Choosing the right lock

Padlock on shed

Of all home security tips, one is more obvious than all the others – keep your doors locked. But obvious though it is, there are a surprising number of people who don’t make the effort to secure their doors properly.

If you have top and bottom bolts on your door, use them. Likewise put the chain across, and then turn the key. Every little helps, and using all the locks available on your door makes life much harder for the would-be burglar.

If you want to improve the security of your exterior doors, fitting new locks is a great place to start. To help you, a list of official members of the Master Locksmiths Association can be found at The MLA is recognised as the leading locksmith authority by the police and the home office. As well as being able to fit new locks, they will also be able to advise on the security options available to you.

Night latch locks

A night latch lock on its own is by no means enough to keep your house secure. It is far too easy for a burglar to force open, and such inadequate protection can compromise your existing insurance policies.

Rim locks

Rim locks are a more effective measure than the simple latch lock, but still aren’t secure enough on their own to guard your home against forced entry. A deadlock-style rim lock will lock automatically to the outside when the door closes. It can – and should - then be double locked with the key. However, professional thieves would be able to gain entry through tampering with the lock, which is fitted only on the face of the door rather than actually inside it.

If a burglar did break in through a back window, this kind of lock at least prevents them from making a simple exit through your door – which limits the amount the thief can take with them.

Mortice locks

Most commonly used on front and back doors as they are perhaps the most effective and secure of all the lock-types. Mortice locks are embedded into the door, instantly making them a more difficult proposition for burglars.

Police recommend five-lever mortice deadlocks, as once locked externally with a key, they become near-impossible to open from within. What’s more, they are extremely difficult for a burglar to pick from the outside. Mortice sash locks work in a similar way, but also include a latch, should you wish to close the door fully without locking.

Lock combinations

To make life difficult for thieves, it’s important to combine a variety of locks on your doors, and, of course, to use them all whenever you go out.

A popular combination for doors is a mortice deadlock, a rim lock higher up on the door and bolts at the very top and bottom of the door. When you’re in, the rim lock itself will keep the door locked, and when you go out or go to bed, the bolts and mortice lock provide extra security.