In order to keep the character of a building or an area, home-owners are restricted in what they can do to their own property. The advantage of this is that it stops reckless owners destroying the period character. Home-owners are but temporary guardians of a building with a history longer than their own, and restrictions prevent them from making alterations which create permanent effects. This is good for the wider community, but can be a problem for the resident who has to live with the issues which could have been prevented were it not for the restrictions.
One of those issues is home security. Crime against property has been falling steadily since the mid 1990s but there are still more than 500,000 domestic burglaries in the UK every year, and it’s always wise to be vigilant.
The use of modern security technology on period properties may be restricted by listed building or conservation area regulations, but there are things you can do. We thought we could helpfully share experience and security tips on how to keep your period property that little bit safer.
What can you do to your windows to make them more secure?
Any point of entry is vulnerable to abuse by intruders. Period properties will have older windows such as wooden-frame sash rather than the lockable, double-glazed UPVC windows of more modern houses. First of all you should investigate specialist sash-window locks which you could use, subject to restrictions. Your local council’s conservation officer should be able to tell you which are acceptable for use in your home.
For extra security, you can also fit collapsible grilles on the inside of your windows. While these detract from the period look, they fold away when not needed. These can offer additional security when you’re away from your home for a longer period of time, such as when you’re on holiday.
If you have iron period window frames, such as those made by notable period window manufacturer Crittal Windows, specialist locks are advisable which lock the window in place so it cannot be popped out. These style of windows are often found in Art Deco and Modernist buildings from the early 20th century.
How can you improve the security of doors?
Doors are an important feature of any period house but again, are vulnerable to attack. Some period doors, such as the iron-framed ones can be wafer thin. Where you have wooden doors, you should consider turning them around so they open outwards instead of inwards. You may not be able to do this on your front door, but ask about the possibility of doing this on back doors. Outward-opening doors are a lot harder to ‘kick in’. You may not be able to change your door style but this relatively simple alteration will help.
A rising crime is letterbox theft, where a thief uses a rod or pole to grab items through your letterbox, such as car keys, or house keys. While it’s always best to store essential items out of sight, period letterboxes are inherently less secure than modern versions. Consider fitting a letterbox cage to the inside of your door.
Alarms are often a requirement of home insurance and as a result, you can’t compromise on this feature. You can however, buy alarm bell boxes which are not so visually-intrusive, such as in darker colours like brown wood effect, or black.
If you want to install a CCTV system, again this is possible but you might want to hide the cameras so that they don’t affect your home’s period style.
Among our top security tips for deterring would-be burglars, lighting is always great idea for your period property. Burglars like to operate in the dark so any light you can shed on dark areas of your property will help. Search for a specialist security light in a period style, or adapt a period outdoor light with a standard movement sensor. A good electrician should be able to create a movement-sensitive light out of a period light fitting and an off-the-shelf sensor.
Don’t leave your period home security to chance. Get advice and be reassured that your treasured home is as safe as it can be.