameras work with overseas cell phones?

Yes they can. Most systems have remote access capability so you should be able to log in via the internet and view on a smartphone, tablet or computer. One thing to be wary of though is if you were accessing over 3G or 4G rather than WiFi this could potentially lead to excessive data charges from your provider, depending on your allowances.

What security measures will help to reduce home insurance premiums?

Insurers will take a number of security measures into account when calculating your premium. A burglar alarm is the main one. It will need to be professionally maintained to count and you may need to agree that it is always set when the house is unoccupied. Your door and window locks will also make a difference. Anti-snap euro cylinders are generally considered the best and they may take a safe into account if it has a recognised security rating. For further information see our blog.

Do burglar alarms really deter burglars?

The evidence suggests that 9 out of 10 burglars would choose a home without a security system over one with one. They would always weigh up the risk of any break-in and would prefer to tackle a home that did not carry the risk of an audible alarm. See this article for further information.

How often should you service a burglar alarm?

We recommend that an alarm should be serviced annually. This ensures that the system continues to perform properly and that batteries can be checked, which is particularly important for wireless alarms. If you have declared that you have an alarm on your home insurance then it would need to be maintained professionally for it to be valid.

What is the best kind of lock for a front door?

The best kind of front door lock is a break-secure euro-cylinder lock. Rated as TS007 3-star and SS312 Sold Secure Diamond accredited locks, they offer the best protection against lock snapping.

What is a monitored alarm?

A monitored alarm is a burglar alarm that is connected to an alarm monitoring centre. If the alarm is triggered the ARC will respond in a manner appropriate to the type of monitoring you have. This can range from letting you know to informing the police or a guard response. If you have Redcare, a signal will be continuously sent down the line and pick up on any breaks to the phone line which could indicate foul play. See here for further details.

What is the most common type of burglary?

62% of burglaries happen at night under cover of darkness so security lighting, setting your alarm downstairs when you go to bed and making sure you lock up are all advisable. 30% of burglaries are ‘insecure’ burglaries where doors or windows have been left unlocked. These are often opportunistic and usually target the most vulnerable. See our blog for more details.

I have a cat. Will it set off the burglar alarm when I go out?

It may do if you have standard PIR sensors (the units in each room that detect movement). However, you can have pet sensors fitted that are specifically designed for homes with animals. These recognise a smaller mass and therefore don’t activate the alarm.

I’ve already been burgled previously. How likely is it to happen again?

Statistically speaking, 1 in 11 houses burgled will be burgled again within a 6 year period. For further details about this research see our recent blog.

Can I alarm my garage or out buildings?

Yes, we can usually add additional sensors and door contacts to out buildings and garages on your home alarm system or can even install an independent system, separate to your home alarm. For more information on securing out-buildings see our recent blog.

Which is better; wired or wireless alarm systems?

Each type of alarm has its own advantages so it depends on what you want. For example, a wireless alarm causes less disruption, is more flexible and is cheaper to install. A wired system is cheaper to maintain. For a full run down of all the advantages of each system see our blog.

Can I add sensors on to an existing alarm system?

Yes, this is usually possible, depending on the type of system that you have.  A wireless alarm tends to be particularly flexible although it is usually possible to add to a wired system.

Does an alarm installation cause a lot of disruption? Will I need to redecorate?

It depends on what type of alarm you want. A wired alarm will certainly be more disruptive than a wireless one as we would need to run cables into the walls or floor. A wireless alarm is much less disruptive and wouldn’t generally cause any cosmetic damage to décor.

Do you feel that a Patlock is useful on patio (or French) doors? Mentioned on a BBC programme, they look good but would you also recommend alongside a full house alarm system?

Something like a Patlock can be useful as a visual deterrent, however remember that the glass could still potentially be smashed and allow the burglar to gain entry without having to get through the lock. A burglar alarm would of course detect this or any other kind of entry as long as it was set so provides much better security than the lock alone.

Can I change the code on my burglar alarm?

Yes, if you are one of our customers we can usually talk you through the process over the phone.

Are there any restrictions on where I can position my CCTV cameras on my property?

As you would imagine with this kind of system, there are restrictions on how you use it because of privacy laws. Cameras must be positioned on your own property and must only monitor your own property. Some systems may require planning permission but we can advise on this. You should also display some notices stating that a CCTV system is in operation. See here for more information.

Can I be notified if my alarm if my alarm goes off when I’m away?

If your system has a speech dialler then it can be set up to call or text your phone to let you know that the alarm has been triggered. If you have a monitoring contract, the alarm receiving centre would be notified and they, depending on the type of contract you have, could notify your nominated contact(s), the police or even a guard response.

We hope that you have taken some value from these questions and maybe changed the way you do something or thought about something? We are, of course, happy to answer your questions at any time so please feel free to keep asking them!