Burglary is often a terrible crime to experience. Anyone who says “It doesn’t matter because I’m insured” probably hasn’t been the victim of a crime. The Victim
Burglary is often a terrible crime to experience. Anyone who says “It doesn’t matter because I’m insured” probably hasn’t been the victim of a crime. The Victim The theft of personal, sentimental items that cannot be replaced is bad enough, but simply knowing that an intruder has been in your home can destroy feelings of safety and sanctuary.
Burglary is often a terrible crime to experience. Anyone who says “It doesn’t matter because I’m insured” probably hasn’t been the victim of a crime. The Victim The theft of personal, sentimental items that cannot be replaced is bad enough, but simply knowing that an intruder has been in your home can destroy feelings of safety and sanctuary. People move home because of suffering a burglary A victim’s health can significantly deteriorate Confidence in policing and the community can diminish Studies have shown that:
Burglary could effect anyone regardless of diversity. Anyone could be a victim. There are certain groups that appear to be more vulnerable, but this could be down to the type of homes or the demographics of your area. The Victim
Burglary could effect anyone regardless of diversity. Anyone could be a victim. There are certain groups that appear to be more vulnerable, but this could be down to the type of homes or the demographics of your area. The Victim There are, however, some people who suffer more burglaries than others:
Burglary could effect anyone regardless of diversity. Anyone could be a victim. There are certain groups that appear to be more vulnerable, but this could be down to the type of homes or the demographics of your area. The Victim There are, however, some people who suffer more burglaries than others: People who have just moved into a home - the longer they’ve lived there, the less vulnerable they are. This could be due to people spending money on possessions rather than on security
Burglary could effect anyone regardless of diversity. Anyone could be a victim. There are certain groups that appear to be more vulnerable, but this could be down to the type of homes or the demographics of your area. The Victim There are, however, some people who suffer more burglaries than others: People who have just moved into a home - the longer they’ve lived there, the less vulnerable they are. This could be due to people spending money on possessions rather than on security Younger people. This includes students in rented accommodation and younger professional couples being out a lot of the time.
Most burglars are opportunists. The Offender It is very unusual for burglars to plan jobs and study a resident’s movements. Fortunately, this makes it easy to prevent a burglary! They walk about looking for a home that is easy to get in and out of, without being disturbed. A typical burglar is a young male – sometimes with a drug addiction.
A Target is anything which the burglar may wish to take or damage. What do burglars usually steal? Targets Items which are small & portable Items which are easy to sell on Targets stolen in burglaries include: Mobile phones Money / credit cards CD / DVD players Computers / laptops Stereos / Hi-Fi / MP3s TV’s Jewellery Keys Silver / Gold Items for ID Theft
Every home is unique with different risks and problems. Whether you are surveying a one bed flat or a stately home, the approach is the same. This method will ensure that you don’t miss anything and each survey will be of the same standard and quality Start with the Environment Then the Perimeter Then the Shell of the home Finally, look at the Interior 1. A systematic way of surveying homes Always work from the outside and work inwards
It won’t always be clear which zone is which. A terraced property may have a door which opens straight onto the street with no obvious perimeter. Don’t worry about this, as long as you use a systematic approach, working inwards. At each layer you should identify weak points and look for targets in which a potential offender may be interested. 1. A systematic way of surveying homes
Look at the perimeter of the home. Look at the boundary line, the fences, the access points. Remember to imagine what it would be like when it was dark and work out where the lighting comes from. Think like a burglar. What would you do if you didn’t want to be seen, steal something and get away as fast as you could? How would you do it? The Perimeter
Making thieves feel exposed when they approach the front of a property can help. Low hedges and low fencing (or transparent high fences) will increase the feeling of being exposed, as will outside lighting. Most burglars break into a house from the back. Good rear garden fences or hedges, coupled with a side gate will help protect a home. Side gates are best positioned level with the front of the house so they can be seen. When choosing the type of fence, you should consider the view neighbours or the public have of the front and rear of the home. A high fence may be difficult to climb over but can stop people casually observing the house. A low fence is easy to climb over but enables everybody to see a burglar. Fencing with trellis on the top is difficult to climb over but does not obstruct visibility. Barbed wire is only permitted in certain restricted circumstances. Fences
Floodlights As no one will probably want a floodlight on all the time, there is a type of system which uses a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor, which when it has detected a person in its range, automatically switches on a quartz halogen type floodlight. Imagine a burglar sneaking behind a house at night being greeted by a floodlight being switched on. Not many stay to commit crime. This type of unit may also help to reduce the fear of crime. If the resident has to go out to the rear of the property at night it’s great to be welcomed by a bright light. Make sure the lighting doesn’t shine into neighbours’ rooms. Better systems have the sensor in a separate unit from the light. This enables you to have more than one PIR sensor or light, linked together in one system. Outside Lighting There are several types of external lighting systems.
