Stop burglary at the door

Kevin Kiernan, national sales manager at Bowater by Birtley, discusses the heavier and stronger 68mm double rebated composite door, which can help protect homes from burglary.

Research from Co-operative Insurance revealed that 44% of thieves admitted that they are opportunistic and avoided tricky break-ins. It was also revealed that a strong heavy door was the third most effective deterrent for thieves with CCTV and the sound of a barking dog ranking first and second.

Official police figures released in October 2018 from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also revealed that the number of burglary offences recorded by the police increased by 2% in the year ending June 2018 to 432,267. Furthermore, a study carried out by Churchill Home Insurance analysing claims across the UK found that there were 9,765 burglary claims made in November 2017 following the clocks going back. That equates to 325 break-ins each day, or approximately one every four minutes.

Analysis revealed a direct correlation between the number of burglaries and hours of daylight, showing that as the hours of light contract the number of burglaries increase. Two-thirds of break-in entries are through the front or back door, or a ground floor window, and thieves will target properties with low physical security.

As such, police forces throughout the UK are urging homeowners to be extra vigilant during winter, when incidences of burglaries often increase due to intruders taking advantage of the longer hours of darkness.

Installers should therefore be encouraging homeowners to check their external doors to ensure they are robust enough to act as an impenetrable barrier and a deterrent to even the most persistent of intruders. One of the easiest ways to be certain that the door will be capable of standing up to burglars is to make sure it is Secured by Design (SBD) accredited. This is given to all police approved doors that meet the national standard for safer homes and are effective in preventing or reducing the risk of crime – usually by resistance of physical attack.

Taking into consideration that the front door in particular is a major focal point of any home, it will also need to retain its aesthetic appeal, while featuring upgraded security measures. Although we offer Secured by Design doors in both 44mm and 68mm thicknesses, we have seen a notable increase in enquiries for our 68mm double rebated composite doors. As well as creating a tough, impact resistant barrier to would-be intruders – just like a 44mm SBD version – our 68mm double rebated SBD door is heavier and more robust simply because it is thicker.

External doors on a new build residential property must adhere to Part Q of the Building Regulations, which offers practical guidance on how to meet security requirements. Part of the regulation states that any external door must also comply with PAS24, the preferred specification for enhanced security performance requirements for doors and windows in the UK. It sets out the minimum requirements and acceptable test criteria for products to resist attack from opportunistic crime.

As part of the PAS 24:2016 standard, there is a specific reference that an external door is fitted with a letter plate that meets TS008:2015 standard. To fully comply, our Secured by Design composite doorsets are fitted with the Trojan Unicorn TS008 letter plate, which is manufactured from 304 grade stainless steel for ultimate corrosion resistance.

The standard requires that doors must have suitable provision against forced entry, which means they should, among other security features, hinder anyone attempting to remove keys by ‘fishing’ with sticks or reaching inside the property. The letter plate is specifically engineered to prevent access to the door handle or cylinder by an intruder reaching through it and manipulating the lock.

When interviewing real burglars about which home security measures worked and the common mistakes people make, Co-operative Insurance found that mail sticking out from the letter box was a tell-tale sign that no one is at home. Therefore, in addition to ‘fishing’, the Trojan letter plate meets the requirement that it must maintain clear access for postal items to avoid them getting caught in the flap.

Opting for a SBD door not only offers reassurance that homeowners are getting a higher level of protection, but the accreditation is also recognised by many insurance companies, so owners may also get a discount on their home insurance.

With advances in design and overall aesthetics, assured higher levels of security, ease of installation and better thermal and acoustic performance, it is little surprise that more homeowners are upgrading to 68mm double rebated Secured by Design composite doors.