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Mortice Rack Bolt

Telephone And Rear Entrance Security

Telephone wires

With the smash-in described in our earlier blog post, the telephone could be vital. However, it is soon neutralised by cutting the wires, which is frequently done. If the wires enter from outside, as most do, some consideration should be given to protecting them. Just how this is done will depend on the way the cable is rundown the wall from its anchoring point on the eaves, and the type of wall surface. For flat surfaces, it could be easily covered by galvanised metal capping such as used for mains cables, fixed to the wall.

Rough stone surfaces, being uneven, would be more difficult. Alternatively, if the down drop was over a front garden, it could be hidden by a bush, preferably a rose which would present a thorny problem to any would-be tamperers!

 Rear entrances

As we have seen, many owners make the mistake of fortifying the front of the premises to a high state of impenetrability but have only the most rudimentary protection at the rear. This is in spite of the fact that a break-in at the back of the premises is far more likely. Burglars are well aware of this quirk, which suits them well because they much prefer to enter at the rear. It is usually less public than the front, so they stand far less chance of being observed.

Rear doors should be of substantial construction and fitted with deadlocks plus lockable bolts top and bottom. These should be secured at all times, even when the premises are occupied, unless access is needed for loading or other essential purposes.

To prevent use as an exit route and for removal of bulky items, the rear doors should be secured so that it cannot be opened from the inside without a key. Often, simple draw bolts are fitted and the keys left in the locks in the belief that their only function is to keep burglars out.

The lockable bolts mentioned are commonly known as rack bolts, and the can be either mortice or surface fitting. A common key fits any bolt of the same type and so enables a number of rack bolts to be used without the inconvenience of needing a key for each. This means that they are not by themselves high security devices, and should always be used in conjunction with a deadlock. However, the intruder would only encounter them when he’s inside and it’s unlikely that he would have a suitable key with him. The greater the number of devices securing a door the stronger it is, and the harder and more trouble it is to break open.

Mortice rack bolts require only a small hole in the wood to receive them, so there is little weakening of the door. A version designed for windows is shorter than the door type so that it can be accommodated in a narrow window frame. A second smaller hole intersecting the first at right angles is required for the key.

Surface rack bolts are fitted when it is not possible to use a mortice bolt. All the screws are concealed once the device is fitted, and it has the advantage that it can be bolted manually without a key, although of course the key is necessary to draw it.

Most doors swing inwards, but any exterior door opening outwards is vulnerable to attack to the hinges, as the hinge pin is exposed on the opening side. It is not too difficult to remove the pin, whereupon the door can be simply lifted away. Fire doors and those fitted to some outbuildings are usually outward opening, so that these constitute a major security hazard.

The solution is quite simple, and takes the form of what are known as hinge or dog bolts. These consist of a recess plate and engaging lug which are fitted to the frame and door, respectively, on the hinge side. A set should be fitted to both the top and the bottom of the door. When the door is closed, the log engages with the recess, so that the door cannot be lifted out if the hinge pin is removed. Even with inward opening doors, door bolts can be fitted to reinforce the hinges against a forced entry, especially if there are some doubts as to the strength of the hinges. The beauty of them is that once fitted the need no further attention, and as they engage automatically they do not create inconvenience in use.

Installing Security Lighting

Installing security lights is quite straightforward so long as they are on the house wall since they can be wired up as an extension of your existing indoor circuits. Lights on the ground must have their own circuit.

You could simply switch them on at dusk and off at dawn (if you turn them off at bedtime, you lose the deterrent effect), or fit a photoelectric switch which will do the same thing automatically. But a better and less expensive solution is to have the lights controlled by a movement detector which switches them on when it detects an intruder within its field of view. The sudden burst of light will be an unexpected surprise that will quickly have him scurrying for cover. A built-in timer then turns the light off again after a preset time, avoiding any unnecessary waste of electricity. Most models have a light-sensitive switch so they can be operated only at night.