Low wattage lights Some people prefer external lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and stays on all night until dawn. This is particularly beneficial where the property is overlooked by people passing by or residents. If low wattage economy bulbs are used, these are very efficient and can cost less than 1p per night in electricity. Siting of external lighting is important to ensure that dark shadowed areas are not created. Unlit areas can provide a hiding place for a thief or instil a fear that someone could be hiding there. Lights can be controlled by timers so that they go on and off at a set time every day. Or by a photocell darkness detector which switches the lights on or off depending on the level of darkness. Many types and styles of external lights are available, from ornate coach lights to practical bulkhead lamps. Ask your hardware store for advice and suitability. Outside Lighting
Now you’ve controlled entry to the rear garden, don’t forget the garage or shed. Any valuable electrical items should be kept in the home if the shed is particularly vulnerable. It’s not unusual for burglars to use items found in a shed to break into a home. Remember to postcode tools. If it’s impractical to postcode with ultraviolet ink because of the wear an item would get through regular use, consider engraving or painting the postcode onto the item. Shed Security Sheds: Padlocks A good quality ‘hasp & staple’ with a padlock is important on all sheds and side doors to garages. Sheds: Screw heads Glue smeared over the heads of screws in the external hinges of shed doors or the side door of a garage may stop a thief from simply unscrewing them. Alternatively, replace a couple of the screws in external hinges with a special type that cannot be unscrewed (sometimes called ‘clutch-head’, ‘anti-tamper’ or ‘coffin’ screws)
Sheds: Windows The most effective way of securing a shed window is to fit internal bars or grilles. Shed Security Sheds: Alarms Battery or mains powered shed alarms are now commonly available in DIY stores. If items within the shed are physically secured, how many thieves would spend time trying to release these items when an alarm is ringing?. Lawn mowers Lawn Mowers can cease to be attractive to a thief if the postcode and house number is painted across the top with house paint. Use a bicycle lock to secure it to something inside the shed. Cycles Always lock cycles to something fixed or bulky while in the shed or garage (eg the ladders or workbench), and have them postcoded. Some cycle dealers provide this service for a small charge.
Garden tools Remind residents not to leave tools in the garden (spades, ladders, etc.) for the burglar to pick up. They should ask neighbours not to either. Burglars don’t often carry tools, but simply use items left lying around. Garden Security Garden Gates Gates located at the front edge of pathways, rather than half- way down ginnels so they can be seen, helps secure a garden and the home. Quite often it is unnecessary to lock them – their psychological presence is often enough. Planters & Hanging Baskets Don’t forget that hanging baskets and garden furniture can also be stolen. Hanging Baskets can be secured with tie-raps, but often just relocating baskets and planters is sufficient.
Rubbish Removal Residents should not advertise to a thief when they’ve just bought expensive, desirable items. So branded boxes shouldn’t be left outside. Hide all identifiable boxes inside a bin or better still, take to a recycling centre. Rubbish
CCTV CCTV covering the home and garden is becoming more popular as costs reduce. However, before looking at the many different types of CCTV systems available, a resident should ask themselves the questions: Why do I want CCTV? What do I want to achieve from a CCTV system? What is the purpose of CCTV? Will the performance achieve my expectations? Will it be legal? There are only three main operational requirements in installing CCTV:- 1. The anticipation of offences 2. The prevention of crime 3. The detection of offenders And finally... CCTV should not be perceived as a magic wand for preventing crime – it is just one of many crime prevention tools.
