Rupert Kazlauciunas, technical product manager at Greenwood
The sound of breaking glass is one that instantly puts us on edge. It signifies damage, cost and, most terrifying of all, the danger of a potential intruder. Even those of us who have been fortunate enough never to have experienced a break-in have a bank of knowledge and fear for our mind to tap into if we hear that distinctive noise.
With all that glass and without the security of door locks, our windows are often the weakest points of our homes’ defences, especially if they are altered with the addition of separate window fans. But fitting a police-accredited Secured by Design fan can significantly reduce the threat of a swift and silent illegal entry by thieves.
Burglary is one of the most traumatic crimes someone can suffer. Research by Victim Support suggests some never recover emotionally, with almost three quarters (73%) of those who have been preyed upon by burglars fearful they will be targeted again. As many as 40% of victims are too afraid to be left alone in their own homes for several weeks afterwards.
The psychological effects are enough to give many victims sleepless nights sometimes for months on end.
Residents understand the importance of locking their doors and windows at night so that opportunist burglars do not find themselves with an invitation to enter our homes. At the same time, it is well known how vital it is to keep properties well ventilated so that warm, moist air from bathrooms and kitchens doesn’t cling to walls and cause damp.
The installing of window extractor fans as the solution to the second problem can exacerbate the first, by making the rooms of the house with moist air an easier target for intruders.
Some fans provide a helpful view into a home for a burglar through an otherwise opaque window, a view that can allow criminals to judge whether there are likely to be items worth taking inside and to allow them to plan their attack.
If burglars can then break the external casing of a fan and remove the internal workings from their position, they are left with a gap which they can access the locks of any doors and windows to let themselves into the property – without the sound of breaking glass potentially alerting those inside, or their neighbours.
Camberley-based Greenwood worked with local authorities, social landlords and those involved in the design of secure housing to find a solution and came up with the Omnique OF100GIP multifunctional window fan. The fan’s dual-layered vandal-proof construction helps to deter potential burglars, with two durable polycarbonate fixing plates sandwiched on either side of a glass window. In the event that the cowl is removed, the fixing plates will remain intact with no edges for a burglar to lever the external fixing plate from the glass or fan inside, and no opportunity to pass anything through the fan into the property.
The only way to remove the plates from the glass is to break the window – potentially alerting residents or scaring the burglar into escaping empty-handed.
The new fan is also designed with privacy in mind as the grills are located on its side, ensuring that burglars cannot see directly through the fan into the property.
And security doesn’t come at the expense of quality. The multifunction design means it can be used across all housing stock types and is one of the most efficient on the market, including highly energy-efficient motor technology, adjustable airflow settings and SMART humidity and timing controls.
The fan, which has been tested to British Window Standard, is accredited by Secured by Design – the national police-run anti-crime initiative – as a burglary-prevention tool.
Rupert Kazlauciunas, technical product manager at Greenwood, said: “Ventilation is vital for homes but so is security.
“People need to have confidence that the products fitted in their homes will help keep burglars out rather than providing an easy way in.
“The Omnique is a cost-effective and secure way of delivering ventilation where it is needed in a home.
“We’re proud to still be delivering an extract fan to the exacting requirement of Secured by Design specification.”
Secured by Design, which includes the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government among its partners, has helped ensure a million homes across the UK have been built to its tough standards, with a reduction of crime in some areas of up to 87%. Products are subjected to rigorous testing and additionally must be fully certificated by an independent, third-party certification body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) before they are allowed to carry the Secured by Design logo.
Lyn Poole, from Secured by Design, said: “It’s great to have products like the Omnique on the market so people have the choice to have a secure product within their window.”