New Blowtorch Burglary Technique - How to Protect Your Home

Police in the north of England have been alerted to a relatively new burglary technique which has seen a spate of break-ins across the region. A number of homes have been broken into via blowtorch - where the locking mechanism is burned out of the front door altogether. The thieves then gain access to the home and make off with valuables, car keys and ultimately; your car. There’s worry that this technique will spread to other areas of the UK, in line with previous burglary ‘trends’.

Now that anti-snap locking mechanisms have become the norm, thieves are looking at more inventive ways to gain entry and make off with what they can find. This method is particularly concerning; with the blowtorch concentrating such high temperatures onto a small area, the lock can be burned out of a uPVC door in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a 100% blowtorch-proof uPVC front door – so what can you do to protect your home and your family against these kinds of attacks?

blowtorch burglary using blowtorch to steal car

Make your property unappealing to thieves

Protecting your property successfully means employing a mix of techniques to deter burglars – some that you can see and some that you cannot. When it comes to making your home look unappealing to a thief’s eye, visibility is key. Below are some of the best deterrents. For more help and advice on home security, or to request a quote on a new home security system, please fill in the contact form below.

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  • Find a balance between visibility and privacy – do not surround your home with tall hedges and fencing, as this can help to obscure thieves in the act. You want your neighbours to be able to raise the alarm.
  • Install a home alarm and ensure the box is visible on the outside of your home. Dummy boxes can also be used if you have yet to install an alarm.
  • Outdoor security lighting that is triggered by movement and gravel or pebble paths will make burglar’s think twice about coming to the door in the first place.
  • Make sure your garden is enclosed and that your back door is just as well secured as the front.

Employ smart technology

Smart home security is now more accessible than ever before, and is really easy to install and use. By using smart security products, you can monitor your home’s security and see who is coming and going remotely via your smartphone. You’ll also receive notifications when anything is detected. There are a number of smart security features available, allowing you to tailor the right combination for your needs, including;

  • Smart doorbells with incorporated camera and audio communication.
  • Smart security cameras with or without two-way communication.
  • Smart locks which do away with the need for cylinder key locks altogether – opened via PIN, key fob, or with your smartphone.
  • Smart lighting which can be controlled from anywhere in the world.
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The presence of smart home security can help prevent a burglary from happening in the first place and acts as a great deterrent. However, if you still fall victim to burglary, it’s also one of the only measures you can take which will help to potentially find and prosecute the perpetrator. If you’ve got their faces and voices on camera, the chances of finding some closure is much higher.

car cover to hide expensive car

Use a car cover and secure your vehicle

This type of burglary seems to be targeted at homes with ‘nice’ cars in the driveway, and it’s really more about getting the car than getting at valuables such as your TV. While you should still drive whatever model of car you want, it’s also wise to be aware of how it looks on the driveway or the roadside. Using a car cover at night will stop thieves from being able to see exactly what you’ve got, and poses a delay for them if they want a quick getaway.

If you don’t want to cover up your vehicle, then installing a bright and visible steering lock, wheel lock or similar will definitely make them think twice.

Make sure your locks conform to modern guidelines

Thieves using this blowtorch burglary method tend to target uPVC doors with locking mechanisms over 5 years old. Even if you have a relatively new front or back door, it’s important to check that the lock conforms to current guidelines. It should be Kitemarked – if it is not, then you should look to get it replaced as soon as possible.

If you know who installed your doors, ask for confirmation that your cylinder locks conform to either TS 007 or SS312 standards. If they do not, then a blowtorch may well melt your current locking mechanism with ease. If your locks conform to standards and are Kitemarked, then there is evidence to suggest they would withstand a blowtorch attack.

If you're unsure of the quality of your locks or if you're looking to make an upgrade to your home security, contact Evander today.

ultion British standard lock against blowtorch

Fit additional locks

It may be relatively quick and easy to burn an older lock out of an uPVC door, but if that’s not the only lock then the burglar will have a much harder time of getting inside. Additional locks which cannot be seen from the outside will ensure the door cannot be opened without further effort, noise, and time – all things that burglars try to avoid as much as possible.

Sash locks for windows are very effective and can also be used on doors. These are simple mechanisms which flip over to block the window or door from opening. Door chains can also provide a layer of preventative security. These types of lock are not as strong or secure as your main cylinder of course, but any delay increases the chance of the burglar(s) giving up and running away.

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Protect yourself from potential harm

While it’s very unlikely that you’ll fall victim to this kind of burglary, it’s also wise to remember that it is always a possibility – particularly if you have a uPVC door which could do with an upgrade. In the rare event that this does happen to you, it’s very important to ensure everyone stays safe.

While it may seem counter-productive, it’s always best to leave your car keys somewhere obvious so that the thieves do not go looking for them. A recent victim of a blowtorch burglary said;

“We were advised by police that if burglars break in, they’ll come and wake you up for car keys and they might hurt you. So every night, we leave the keys on the stairs so they don’t come and threaten us.”

If it’s going to happen; it’s better to mitigate the risk to you and your loved ones by allowing the thieves to remove themselves as quickly as possible. It’s best to leave your car keys in a spot which is obscured from vision from the outside, but obvious once you’re inside.

If you’d like to speak to us about smart home security, additional locks or upgrading your current front door, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0345 145 0130 or use our online contact form.

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