Burglars do not want to be seen or disturbed. Convincing them that someone is at home who will interrupt them, is undoubtedly the best deterrent. Read this section and then have a look at the vast range of security products available in any DIY store. There will be something that will suit everybody’s personal lifestyle and work best for them. The Shell
Lighting Potential burglars can be convinced that someone is at home by having plug-in timer controls for lamps. Technology has now made it even easier with the invention of cotton bobbin sized gadgets that fit between the bulb and the light socket. These automatically switch on the light as programmed. Many people just have the hall light switched on when they’re not in. Have the lights switching themselves on in the bedroom, kitchen, lounge and even the bathroom (not many people get out of the bath to answer the door). Don’t limit the use of lights to evenings. Remember that it is often dark enough during a winters afternoon to merit switching a light on earlier. Are You In? Internal sounds A plug-in-timer for the radio would make it sound as if someone was home. Tune the radio to a station which has more talking than music. Don’t leave the TV on though, as that is a fire risk.
Curtains Curtains can now be opened and closed electronically, although it is quite expensive. As an alternative, trusted neighbours with a key can close curtains. Most neighbours wouldn’t mind. Residents can return the favour and do the same for them. If curtains are not going to be drawn while people are out, use timer switches on low table lamps around the room, instead of the main ceiling light. Set the lighting timers to come on when it goes dark, especially if the occupants tend to be late home in winter. Are You In?
Check insurance Most insurance companies now insist on a specified level of physical security detailed in the policy. Many insist on a home having a five-lever mortise lock on the front and back door and of course, window locks on all easily accessible windows. Requirements for locks on double glazing will vary. Always get the resident to check their policy’s small print. Get them to check with their insurance company before it’s too late! Insurance
Doors: External Locks are only as good as the quality of the wood in the door and frame, or as the security of the frame. Before fitting any additional locks it may be better to have a builder or joiner further secure the door frame to the brickwork. Check the external doors to see if it has weak wooden panels. Some traditional back doors which are glazed at the top with a plywood panel at the bottom can be vulnerable. You can strengthen the panels by screwing on a piece of 1/2 inch exterior grade plywood. When painted the colour of the door, it isn’t that noticeable and is much harder to force. For a stronger fit, the new panel can be bolted straight through the door itself using round headed bolts on the outside. Physical Security
Mortise lock If the home only has a traditional cylinder rim night latch on the wooden front door (a very common type that locks whenever the door is slammed), it would be wise to fit an additional mortise dead lock that needs a key to open from either side of the door. If they choose one that conforms to British Standards (BS3621) or has at least 5 levers, this should be acceptable. Check the door is thick enough to accept the lock and keep its strength. It may be better to approach a qualified locksmith. Door Locks
Mortise lock If the home only has a traditional cylinder rim night latch on the wooden front door (a very common type that locks whenever the door is slammed), it would be wise to fit an additional mortise dead lock that needs a key to open from either side of the door. If they choose one that conforms to British Standards (BS3621) or has at least 5 levers, this should be acceptable. Check the door is thick enough to accept the lock and keep its strength. It may be better to approach a qualified locksmith. Mortise bolts As a mortise lock may be a little too expensive, some people fit mortise bolts instead to a wooden back door. Mortise bolts are more secure than the ornate little draw bolts, which are really only suitable for wardrobes and not as unsightly as a big draw bolt. With a mortise bolt, one key fits all. When the key is rotated in the keyhole, it makes a bolt shoot out of the door into the door frame. The key can only be used on the inside of the door and is not suitable on doors regularly used to leave the house. Door Locks
French windows If both the french windows open, then remember that the lock which secures one door into the other is only as strong as the door. The glazed wooden doors in a french window should be protected by fitting mortise bolts to both the top and bottom of each opening door to go into the frame. Bolts should be fitted to go into the frame and not the other door. Always remove the keys from the locks to stop someone breaking a small pane of glass and entering by using the key. Patio Doors Patio doors Sliding patio doors can be protected by fitting one or two of the popular purpose-made locks or a security bar. If the patio door that slides on the inside of the other fixed panel, it can be secured very easily. Put a piece of wood in the full length of the floor track between the door and the frame (on the inside!). It is wise to check that doors which slide on the outside of the fixed panel cannot be lifted off their runners. Some double glazing companies or security firms can fit a metal block onto the frame just above the door in its closed position. This makes it impossible to lift off a locked door.
Windows Window locks The most effective type of locks for wooden framed window are the sort that does not involve any of the window catches. The type of lock that pulls the window into the frame with a key are normally stronger. They may even stop a person forcing the window open or leaning through a smaller window to undo it. If the opening section of the window is quite large, fit two window locks. Window locks can be supplied and fitted by a locksmith but most types can be fitted easily by anybody who can use a screwdriver. Self-locking window locks are a little more expensive than other types but may be more convenient to use on windows which are frequently opened and closed such as bathroom windows. Louvre windows on the ground floor should be avoided.
Double Glazing Double glazing If choosing double glazed windows check to see that it is not just the handle that stops a window from opening. It can be argued that for security and safety, laminated glass is preferable to toughened glass Whether the window is glazed from the inside or outside you should be satisfied that the glass cannot be removed without it being broken. A good glazier familiar with UPVC frames may be able to secure existing externally beaded frames. Fitting extra locks to UPVC or aluminium framed doors is usually beyond the amateur DIY person. If the door does not lock along its full length, consult a glazier or locksmith for advice or ask them if they can do the job. It is advisable to check with the company which installed the double glazing, before fitting any additional locks to windows or doors. Unauthorised fitting may invalidate the guarantee. Look for the following British Standards when choosing double glazing:- BS 7950 (security performance) BS 7412 (window performance) Don’t rely on just verbal confirmation, ask for written verification.
This is where we look at the space inside the shell (the main building). The Interior
Internal Doors Doors: Internal Locking internal doors when no one is in the house can sometimes stop a burglar from going further into the home, but in other instances the locking of an internal door can result in a lot more damage if the door is smashed down. The locking of internal doors while someone is in the house may make occupants feel more secure but consideration must be given to escaping in the event of fire. As with exterior doors, consider the strength of the wood in the door and how well the door frame is secured before fitting any lock or bolt. Fire With all this security, some people worry about escaping from a fire. Good security is designed to stop burglars getting in, not people getting out. Burglars want to operate quietly without being seen. If there was a fire you would want everybody to see and hear you. It is wise not to lock internal doors that could block the escape route. Always keep handy any keys needed to get through an external door so as not to delay the escape in an emergency.
