Cost Of Living: Home Security

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At this time of year, many of us leave our homes empty and at risk of a break-in. Basic security begins with ensuring that all external doors are solid – the best lock in the world is useless on a flimsy door – and are fitted with five-lever mortise locks. All windows should also be lockable.

An alarm system will provide peace of mind and act as a further deterrent; 90 per cent of convicted burglars say that they would avoid breaking into a house fitted with an alarm system. A wireless system, suitable for DIY installation, is the most economical option and can be fitted without disruption to your interior. This can include CCTV and video recording and it can be connected to your telephone system (although this set-up may not qualify for insurance premium discounts).

A top-of-the-range, fully monitored system, designed specifically for your own home and maintained under contract, can be fully installed for a few hundred pounds. The cost can often be offset by discounts in insurance premiums (check with your insurance company to see which makes they approve; a DIY system, however effective it may be, might not qualify).

Do not overlook the simple measures, though; ensure that your windows are not shrouded by large bushes or trees, and store away any ladders and garden tables. Remember, too, that friendly neighbours are a vital part of your home's defences.

What it costs: £600 for a fully monitored system, including panic button, four motion detectors, entrance protection and emergency response, installed in a three-bedroom house.

Shopping List:

Window locks, fitted, £40 per window

Five-lever mortise lock, fitted, £65

Motion sensor, £90

Visible CCTV camera, £150

Emergency services response monitoring, £22 per month

Maintenance contract, from £5 per month

Extras:

Single visible CCTV camera, £150

Two CCTV cameras and video recorder, £640

Dummy bell box, £20

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