How to Combat Wall & Ceiling Break-Ins
By Orlando Barry
Oct 10, 2014
Whilst you may consider it unlikely, according to the Crime Prevention website, thousands of burglaries take place every year where intruders have made their way into a property via a wall or loft hatch. In this post we discuss how these break-ins might occur, and what to do to secure your property against them.
Generally if a break-in through a wall is going to happen, then it will be in an older property that has been converted into separate residences using stud partition walls made from plasterboard. Due to the flimsy construction of such walls, it does not take much to break through them.
The issue arises when intruders are able to make their way into common areas, and then gain access through the walls. Apart from replacing the walls with something more solid, the solution here is to ensure common areas are kept well secure at all times. Landlords should ensure for the security of their tenants that entrance doors are secured with heavy duty locks installed by a qualified professional locksmith. Anti-slip latches are also a good idea as they will put a halt to anyone trying to gain access using a card. And of course the main entrance door should be of a suitable high standard with multi-point locking.
Make sure tenants never leave spare keys in any ‘secret’ places like under mats or in flower pots, and in the event of a security breach, ensure locks are changed without delay. At the end of a tenancy, ensure all keys are returned and accounted for as per your inventory and, if the keys are not of a duplication restricted type, consider changing the main entrance locks, as you can never be sure if copies have been made.
You may also wish to consider an access control system that utilises video so that callers can be identified before they are allowed into the building.
Loft Hatch Break-Ins
Again loft hatch break-ins are most common in older properties and in particular in low rise apartment blocks where there are loft hatches in common areas. Generally the loft area will either not have been compartmentalised, or if it has been, the partitions will have been designed to restrict the spread of fire rather than as a security measure. So if access can be gained into a common area and a loft hatch opened, an intruder could make his way along to an empty flat and enter through the ceiling.
Terraced housing of a certain age can also be susceptible to loft hatch break-ins, as much of it lacks partitions in the loft space between properties. An intruder accesses one loft and then through another, gets into a neighbouring property.
The obvious solution is to fit secure partitions that will prevent intruders gaining access through the ceiling, and that are also designed to limit the spread of fire or smoke. Boarding out the loft to prevent access through the ceiling is another good idea where possible. Failing this, loft hatches should be fitted with good quality padlocks on two sides. Bear in mind though that if there are water tanks or important pipework in the loft, then you will have to ensure access is not overly limited.
Security Advice for Landlords & Homeowners
If you own a property that has been divided into flats, or have an older terraced property with no segmentation of loft space, we would be more than happy to visit to advise you on a security solution that will work for your particular situation. Please feel free to get in touch or call in to speak to one of our security experts in our London showroom.