Alarms It would be unusual for an average home not to need a burglar alarm. The sight of an alarm box outside the average home is still a deterrent. Many burglars however, don’t notice an alarm box until the alarm starts ringing. The sound of an alarm will cause most burglars to grab what they can quickly before making their escape without exploring the rest of the house. A reliable alarm system will also reduce the fear of crime. When part of the alarm is switched on overnight you know you can sleep safe and secure. Choosing the correct alarm system can be quite difficult due to the variety of features available. Which type of system? In a nutshell, there are two types of alarm system: Type A – Remote Signalling and Type B – Audible Only. Alarm Systems
Safes Hiding belongings might be an inconvenient way to live but using a hidden safe to keep jewellery, valuables and important documents can be a lot more secure. Most domestic safes are designed not to be easily seen and therefore get a lot of their protection from this. Safes can be hidden in cupboards or under the floorboards fastened to the joists. Before specifying a safe for items of high value, check with the house contents insurance company first to see what type of safe they recommend. Some safes appear cheap to purchase but are difficult to fit. Refer residents on to a qualified locksmith. Safes
Make property identifiable If your television were to be stolen would you know its make, model and serial number? If you have kept and can find the receipt you will probably be able to find out the make and model. Unless you’ve made a special effort to write the serial number down your television would be no different from the millions of others stolen all over the country. If the serial number of a stolen item was known it could then be circulated as stolen in a similar way to a registration number of a stolen car. Not only are the chances of getting unidentifiable and unmarked possessions returned remote, but without being able to prove an item was stolen it can be very difficult to substantiate a charge against a suspect. Arresting offenders isn’t difficult – getting evidence is! Property Marking
Ultraviolet marking Ultraviolet marker pens are available in all good stationers, security shops, etc., and cost as little as 50p. These felt-tip type pens are designed for writing on ornaments and audio/visual equipment and electrical goods in an ink that is invisible to the eye under normal light. All Police Stations in the country have portable lights that clearly illuminate the writing on such possessions. By printing the postcode followed by the house number or first three letters of any official house name, it is possible to trace an owner from anywhere in the country. A few tips: Property Marking Always mark items underneath as the postcode can be slightly visible on non-porous surfaces Try to renew every twelve months Don’t worry about an impending move. Simply postcode items again. Then the police only have to make two or three phone calls to trace an owner instead of two or three thousand!
Liquid forensic coded solutions Becoming very popular in recent years is a system of painting a special forensically coded solution over items from large TVs to small computer chips. This solution is visible only under ultraviolet light. Each batch of the painting solution is made specifically for just one customer. In the event of the property being stolen and recovered by the police, a tiny paint sample is them removed for examination. From this sample it is possible to trace the true owner. Examples include: Property Marking EnigmaTAG (RedWeb) MicroDot SelectaDNA SmartWater Photographs For small items which can’t easily be security marked, a picture is worth a thousand words! Photographing all items against a ruler is better than any detailed description, making it easier to make comparisons with found items. On flatter items like watches, a photocopying machine takes a pretty good picture.
www.immobilise.com The police encourage residents to enter details of their possessions on a secure database known as the ‘Mobile Equipment National Database’ (or MEND for short). This is a free service to register any item that has a make, model and serial number. Police Forces across the country have access to this information to assist them checking the ownership of items they recover, as do other agencies such as lost property offices. In the event of loss or theft, an item can be flagged as lost or stolen. It will then appear on the UK Police Stolen Database. Visit the website: www.immobilise.com for further information. Property Marking
Fire Plan Every home needs a smoke alarm, whether it is a one bed flat or a stately home. Every resident should be familiar with their Fire Plan. Encourage the resident to invite Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue to do a Home Fire Risk Assessment. It could save a life! Ring 0800 55 815 (it’s free!) Fire
Safety overnight The best place for a door key is on your person or at the side of the bed. However, this advice depends entirely on family circumstances (number and age of residents, etc.). The most important rule is that people’s safety in a fire is more important than property protection. Do not leave keys in the lock. Everyone should know where they are and be able to find them in the dark. Key Security It is always wise not to leave spare keys for windows, doors and car about the home. By forcing criminals to leave the same way as they entered you will not only shorten the visit but minimise loss. Try getting a plasma TV through a small kitchen window! Keys kept as spares in case of loss are always best left with a neighbour, friend or relative. Home and car keys What would you have to do if your keys were stolen? How soon could you have your locks at home changed? Would you have to change the locks on your vehicle? Are you insured for this replacement cost? Did you know, if the burglar entered your home using your lost or stolen keys, you may find you are not insured against this type of burglary? Or if a vehicle was stolen using your keys, some people have found out that they are also not covered for the vehicle itself.
