Residential burglary – How to Guard Against It

In 2019, there were an estimated 1,117,696 burglaries


Residential burglary avoidance measures as supplied by West Modlands Police

This advice can be found on West Midlands Police website.

A shortened advice to Residents can be seen here. (But if you have a little more time, please read the detail below, it could save you £000s and much grief.)

A residential burglary is when someone enters a building such as a house, garage, shed or summer house with the intent to steal something or commit a crime.

It also includes other premises used for residential purposes such as houseboats, residential care homes and hostels.

If the burglar has a weapon, such as a gun, knife or explosive, this is classified as an aggravated residential burglary.


Keeping your home safe

There are simple steps that you can take to make your home safer.  Burglars look for homes that appear to be empty or have easy access to the back of the building.

They can also choose homes where there are no visible signs of protection such as alarms or security lighting, and where trees and high bushes provide good cover. in addition, something as simple as locking doors and shutting windows in unoccupied rooms can make a big difference.

You can visit our virtual reality house to place yourself in the burglar’s mind-set and look at your home to see if there are areas where the security could be improved. 

Below are some tips that will help improve the security of your home.

Your doors

  • Front doors should have a viewer and door chain where possible.
  • Letter boxes should be positioned so that people cannot reach through and release the lock
  • Wooden back doors should ideally be fitted with a five lever mortice deadlock and two bolts
  • UPVC doors or doors with Euro Cylinders should have DHF TS007 3 Star or Sold Secure Diamond Standard Anti-Bump replacement cylinders fitted. Always consult a Master Locksmiths Association accredited locksmith if you are unsure. Badly fitted Euro Cylinders can compromise your security.
  • When fitting security products always remember to use strong bolts and long screws. Follow the manufacturers guidelines or consult a specialist using the guide from the Master Locksmiths Association
  • Laminated glass should be used in all glazed areas. Wooden beading should be glued and fixed securely. In the case of UPVC beading should be internal, externally beaded older UPVC windows can have the beading sealed into place

Your patio doors

  • Most modern patio doors will incorporate a multi-point locking system. On older units, or those without multi-point locking, you should fit approved patio door locks to the top and bottom of the sliding door. 
  • Also ensure that an “anti-lift” device is used. This will prevent the sliding door being levered off its runners.
  • Patio door Euro Cylinders should be DHF TS007 3 Star or have Sold Secure Diamond Standard Anti-Bump replacement cylinders fitted. Always consult a Master Locksmiths Association accredited locksmith if you are unsure. Badly fitted Euro Cylinders can compromise your security.

Your windows

  • All ground floor windows and those which open onto accessible areas such as balconies or roofs should be fitted with window locks, unless designated as a means of escape.

French Windows

  • These generally open outwards and have exposed hinges.  These doors are can be vulnerable to being levered open by screwdrivers or garden tools.
  • Security on timber and metal frame French windows can be improved by fitting mortise or surface-mounted security bolts on the inside top and bottom, together with hinge bolts and frame reinforcement.

Replacing your doors and windows

  • If you decide or need to replace your doors and windows, please look for products that are tested to the PAS 24 standard from 2012 onwards and carry the Secured by Design logo.

Lock snapping

We are aware that some people may try and snap your locks to gain entry into your home. This is not a new concept and has been around for some time. 

On most UPVC doors the type of locks fitted will be a Euro profile cylinder, these are the types of locks which can be snapped. There are locks on the market which can combat this method of entry and branded as Anti-Snap locks, they will be tested to meet a certain standard.

If you are changing locks make sure the lock is tested to TS007 and achieve 3 Star standard. There are two ways to attain the TS007 3 Star standard:

  • Replace your existing cylinder with a TS007 3 Star Kitemarked cylinder.
  • The cylinder will clearly show the 3 Star Kitemark logo. It gives the highest level of security available with several layers of protection built in. You don’t need to replace your existing handles.
  • Or replace your existing cylinder with a TS007 1 Star Kitemarked cylinder, and replace your door handles with TS007 2 Star Kitemarked handles. By combining a 1 Star Cylinder with 2 Star handles, you get the same 3 star rating.

For further information on home security visit Secured by Design or the Master Locksmiths Association.


  • Vulnerable areas include French windows and glazed external doors, as well as windows next to any door.  For those windows you should fit laminated safety glass. Please beware of toughened safety glass. It shatters into thousands of small pieces with no sharp edges, leaving a gaping hole to climb or reach through. Toughened safety glass can be regarded as ‘burglar friendly’. Do not confuse it with laminated safety glass. If you are in any doubt, check with a glazing professional.
  • In double glazed units, laminated glass on both the inner and outer surfaces will offer the ultimate protection. However, one pane of laminated glass should be enough to prevent entry. It is generally recommended that the laminated pane is fitted on the inside surface, thereby offering protection from the burglar and reduced risk of accidental injury to the occupants.

Going on holiday

No one wants to return from holiday to find out your home has been broken into.  Before going away next think about the following safety advice:

  • Lock all doors and windows
  • Lock your garage and secure tools
  • Cancel the milk and papers
  • Get a friend or neighbour to collect your post, draw your curtains and make your home look lived in
  • Property mark your valuables
  • Cut the lawns
  • Set timer switches on lights and a radio
  • Avoid displaying your name and address on your luggage. Put your address inside the case to help identification if the luggage is lost
  • Hide financial documents and keys. If possible please use a safe.
  • Don’t mention on social media or your answering machine that you will be away from home for a few days

Keeping your jewellery safe at home

  • If you have jewellery please consider keeping items in a safety deposit box.  Your bank or insurance company will be able to provide suitable advice.
  • If you prefer to keep your jewellery at home, please purchase a suitable safe that is installed to manufacturer’s instructions.  Your insurance company will provide advice on which type and grade of safe best suits your needs.  They will also advise whether your home insurance provides sufficient cover for high-value jewellery.
  • It is important that you keep an inventory of your jewellery.  This can be done in a paper version or online at Immobilise. Include identifying marks, images, value and the purchase date.

Sheds, garages and greenhouses

Gone are the days when a garden shed or garage were full of items such as half-empty paint tins and plant pots. They are now home to expensive electrical items, top of the range bikes and a whole host of other items on the wish list of opportunist criminals.

It is important that you see your shed or garage as an extension to your house and afford it the same levels of crime prevention.

  • Put away all tools and equipment. Ensure sheds are locked when not in use using solid and secure locks.
  • Install outside security lighting which comes on automatically at dusk
  • If you have a burglar alarm, consult with your installer to see if you can extend it to cover outbuildings, garage and sheds 
  • Register your valuables for free on Immobilise, the national property database

If you would like to read all of our crime prevention advice in one place, we recommend downloading our crime prevention handbook


  • You can visit our virtual reality house to get home security tips.
  • Secured by Design is a group of national police projects that focus on trying to ‘design out crime’ reducing the risk of crimes taking place at any given location.
  • If you want to read more advice about how to prevent yourself being a victim of burglary, visit the national police website.
  • There are lots of Neighbourhood Watch schemes set up in the West Midlands, which aim to bring the people of the area together to make communities safer. To learn more, and to find your local scheme, visit their website.
  • Victim Support is an independent charity that help people affected by crime and traumatic events. They are not part of the police or any other criminal justice agency. Visit their website to see how they can help you, or call 0808 168 9111.


Other incidents related to the information on this page:Business and community burglaryDistraction burglary

Article Created by Geoff Caine

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