Your home security has never been so important, with the cutbacks in the Police, burglary is now the fastest growing crime nationwide. Even more so in London with organised criminal gangs from across Europe taking advantage of cheap flights to travel to affluent areas of London, with the sole purpose of committing burglary. In order to stop a burglar from entering your home, it is important to have multiple defences in place, commonly referred to as ‘rings of security’. These rings can take many forms such as; garden gates, perimeter walls/fences, PIR floodlights, CCTV, burglar alarm, locks, doors and windows. Anything which deters or slows a burglar.
There are also a few common-sense measures that you can do to ensure your house is not a target. In this blog, we share with you some of the most effective ‘Do’s and Don’ts’, so you can ensure your home security is up to scratch.
Firstly, let’s start with a do…
DO invest in a burglar alarm system.
Very simple, but still very effective. Research has shown that criminals avoid homes that have professional alarm systems in place. So if you have one, would-be burglars WILL be deterred. Just make sure you use it! Make a habit of putting it on every time you leave and even when you go to bed. If you don’t have one, don’t put it off any longer – buy one. Invest wisely and protect your home 24/7.
DON’T advertise your goods.
If you have just bought a new TV or a new laptop, don’t leave the empty box outside your house for everyone to see. This will inform burglars that it’s worth breaking in, and what you have to offer them. Take the box straight to the recycling centre, or keep it for when you next move. Similarly, invest in some nets or blinds so your house isn’t like a shop window to thieves.
DO show off your security.
Like the alarm, signs that tell burglars what security you have in place will act as a deterrent. CCTV for example, the presence of a sign could be enough to save your valuables. Pointing out the fact you are watching and recording them is usually enough to change their minds. Also if you have a dog, a warning sign letting people know, for their safety and your own! Dogs are a great deterrent against burglars.
DON’T leave keys.
Under doormats and plant pots are the first places a burglar will look, so don’t make it easy for them. If you need to leave a key, leave it with a neighbour or key holding company. Also, don’t leave your keys in the door or by the door. ‘Hook Crooks’ can easily fish them off nearby cabinets and key racks. Take your keys to bed, some remotes have a feature to sound the alarm or horn or activate the lights. Ideal if you suspect someone is hanging about and you can’t see them or want to warn them off.
DO consider reinforced glass.
Although it can be expensive, it’s a very good investment and may reduce your home insurance premiums, it may even increase the value of your home. Make sure you advertise the fact the glass is toughened to save a burglar damaging the glass, setting you back even more money to replace it. Laminated glass is a cheaper alternative and can be done by yourself. Anything which slows the burglar down or deters them can be considered as one of your rings of home security. Westminster Security can provide a whole range of reinforced doors, gates and windows to secure your home. Please contact us for further details.
DON’T leave notes on your door.
‘No milk until Tuesday please’. There is a huge temptation to leave a note informing the milkman or paper-boy of your absence, but you are also giving the green light to any would-be criminals to help themselves to your possessions.
We highly recommend that you don’t, a simple phone call or word with them before you go away is much more effective and places your property in much less danger of attack.
DO maintain your garden.
Shrubbery can be a great way to add privacy to your home, but only if they are well maintained. Out of control shrubbery can be a great hiding place for burglars to lay up and wait. It can also block the view of your house from the road, making it easier for burglars not to be spotted by the passing public, police or security patrol. The more enclosed and hidden from view your house is, the more desirable it is for burglars to attempt a break-in.
DON’T leave side gates open.
Leaving your side gates open and unlocked allows burglars easy access to the rear of your property and out of sight from the road, it also allows them to easily remove large goods via the back should they gain entry. Also, don’t leave garden furniture or ladders out which may assist them in breaking doors and windows or reaching higher open windows – Don’t leave windows open! leave them on vent if you have too. Make home security part of your daily routine.
DO protect yourself.
An Englishman’s home is quite rightly his Castle! and you are well within your rights to protect yourself and your family should someone illegally gain entry. The law on this is a grey area and not very well known, it used to be the case where you could use ‘reasonable and proportionate’ force to protect yourself. However, when you are awoken from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and suspect someone in your house. You’re scared, the adrenalin is pumping and you’re still half asleep, dazed and confused. You don’t know: how many burglars there are; if they are armed; what with; or what their intentions are. You are well within your rights to assume that they’re armed and there to seriously injure or even kill you. So naturally, you are going to arm yourself with the nearest adaptive weapon you can find and use it to defend yourself.
Luckily in a recent landmark case, senior Judges ruled that the so-called ‘Householder defence’ does NOT breach Human Rights Laws. Meaning homeowners can take tough action against burglars. They stressed it did not give blanket permission for any degree of force. But they decided that force was not necessarily unreasonable and unlawful “simply because it is disproportionate unless it is grossly disproportionate”.
Sir Brian warned: “The headline message is clear – a householder will only be able to avail themselves of the defence if the degree of force he/she used was reasonable in the circumstances as they believed them to be.”
Westminster Security provides residential security services in London, throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide.