Are you Safe and Secure in your own home?
It is not just politically prudent to state this fact. Numerous offences are just not reported due to a lack of confidence in the Police and judiciary. Statistics are being juggled to allow ridiculous performance criteria to be met. One only has to read a newspaper or watch the news to get an overall view of what’s happening in Britain today.
Crime, including burglary, is on the increase. Offenders are getting younger. Many offences are being committed by children below the age of criminal responsibility. It may shock you to know that the youngest child caught for burglary was four years of age! “Fagin” type offences are on the increase. This increase, in part, can be attributed to the influx of ethnic groups into the UK from the European Community, for example the Roma Gypsy community.
The “Rank & File” Police officer is fed up with the lack of common sense being shown with regard to repeat offenders and the ridiculous amounts of paperwork and operational restrictions placed upon them. It really does feel like the policeman is in handcuffs and not the criminal!
Against this background, if you are burgled, there is nationally less than a one in ten chance that the burglar will be caught, let alone be sent to prison. You can not rely on the state to protect or defend your home. It is up to you!
It is also important to avoid the consequences of a confrontation with an offender in your home. Such confrontations always result in injury or even death. If an offender is cornered and confronted they will always fight to escape, regardless of the consequences. This is the cornered animal syndrome. This, coupled with the knowledge that they have little chance of being caught, and less chance of going to prison, makes this a very dangerous situation.
It is therefore up to you to avoid becoming a victim and yet another meaningless statistic.
The following advice will help you to feel safer in your home. In order to protect your home and property a layered approach should be adopted.
Layer One – First line of defence. The boundary and outbuildings
You should ensure that all perimeter fences and walls are in a good state of repair. A solid perimeter can be achieved in an environmentally friendly manner by protecting your boundary with hedges.
Many plants can form an attractive natural barrier with spikes and thorns that a burglar could not penetrate. Your local garden centre will give you advice on “barrier plants”.
You should ensure that all sheds, garages and outbuildings are secure. Consider fitting an audible alarm to them. Do not leave tools or ladders lying about. Such items could be used to assist an offender burgle your property.
Ensure that gates are in good repair and working order. Fit good quality locks and bolts to them. A securely locked gate restricts vehicular access making it more difficult for a burglar to remove the “booty”. It also means that they can not conceal their vehicle.
If finances permitt consider fitting gate automation. Such gates increase your personal safety, since you do not have to leave the security of your locked vehicle to open the gates and enter your property. Such a system also allows you to identify callers prior to opening the gate and allowing them access to your property.
Layer Two – Lighting
Burglars do not like light. Strategically placed lighting is a very good addition to the overall security.
Security lighting can be dusk ’til dawn or passive infrared motion detection controlled. It can also be interfaced with an intruder alarm system that would turn on all the lights if the system was triggered.
Layer Three – General Security
Ensure that all ground floor doors and windows are fitted with good quality window and door locks. Doors should be fitted with a British standard lock with a minimum of 5 levers.
If going away ensure that milk and paper deliveries are cancelled. Ask a neighbour to park in the drive so that the property looks occupied.
Have internal lighting on a timer and ask a neighbour to check for post sticking out of the letter box.
Layer Four – Intruder Alarm
You should ensure that any system installed is done so by a NACOSS or SSAIB approved installer. A security survey of your property will ascertain which system is best suited to your requirements and the risk factors involved.
Systems range from simple “bells only” to full GPRS Police response. The new modern systems ensure that you have efficient and false alarm free security for your home.
Layer 5 – Panic Buttons / Social Alarms
These devices can be either fixed or portable. If pushed the device will activate the alarm and alert the central monitoring station regardless of the On/Off status of the main alarm system.
The central monitoring station can communicate directly with the user and as such this system is ideal for ensuring the independence of the vulnerable.
Layer 6 – Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
If done well this type of security is a costly addition to your property. CCTV is not right for all properties and the decision to install such a system should always be made as part of an overall risk assessment.