I've just about finished the computer workstation (qv several other
threads!) and unfortunately this now means the PC is visible from
outside, through a window at the front of the house. It's got me
thinking about improving security in general, but particularly of the
windows. Thing is, we have old steel framed, leaded-glass windows,
which although they look very attractive, wouldn't offer much
resistance to an opportunist thief. Currently we have "locks" on the
stays (as in Screwfix ref 16164) which aren't up to much obviously.
Anyone got any suggestions to make our neighbourhood tea-leaf go for a
house down the road instead? We do want to retain the look of the
windows, so whatever security measures we take must be sympathetic to
this. For maximum security we'd need to rip the old windows out, but
that's not going to happen.
I'm thinking... alternative locks (what would work best on these
windows?) Installing secondary dbl glazing - preferably not, but
would that help? are there 'secure'/lockable types? Fitting
one-way/reflective film to the windows to hide the PC from prying
eyes? We don't have an alarm, which is an obvious one, and I'm
thinking about that (a flashing PIR detector above the PC would be
good to have!)
I'm fortunate enough to live in a pretty low-crime area so I'm not
massively worried, but you have to feel it's only a matter of time
before my number comes up!
You could install a PIR as you suggested, but don't bother adding a flashing
PIR's shouldn't be installed facing a window in a real install, so mounting
it in clear view of the window may not be desirable if the prospective thief
knows about alarms...maybe they would just think "hmm, bet that false a
Fake CCTV cameras always seem to come with a flashing red light, I have
never seen a real on with this, so I guess it is a massive giveaway it is
You could also get a bell box, and screw it to the side of the house, so it
at least looks like you have an alarm - try to get a real one (maybe a
second hand broken one!) as the fake ones can be blatant!
The other option is to move the PC, but I guess this is impractical!
I would advise anyone to have an intruder alarm installed (preferably
monitored), but then I would, wouldn't I ? (see signature at bottom).
A good defence, is the installation of internal window blinds, venetian or
vertical, Ikea do a great aluminium version, which can be closed when the
room is not in use and which can be fixed to the lower sill of the window if
you expect to be away from the house for longer periods. A random switch to
turn a table lamp or a radio/TV on and off at varying times, is also a good
idea if you are leaving the house on holidays or long weekends.
For nights when the house may be un-occupied for hours or even over night,
no longer, it is a good idea to leave a light on in an area where no one can
look in and see that it is just as a deterrent, but that it looks like
someone is reading or the like. It should be placed in an area where it is
not likely to cast shadows on the windows or doors which are seen from
outside. This along with a random timer on the Tele or radio' is good at
making the house look occupied, especially at night.
Used in tandem, all these solutions are very effective at deterring an
impulse attack, especially if items are seen to be easily snatched through a
weak spot in the perimeter of the property. But the best advice I think I
can give to you is, "Move the expensive items away from the view of
passers-by" because you're actually inviting someone to take the chance of
attacking the house.
Todays drug crazied loonies don't stop at breaking a window to get money for
their next fix. If they see wealth, they see opportunity, and to them, one
item leads to another. Believe me, I deal with the aftermath on a daily
basis, when people lock the stable door "after" the horse has gone.
Thanks a lot to BW and everyone else for some really useful ideas
We used to have one in fact but a combination of false alarms (+/-
cat) and our builder endlessly chopping the wires in different places
while building our extension led us to give up on it. Still have the
bell box, plus several 'dead' PIRs visible from outside which might
help. I know I should put in a new system, but I just can't face all
the upheaval (I'm totally anal about surface mounted wiring!!) and
understand from googling that although you can get cat-friendly
systems now, wireless ones are a load of old poo, am I right?
Never seen these Ikea ones (can't find them on their website)- sound
good; are they effective physically in terms of stopping a thief, or
just by blocking the view like any blind?
I've just been and bought a roll of black window film from Halfords
which I'm going to apply; can't hurt anyway.
I quite agree, trouble is it's a bit impractical to move the
hifi/dvd/tv from the front sitting room to the rear kitchen etc! :-)
I'd also add, make the accessible windows less accessible, eg by
planting prickly bushes in front. (Can't do that in my case as it's
But these DCLs do most of the housebreaking (ISTR a report in todays
Times said that just 22 DCLs were responsible for a third ofall crime
in Bristol) - these are the buggers who will go straight in and out
regardless of any alarm system. So doesn't that mean it's a waste of
time fitting an alarm (he says provocatively)?
I personaly hate the wireless systems because I had nothing but trouble on a
builders site, on which they'd used these RF units as a bit protection near
the end of the build and the finishing. Almost every night I was called out
to them for false alarms and it took me a week to realise that there was
fire station only a couple of hundred metres away, that, everytime they
wanted to contact their men, they set the bloody alarms going.
Or the one's that are set off by a taxi answering a radio when it's sitting
outside your front door.
Anything that impairs the view through the window is good, but making
something obvious is worse than leaving it clear. Think of a child trying
to hide something and not wanting you to know, they only make it more
obvious with their actions. So showing tinted windows may just draw more
attention than you'd expect.
A blind is a normal everyday thing on a window, so in its normality, it
doesn't draw any attention. A aluminium venetian blind makes a hell of
noise when someone touches it, so when it is fitted over a window to hang
down just passed the inner sill, then a good tealeaf thinks twice about
drawing attention to themselves by dragging a venetian blind off, or trying
to squeeze past it.