Burglaries for car keys In an increasing number of burglaries, the offenders entered the house just to steal the car keys and then the car. Many cars, particularly modern cars, are now very difficult to steal without the keys. This means that criminals are now targeting the car keys in order to go on and steal the vehicle. They do this by a variety of methods: 1. Fishing through a letterbox to get keys off a table or stairs 2. Reaching through a cat flap 3. Forcing or smashing a window or door to grab keys on view 4. On rare occasions, especially where the vehicle is particularly valuable, even threatening the resident for the keys It’s simple, don’t leave car keys lying on the kitchen or hall table, or even worse on the window sill or on view just inside the door. Put them safe and out of sight. Key Security
If there is a garage, use it for the car and not for old tins of paint. If they have more than one car and only garage space for one, consider which car to garage. The older car, although of less value, might be easier to steal. Consider the cost of the car versus the cost of keeping it secure. Remember, thieves are often more interested in high- performance cars. Offences where the burglar breaks into the home overnight to try and find the keys can be easily prevented with good basic security. The thief isn’t likely to spend long looking for car keys with an alarm system ringing. Some cars have been stolen after householders have opened their doors to strangers, forcing entry to the house to steal the car keys and then the car. Again, basic home security advice applies. If there is a door chain, encourage people to use it. The door should never be opened to unexpected strangers, especially if the resident is on their own. Victims should not offer resistance. It would be far better if they just remembered as much detail as possible. Consider a tracking device for the vehicle. Car Security
This section contains information on items of which you should be aware when you conduct a security survey. Extra Information
An enthusiastic watch scheme will deter burglaries and crime. Protecting a home with locks is fine, but there be greater security and peace of mind if everyone around is working to reduce burglary. Residents of a community possess a very specialised knowledge of their neighbourhood that even the ‘Village Bobby’ would take years to achieve. A police officer might not recognise someone in a garden as a stranger but a neighbour would. By letting the police know of anything suspicious helps to reduce the opportunities for crime to occur. Even going to the trouble of letting strangers who are wandering about an area know someone’s keeping an eye on them, helps tremendously. This is what watch schemes are all about. Some residents think they should not ring the police when they see something suspicious going on at a neighbour’s house as they don’t want anyone to think they’re being nosey and interfering in other people’s business. In a watch scheme area the residents all agree. They want each other to be vigilant and nosey as far as crime is concerned. If you have the phone number of the man next door and you ring him up at work to check if a removal firm should be clearing his house, wouldn’t he be grateful? Home Watch
Identity theft occurs when someone steals someone else’s personal information to take over credit accounts, open new accounts, take out a loan, access existing bank accounts, or commit many other crimes in another’s name. Criminals commit identity theft by stealing personal information. This is often done by retrieving discarded personal details from dustbins. Identity Theft Tips Make sure that other people cannot access delivered mail. If a resident has just moved in, remind them to tell their banks Is mail being redirected from the other house? Don’t throw cash machine receipts in bins near the machine. Shred documents like credit card slips, before discarding them. Small shredding machines are now widely available and affordable. Check statements as soon as they arrive. No one should give any of their details over the phone to a caller they don’t know.
Sometimes a dog can be a deterrent, but most have the instinct to protect their ‘pack’ (the family) and not bother if a burglar calls when you’re not at home. For most people a dog will be a pet and not raised as a guard dog. Don’t rely on a dog to protect a house – especially if there are no other security precautions. Remember the dog is unlikely to be in the home when the residents go on holiday or go out for the day. Don’t let the fact that there’s a pet deter from having a burglar alarm. It should be taken into consideration when the system is designed and fitted. Dogs
Some criminals won’t go to the trouble of breaking into a home if they can just knock and be invited in. They either distract the resident whilst they steal items or trick the person into paying too much for a simple job. Academic research informs that a victim of this crime is most frequently: Doorstep Crime An elderly person Female Living alone Targeted after a bereavement Remember: that younger people can also be victims of doorstep crime. Studies inform us that only 1 in 10 doorstep crimes are reported. Reasons for under-reporting include embarrassment, fear and the possibility of losing one’s independence. A study into the impact of doorstep crime on older victims has shown that their health declines faster than non-victims of a similar age. The study also found that victims of doorstep crime are 2.4 times more likely to be in residential care two years after the burglary than their non-burgled neighbours.
Any Questions ? Telephone 101 and ask for your local Crime Reduction Specialist Email email@example.com