How to prevent burglaries by securing your home

Even though the level of crime in the UK has been falling in recent years it is a long way from zero and with 556 burglaries being recorded by Herts police in November 2014 the reality is that opportunity for crime remains present, Regardless of what the statistics might tell us there are still plenty of people out there who want to get their hands on your possessions.  My challenge to you then is to make 2015 the year you properly secured your home.

I’m sorry to say that making an insecure home secure does not come cheap.  That said, if you know what you need to do you’ll be able to make plans and, if necessary, spread the improvements over the course of the year.

First of all you’ll need some independent advice:

Getting advice from the police

Call 101 and ask to speak to our local PCSO, Kirsty Gilling, ask her for a home visit to advise you about security.  In spite of the police budget cuts Herts police are still managing to offer this service. Kirsty has had Crime Prevention training and will be able to give you some good advice and perhaps let you know what’s been going on crime-wise in our area.

Alternative places for advice

Your next possible option for advice would be to get in touch with your local member of the Master Locksmith Association, some of whom will offer their services free in the hope that you will use them to provide some of the solutions. They will have expert knowledge about a wide variety of security applications, but by definition their advice won’t be wholly independent.

If you would rather not use the services of a Master Locksmith and our PCSO can’t fit you in then you could use the free service provided by the crime prevention website.  The Home Security Survey will take you around 15 minutes or so to complete and you’ll be sent a free security report and risk assessment score.  The report contains links to pages on the website for more detailed advice and once you’ve made some improvements you can do the survey again to see how your score has improved.  Although the survey is detailed it is not the same as someone actually visiting your home, but it’s a lot better than working your way through a simple checklist.

 

Where should you start?

Although it would be great if you could carry out all the recommendations made by your chosen adviser or provided by our security report in one go, I know for most of you that won’t be realistic.

So here’s a suggested priority list:

  • Make sure you are complying with everything that your insurers have demanded. This is a very important aspect as certain security measures will be a condition of your insurance cover
  • Do those ‘no’ or ‘low cost’ items, such as locking tools away, marking your property, closing and locking the doors and windows properly, not displaying the contents of your home to the street by using blinds and nets etc.
  • Do what you can to make your place look occupied when it’s not, such as buying some timers or ‘dusk to dawn’ sensors for your lights and following the Holiday Checklistshould you be away for a few days.
  • Look at the things you can do to reduce access to the more vulnerable parts of your dwelling, such as improving the fences or maybe erecting a gate to the front of the side drive.
  • Check that the garden is free of tools and other things that could be used to force open a door or window. Lock these things away in a secure shed or other outbuilding.
  • Do consider purchasing an intruder alarm, which the Crime Survey for England and Wales findings strongly suggest is an effective deterrent.
  • If you’re thinking about replacing your doors and windows, do get ones that are certificated to the enhanced security standards (e.g. PAS24: 2012).
  • One you’ve followed a few of the recommendations carry out another surveyto see how your risk assessment score has changed.

Good luck!

Peter Tiffany is the Ward Coordinator for Park Street Neighbourhood Watch

 

 

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