But placing a few small prickly cactus plants on the inner sill will make
any opportunist think twice about leaning in an open window.
Anyone who needs money that desparately to live, has no feeling for their
own or anyone else's well being. All they know is, they need a fix and
nothing will stop them getting it. A professional at the job is very hard
to stop because they do it so well, as it is in any trade, so if they want
in, they'll come in.
The only thing you can try to achieve, is something that makes them think
they'll have to take time to get through it and this to them is not be worth
getting caught for.
Frankly window locks are a waste of time. I had em, never used em, and
when the tea leves came they simply used a jemmy on the softwood frame
rather than smash a pane and open the window with the lever.
They are insutrance decoratin only. One new place I inhabited (office)
it was possible to open the windows with the locks on place as well.
Work on teh assumption that if someone wants to get in, they will.
Slowing tehm down and/or protecting your data and or getting money off
insurance is what to concentrate on.
If you have neighbors, then dummy alarm bell on the house front is a start.
If you have valuables on the ground floor, consider reflective film on
the windows, or venetian blinds.
MY PC is in a tatty old industrial rack mount case and one day I'll bolt
it into the rack and bolt that to the floor. Police reckon that if it
takes more than a couple of minutes to lift it, they won't bother. The
tendency is for them to come in quickly, grab anything easily saleable
as fast as possible and scarper in under ten minutes. Things like locked
internal doors, and equipment tucked away in inaccessible places is what
they leave. Its telly's standing on the floor, DVD players, stereo
systems etc that can just be grabbed and ripped out that go. Also
bottles of booze in full view. Microwaves, and CD's/DVD's etc.
A dummy vid cam is also a deterrent.
Actually they can have the PC, what I need is my stuff backed up on a
Linux server - will get round to that - somewhere on the network and
bolted into an immoveable rack :). Its the loss of data that is
The money from the insurance might not be enough to compensate for the
inconvenience of having your hard drive nicked.
My PC is attached to the table. I've used a standard security kit that
consists of two screw-on eyes (that take the place of two PC case
screws), a steel cable, and a combination lock. The cable goes through
the two eyes and through holes drilled in the rails of the table. It's
all round the back so that it doesn't look a mess.
No, it's not invincible, but it's cheap, and enough of a nuisance to
make an intruder go elsewhere. Mind you, I do have an alarm system, so
I'm assuming that they'll be in a hurry.
Do your leaded lights have very small panes of glass (e.g. 6" x 4")
separated by lead? If so, it is very easy to peel back the lead and remove a
pane without breaking any glass. You can make these much more secure by
replacing the whole lot with a *single* pane with strips of lead stuck on
the surface to re-create the original effect.
Well, we had this sort of window in our house when I was kid - and I once
broke one of the panes by killing a wasp against it a bit too
enthusiastically. I was able to remove the broken pane, and replace it with
a new piece of glass quite easily.
Very different Experience from mine; in both my parent's house and
a place we briefly had in Oxford, peeling back the lead from a couple
of sides (in the one case, to repair broken bits; in the other, to
get into the house when locked out) was the work of minutes - providing
you accepted that the lead got torn. Blob o'Araldite bodged it up in
both cases, provoking curses to anyone having to repeat the process
in later years, I imagine!
Me, I couldn't stand the aesthetix of ripping out the original leaded
stuff and replacing it with thicker float glass or DG units, then
covering it with the stick-on-lead junk... still, de gustibus and all
In a previous house of mine the traditional-pattern Victorian stained-
glass windows were attacked twice, simply by dismantling them. The first
time was in the front door, a hole large enough to get a hand in, but
the rim lock was deadlocked on the inside. The second time was round the
back, a hole large enough for him to climb through, and climb out again
pretty smartly when the alarm was activated.
A thin sheet of plain glass, hard up against the lead on the inside, was
my solution. Easy with wooden frames: not so easy with the OP's metal
frames, of course.
"Roger Mills" wrote
| Do your leaded lights have very small panes of glass (e.g. 6" x 4")
| separated by lead? If so, it is very easy to peel back the lead and remove
| pane without breaking any glass. You can make these much more secure by
| replacing the whole lot with a *single* pane with strips of lead stuck on
| the surface to re-create the original effect.
But it always looks wrong because the glass is flat.
Ah well, the house where I lived as a kid was a council house - and they
didn't go in for fancy stuff like unflat glass - although they *did* fit
leaded lights in the front windows - which was probably unusual for a
"Roger Mills" wrote
| Ah well, the house where I lived as a kid was a council house - and
| they didn't go in for fancy stuff like unflat glass - although they
| *did* fit leaded lights in the front windows - which was probably
| unusual for a council house.
The imitation sort are more common in ex-council houses, it seems.
Thanks Roger - yes, my panes are indeed like this, and this is not a
bad idea except that like another poster, I don't think I could bring
myself to trash the existing originals! (daft thing is that if we
were burgled, I'd do it without hesitation!
In fact we had an extension built a few years ago, and we opted for
the single pane/lead strip idea on the new windows, since by then we
had no cash left for fancy customised leaded lights. It does look
OK-ish, but we always reckon we'd replace them with the real McCoy one
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