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You may find this relevant home security information helpful

If you live in a flat

Doors on individual flats are often not as strong as those on houses and can be the easiest way for a thief to break in.

Doors to flats over a floor level of 4.5 metres (normally those on the second floor or higher) should have locking mechanisms fitted in line with BS5588 Part 1:1990 'Fire Precautions in the Design and Construction and Use of Buildings'.

Shared entrances

Consider having a phone-entry system fitted to the main door to your building. Never 'buzz' open the door for strangers or hold the door open for someone who is arriving just as you are leaving or entering the building.

Distraction Burglary

Some burglars try to trick their way in. They may say they are from the water, gas or electric company or the local council. Or, they may ask for a glass of water, or to wash their hands or claim to have lost a pet. In fact, they'll use any story they can to get in. They can be young (even children) or old, male or female, and might work alone or in teams. They often target the elderly.

Remember - Keep your doors and windows locked, even when you're at home

Are you expecting anyone, do they have an appointment? Make sure the back door is locked - some thieves work in pairs with the other one sneaking in the back while you're at the front door.

Put the door bar or chain on before you open the door

Check their identity carefully. Ask for an ID card. Close the door and check using a phone number from the phone book or a relevant bill, not the one on the card.

If in doubt, keep them out, particularly if you're on your own. Ask them to make an appointment or come back later when someone else is around. Genuine callers won't mind. If you are suspicious, report the incident to the police. You may help prevent them from burgling someone else.

Outside lighting - Good lighting can put off or draw attention to a thief

The most appropriate form of lighting to use is high-efficiency low-energy lighting, controlled by a dusk-to-dawn switch so that it comes on only when it's dark. This provides a constant and uniform level of light. It costs very little to run and helps to create a more reassuring environment.

Lights that come on if they sense movement can be annoying to neighbours and dangerous to passing traffic. If you have these, make sure they are directed downwards.

Fit lights out of easy reach - at a height of at least 2.5 metres (eight feet).

Make it look like you are at home when you are out

Remember, most burglaries happen when a house or flat is empty. They are also more likely to happen during the evening or at night.

Don't leave curtains closed during the daytime

Use time switches to turn on lights, radios and other appliances when you're out. You can buy these from DIY shops. But don't use them if they will show a burglar that you're out, for example, in ground floor rooms where the curtains have been left open. Keep all valuable items out of sight.

Glass panels on or around doors are especially vulnerable, so replace them with laminated glass. Or, you can buy special film to stick to the inside that will do the same thing.

Make sure the doors and frames are strong and in good condition. Wooden doors should be solid and at least 44mm (1 3 /4") thick.

Fit five-lever mortise deadlocks (Kitemarked BS3621) to all outside doors, including French doors. And make sure you use them.

You can make wooden doors stronger by fitting a steel strip and plates to the door frame and around the lock.