|Safe as houses - beat the burglar and protect
your dream home
Fear of crime is soaring so how
do you protect yourself and your property? And
what are the telltale signs of an easy-to-burgle house? Inside Out offers out our top tips.
An Englishman's home is his castle
but what do you do when crime levels are soaring and you
want to protect yourself from the burglars?
Burglary is a despicable crime. It's bad enough when a
thief robs you of your valuable possessions but the emotional shock of
having your property invaded can be deeply upsetting.
Inside Out investigates how you can protect your home
from the most cunning of crooks.
No Place Like Home
Our homes should be a retreat from the stresses and strains
of the world, a place to put your feet up.
|How safe is
Current crime levels mean that it's hard to feel safe
in our own houses.
But look at the statistics and you'll see a big difference
between reality and perception of crime.
Burglary in Kent was down 31% last year whilst detection
rates in Sussex are up by 24%. Nevertheless many southerners see crime
all around them.
So what can be done to make them feel more secure and
to prevent any escalation of the burglary statistics?
Safe As Houses
First of all, there's some basic precautions that house
owners can take to discourage burglars.
|BEAT THE BURGLAR
- TOP TIPS
When away from
Make sure your home looks like someone is living in it.
Don't close your
curtains in daytime this shows the house is empty.
Think about getting
automatic time-switches to turn your lights on and off.
Fit mortise locks or bolts to all outside doors, and locks to all
downstairs or easily accessible windows.
Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries if you're away on holiday
Don't leave valuables,
like your TV, hi-fi or video, where people can see them through
Mark your property. You can get easy-to-use property marking kits
from stationers and DIY stores.
Easily visible locks may deter some
DIY shops sell inexpensive key-operated locks.
If you are replacing windows
consider laminated glass.
As a last resort, consider fitting
security grilles to vulnerable windows
Burglary is often an opportunist crime. A burglar will
select a target because it offers him the best opportunity to carry out
his crime undetected and with the fewest obstacles in his way.
A building that looks unoccupied and insecure is far
more likely to be targeted than a properly which is secured.
Kent Police offer the following advice:
- make it as hard as possible for the burglar to get
into your property;
- if you're away or on holiday, make the house look like
you're still living in it;
- mark valuable possessions with an ultra-violet pen
so they can be traced back to you if police recover them.
You can also take other precautions.
A third of burglars get in through a back window.
Fit window locks to all downstairs windows, and to easily
accessible upstairs windows.
Louvre windows are particularly vulnerable because the
slats can be removed easily from the frame.
Remove ladders that can be used to break into upstairs
Get A Gadget
After addressing the basics, you could go one step further
and buy a crime-busting hi-tech gadget.
These days the security marketplace is awash with everything from electronic
gates to surveillance cameras and infra-red detector systems.
But the more sophisticated security devices
don't come cheap. The cost of installing CCTV is between £500 and
£10,000 whilst steel doors will set you back
at least £2,000.
makes it impossible for the burglar to see what he's doing
But if you don't want to build a moat or six foot thick
walls with large beams around your house, what are the other options?
A new fangled smoke machine called a Smokecloak could
be the answer to your prayers.
The idea is to scare the burglar away or make his job
very difficult by belching out thick, black smoke.
There's only one drawback - Smokecloak alarms cost upwards of £1,200.
For traditionalists who don't fancy the Smokecloak, there's
also the bog-standard home alarm ranging from small door devices to the
full British Standard approved alarm system.
Bob The Burglar
Bob Turney is an ex-career burglar who spent 18 years
on and off in and out of prison.
|This gate lock
is easy to open from the other side, making life easy for burglars
Breaking and entering used to be his full time occupation.
Today he's a reformed character,
and works as a probation officer.
Bob knows just how to pick a house which has low level
When he worked as a burglar, he'd look out for signs
of easy to break into property including:
- single double glazing
- no alarm or security system
- garden tools or wood, bricks and other objects lying around which can
be used to force entry
- weak and flimsy doors and windows
Bob the Burglar's top tips are simple - be sensible and
security conscious. As the slogan says, 'Remove the Opportunity - Prevent
The burglar will case your property for tell-tale signs
that you are away and evidence that he won't be disturbed in the course
of his work.
If you can take measures that tell the burglar that this
building is too difficult or risky a target, he will hopefully move on.
It's best to avoid the following:
- side gates open and easily breached
- accessible windows
- open ladders left out allowing access to windows
- untrimmed hedges preventing natural surveillanc
Each of these makes access to the building far simpler and is an indication
to the prospective burglar that it's worth a second look.
Going away on holiday presents
yet more risks for home owners so it's best to play safe.
safe - crack down on crime with an alarm system
It's common-sense but don't draw attention to the house
Burglars look out for milk bottles on the doorstep, newspapers
and mail in the letter box, unlit houses after dark and closed windows
in very hot weather.
Make it look as though your house is occupied. You could
install timers which switch lights on and off automatically.
Be a good neighbour. Check on each other's houses when
Collect your neighbour's post and even park your car on their drive when
A Safe Bet
At the end of the day the best chance of cracking down
on burglary is to take preventative action.
Anything that forces the burglar
to take more time to commit the crime, make more noise or make him look
more conspicuous while committing the crime is a good starting point.
In today's world everyone needs a security system, and
then we can rest easy that we have less chance of being a victim of crime.