Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not occur at night at all. Instead, 65% of burglaries occur between 6am and 6pm. Most burglars do not want to risk encountering someone so they will try your home when you’re most likely to be at work. The most common hours for a burglary to occur are between 10am-3pm.
Make your home as secure as practicable. Look at it critically and check vulnerabilities. The old rotten window, the door that needs a bit of a push to close, the lights that don’t work etc. that is what a burglar will look for and exploit.
Leaving a door or window ajar for the dog or cat is an open invitation.
What you are trying to do is create layers and use time against the burglar. The burglar wants an easy target. Don’t make yours that target.
Below is a list of simple measures that you can use to make your home more secure
- Use a timer light to operate internal lighting. These can operate a table lamp to indicate that there is someone at home. Another could be set to come on and off at random in another room.
- Remember that just leaving your hall light on is an obvious indication that there is no one at home. After all you don’t spend all night in the hall do you? There are also other items available such as fake TV’s that simulate a TV flickering in a room. These can also be plugged into a timer switch to go on and off giving the impression someone is at home.
- Consider property marking. This can be done with UV pens, however DNA markers are even more secure with products from SBD registered companies such as Selecta DNA and Smartwater being available in home kit form.
- If you are considering replacing your windows and doors, look for products that carry Police Approved ‘Secured by Design’ certification. This is particularly important when considering locks.
- The minimum standards you should be looking for are as follows;
- BS3621 for mortice locks. Any locks conforming to these standards will display the kite mark. This is of particular importance for ensuring that your lock complies with insurance requirements.
- PAS 24 2016 for UPVC doors and windows. If you are buying new windows and doors and the comment from a supplier saying “These are really secure doors” isn’t really enough, ask for certification. If a supplier cannot confirm they comply with this standard, use another supplier. Ideally all ground floor windows should be replaced with laminated glazing this is particularly effective in preventing forced entry by smashing the glazing.
- It is vital that you ensure windows and doors are secured before going to bed and that all car and house keys are kept out of sight from the front door or porches, particularly those with class panelled doors or porches. A thief requires only a very small hole to gain access and keys conveniently left on a hall table can be accessed via a hook and cane device.
- People like to leave a window open for ventilation and this need increases particularly as warmer weather arrives during summer months. Consider installing a restrictor that allows the window to open for ventilation but stops access. Windows can also be fitted with additional locks such as “snaplocks” that lock against the frame and prevent the window being forced. These are relatively simple to install but check that the fitting of additional devices does not invalidate any window warranty you may have. These locks are particularly useful on ground floor windows. Ideally fit them in pairs for maximum strength.
- UPVC doors should be secured by lifting the handle to activate the bolts and ensuring the key is turned, as the latch itself will not provide adequate security. We are used to the old rim or “Yale” lock on wooden doors “locking” when we close the door.
- Securing access to the back of the property can act as a deterrent to offenders. The old rotten fence provides no protection and neither does the 12 foot high conifer hedge around the property which may look secure but once this barrier has been bypassed the offender can work away completely unobserved. You can add trellis to the top of fences to make the barrier higher. Trellis makes it difficult for a potential thief to climb over, particularly a relatively thin trellis. Some shrubs and plants can also act as a deterrent such as pyracantha or berberis.
- Other methods for securing access to the property include spiked toppings or other anti-scaling measures, which can be fitted to the top of fencing or gate posts at the sides of the premises, providing adequate warning notices are displayed in a visible position. If adequate notices are not displayed you could find yourself liable for prosecution.
- Remove objects that can be used to smash doors and windows to gain entry to the property such as heavy planters, garden ornaments benches etc. It is easy to climb a fence without being in possession of any tools because an offender can find any number of available “tools” waiting around the garden.
- Don’t hide a spare key in the garden! You may think it’s a good hiding place like in the fake plastic rock but it won’t be to a burglar.
- Residents should also consider fitting an intruder alarm. In addition consider installing internal locks, fitted to rear kitchen and living room doors. This will help prevent a burglar gaining access to the rest of the house, remember time, make it work against them
- An alarm system does requires regular maintenance. One of the main reasons for false alarm activations is simply due to worn out batteries. These are cheap to replace. Alarms and security cameras are both great deterrents to burglars, and if you can it’s well worth installing them. If they don’t fit into your budget, however, dummy alarms and can also be an effective deterrent. Opportunistic burglars looking for an easy target usually won’t stop to check whether a camera or an alarm box is real. This is a useful additional layer as the burglar will look at the property see what precautions you have put into place and hopefully move on as your attention to detail such as a modern alarm, cctv, new windows and doors and a general cared for approach will indicated that perhaps there will be an easier and less risky target elsewhere. Most CCTV systems can now be linked to a smart phone and can provide additional reassurance and protection
- Consider installing a wire free system for ease of installation.
- Consider the installation of security lighting – this could be simple Passive Infra-Red (PIR) operated or dusk till dawn porch lights, which can now be fitted with cost efficient energy saving bulbs or consider installing the newer LED powered lights that provide bright light output with lower running costs and longer life.
- Much of the effort and expense of dealing with a burglary comes from having to replace valuable documents or small items left in insecure locations. A home safe can help reduce the risk of losing your valuables to burglary. The type of secure storage you’ll choose will depend on what you want to store in it; from relatively low cost devices to insurance rated safes. Most thieves now concentrate on the possibility of identity theft, looking for passports, credit cards and other personal documents that can be used in online fraud. A thief who would be willing to enter a house, take a passport from a drawer or a mobile phone from a table and leave again is unlikely to be willing to spend time trying to locate the key to a locked cabinet or the code to a security keypad, especially since the chance of success is low. Presenting a burglar with a difficult target makes the potential thief more likely to abandon it in favour of an easier opportunity
Remember Merseyside is one of the safest counties in the country and crime is low. However these measures can make you even safer.
For interactive crime prevention advice, please visit the Merseyside Police website at: www.merseyside.police.uk then type in ‘interactive’ in the search field
- For all emergencies dial 999
- For non-urgent enquiries or report please contact 101