Planning Outside Lighting

You need to light up all possible approach routes to your house. Remember that outside lighting has other benefits apart from the caring burglars; you do not have to approach your front door in the dark, and it shows that we are visitors too. You will be able to see your way to the dustbin, the garage of the garden shed, and even enjoy the garden after dark.

Start at the front door. You need a low-level fitting here so you can see to unlock the door and to identify callers. Depending on the size of your front garden and the degree of illumination this light provides, you may also need a high-level light to illuminate the whole front garden, not just the vicinity of the door itself. Check that this will not dazzle drivers.

At the back of the house, you need a high-level light to deter anyone entering the property from that direction. You may also want less bright low-level lights for illuminating the patio.

If there is access down either side of your house, it pays to have lights there too, but check that the lights will not bother your neighbours. A light on the corner of the house may be able to cast its light along two walls.

Lights to illuminate a long drive or front path must have their own circuit unless they are the low-voltage type; the latter is in any case not really bright enough to use as security lighting.

Use a garage inspection lamp with a long lead to work out the ideal position for the various fittings, aiming to create overlapping pools of light that eliminate any areas of shadow where a burglar could approach the house unseen.

Choosing The Fittings

A wide range of styles is available. Choose decorative types of lighting for up front doors and patios in low-level positions where the fitting will be a feature of the building and more functional types installed at a high level for deterring burglars. The fittings available fall into three main groups:
those taking a standard tungsten lamp (or a compact fluorescent lamp; these are ideal for outdoor use because of the long life)
those taking sealed spotlights, and
those with a halogen tube (far too powerful for most properties unless there are extensive grounds)

Choosing The Controls

You can control your outside lighting with manual or photoelectric switches, but movement detectors (PIR or passive infra-red detectors) are much more practical. You can buy fittings in a range of styles that incorporate their own detector, or fit a separate sensor that controls one or more lights – generally, a cheaper option, especially when you’re ready have the lights and simply want to bring them under PIR control.

When buying such detectors, either separately or combined with a light fitting, check the field of view and detection range so you can select one that suits your property. Other features to look for include the option of manual override by a separate switch, a variable lamp-on time and ease of changing the lamp.

With most movement detectors, it is possible for a burglar to sidle up to the detector and mask it without triggering the lights if you can reach the unit. He may also be able to reach and sever any surface mounted cables. You should, therefore, aim to site it at least 2.4 m above the ground.

Fitting The Lights

First, work out which indoor circuit you will extend to provide power for the new fittings. Check what wattage your lighting circuits are currently supplying. If they are close to the limit of 1150Watts per circuit, you should not extend them, especially if you’re running powerful floodlights. The alternative is to wire up a fused spur from one of your circuit power sockets. If you have a separate upstairs circuit, use that; it will be less heavily loaded than the downstairs circuit, and the wiring is at a more convenient level for supplying light fittings installed at eaves level.

Take cable to each fitting through a hole drilled in the house wall, ideally immediately behind the light position so the cable will be completely concealed. Make the connections, mount the fitting on the wall and waterproof around its base plate with silicone mastic.

If you are using a movement detector, adjust the unit to give the optimum coverage. Check that it will not be activated by pedestrians or cars passing your property.

Contact IFireUK Ltd on 0330 121 1234



Think About Home Security

Like it or not, your home stands a very real chance of being burgled this year, next year – and for the foreseeable future. It is therefore up to you to tip the odds against the burglar. You can do this by making your property as secure as it is compatible with a realistic lifestyle – no one should have to live in a fortress – and be thinking about security all the time. One lapse is all the burglar needs.

80% of burglaries happen when the house is empty. In many cases carelessness on the part of the householder is largely to blame; you may only have gone next door for a few minutes and left the door ajar, or popped out to the shops without locking the garage, but that is all the opportunity a burglar needs. And if you advertise the fact that that the house is empty in the evening or when you go on holiday, you will give him all the time in the world. You need to think security and be on your guard at all times.


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