Designing for security hero

Designing for security

Locks, alarm systems and safes are amongst the options for keeping your home safe from burglary and invasion.

Join us now to unlock this content

Unlock all of Consumer from just $12 a month

  • Heaps of buying advice so you can choose with confidence
  • Independent reviews of thousands of products and services
  • Personal advice an email or phone call away on our advice line (members only)
Log in

Locks and door security

Deadlocks make it more difficult for burglars to get in and out of your house. If someone gets in through a window, they won’t be able to steal as much if they can’t open the doors to get items out. Use window locks and bolts on sliding doors. Most burglars are reluctant to break windows and will be put off by a locked window. (When you are at home, make sure the keys are readily available should you need to get out in a hurry, for example in the event of a fire.)

Consider a viewing lens in the door and security chains. Another option is to have a camera wired into your television so you can see who is at the door. A telephone lets you speak to people before you open the door.

Alarm systems

Alarm systems vary considerably in price and features. You will need to research what is available and what will suit your requirements and budget.

Alarms can be monitored or unmonitored. An alarm box on the outside of the house often acts as a deterrent. Using notices and stickers indicating the house has a monitored alarm is also a good deterrent.

You can also get silent alarms but advice from the Police is the noisier the better. Police or security staff may be some time away but with a noisy alarm going off, burglars are more reluctant to stay around.

Consider having a panic button beside your bed to set the alarm off if you think intruders have entered while you are there.

If you install an unmonitored alarm, you will need to have an arrangement with someone, such as your neighbour, if it goes off.

Make sure you know what type of back-up service and monitoring services are included in the price (if any).

Lighting systems

When thinking about lighting for your home, consider these automated lighting systems:

  • Sensor lighting in your drive-way that switches on when you drive up.
  • A switch by the front door that lights all the living areas.
  • Pre-set lighting plans for different rooms and times without having to adjust switches and dimmers.
  • A ‘goodnight’ switch that turns off all the lights when you go to bed.
  • A switch inside that turns on the lights outside if you hear a noise. (See also the advice on the New Zealand Police website about dealing with intruders.)
  • Timers to turn the lights on and off when you are away from home.

Talk over these ideas with an electrician or security specialist to get an idea of costs. Lighting consultants who specialise in lighting needs, can be found in the Yellow Pages.


Consider installing a built-in safe when you’re building (working on the premise that despite best security measures, someone still gets in). To do its job, the safe should be bolted onto an immovable surface like a concrete floor and not be able to be destroyed. If you have a burglar alarm, aim a sensor at the safe.

Morepork promo

First Look: Morepork

Morepork is Spark’s security system available to the telco’s broadband customers. Technology writer Hadyn Green tried out one of their basic kits, which comes with a central wireless panel, a wireless motion detector with a small camera in it, 3 door/window sensors and a wireless video camera.

Learn more

Building renovating

Building articles

Whether you're planning to build your own home or renovate an existing one, we've got you covered with a wide range of articles covering the whole process.

Find out more

Renovation promotion

Renovating articles

Renovating and altering houses is a favourite pastime for many New Zealanders. Our articles take a look at what's involved when you undertake a renovation project.

Find out more

Home maintenace

Home maintenance

Regular maintenance is needed to ensure your house holds its value and remains safe and comfortable to live in.

Find out more