Christmas is a very special time for many of us looking forward to spending the festivities with our loved ones and showering them with gifts & presents. However it can also be a very vulnerable time of year for many peoples homes who’s security is simply just not up to keeping out thieves & burglars looking to take advantage and steal that hoard of gifts you’ll be stockpiling up to give away or may have received as gifts yourselves this Christmas.
The thieves & burglars looking to take advantage of poor home security know you’ve been Christmas shopping. They know there are likely more items for them to take away from you, and if they know they can get in, they inevitably will.
We recently contacted Cleveland Police and asked them to provide information relating to burglaries in our region, and the findings are absolute staggering.
In the last five years, over the Christmas period’s (November through to January) of 2011 through to 2015, there has been an astonishing 2709 burglaries. Two-Thousand, Seven-Hundred and Nine! And a considerable number of those crimes entry point was the front or rear entrance door by means such as lock-snapping.
What is lock-snapping and how can it be avoided?
When criminals use the method of lock-snapping to gain entry to a home they have probably already identified that the property selected as a target is using basic or cheap cylinder locks in the entry doors. They then gain entry by means of putting that weak or basic lock under tension and the lock simply snaps in half, making it very easy to remove the lock completely and giving immediate access to the burglar.
The first thing you should do is make sure that if your doors use cylinder locks that they do not stick-out too far from the face of the handle-plate. The locks face should either be completely flush with the handle-plate or sticking out no more than a few millimeters. This ensures there’s very little for the burglar to latch on to, and if the burglar can’t latch on to the lock they can not inflict the tension they need to snap it.
The first image below is an old, insecure cylinder lock sticking out enough to be snapped clean in half. The second image is a lock which is a secure 3-star security lock with very little exposed cylinder surface:
If your own cylinder lock is sticking out too far like the first image above, then it needs changing immediately.
You can also ensure that you door is more secure by making sure that you have good quality handles installed that can not be easily prized away from the doors surface, which could give any motivated criminal the opportunity to expose the once-flush cylinder lock in order to snap it, as can be seen here in the first image below; the second image below is a cylinder lock that has been snapped in half:
Other options for safe-guarding against this common break-in method is to have anti-snap locks installed into your doors. Anti-snap locks are designed with sacrificial snapping points that snap on purpose but in the wrong place, so if a burglar attempts to use this method the lock will snap without snapping in half; leaving the lock intact still inside the door and leaving the burglar left completely locked out with no way of removing the lock:
Cylinder locks don’t just come in one variety, and actually have differing levels of security. As well as the anti-snap lock in the image above, they also come in scales of security rating marked with stars (with 3-star being the most secure, un-starred being the most basic) as well as options to protect against other illegal entry methods such as drilling and picking.
CCTV camera’s and alarm systems also provide further peace of mind, and can also act as an immediate visual deterrent for any would-be burglar potentially sizing up your property as a target this Christmas and also very much worth considering when looking to improve your property’s security.
For further free advice on making sure your home or property is secure give A2Key Locksmiths a call on 07795 474372. We have been helping keep people and their property’s safe and secure across Stockton-On-Tees, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Hartlepool, Darlington and beyond since 2007.