SarahBeenySpringIssue2017 - 211
HOME SECURITY ▲
THE NEW KID
ON THE BLOCK
Exchanging contracts and receiving
the keys to your new home is always an
exciting event - but it's also the time to
think about security. Statistics from the
British Crime Survey show that if you've
lived in your house less than a year, you
are almost twice as likely to be burgled
(46 per 1,000 households as opposed
to an average of 26).
Once you move in, the ﬁrst thing you
should do is to change all the door and
window locks. There's no way of knowing
how many sets of keys may have been
left with builders, cleaners, previous
tenants or have simply been lost.
Put up blinds or curtains as soon as
possible and don't leave unpacked boxes in
view - it's easy for potential burglars to spot
you've just moved in. You'll be unsettled
and receiving lots of visitors, from neighbours
to deliverymen to gas board staﬀ, so you're
more vulnerable to imposters.
If you're unsure who's visiting, call the
company they claim to represent before
allowing them in. Utilities companies
now oﬀer a password system so any caller
should be able to give you a pre-arranged
password to prove their identity.
If you're concerned about how safe your
new property is, the Home Security Survey
at thecrimepreventionwebsite.com can
help to identify any weak spots.
When you go on holiday, as well
as making a list of clothes to pack,
make a note of the security measures you'll
need to take to ensure your home will be
safe while you're away.
If you have milk and groceries delivered,
make sure you stop them for the time you're
away. If you go to the newsagent to cancel
newspapers, be aware of anyone in the shop
who might overhear you speaking.
Nothing advertises an empty house like
envelopes on the doormat or free newspapers
sticking out of the letterbox, so ask a friend
or neighbour to pop in daily and put your
If you live in a multiple occupancy
dwelling such as a block of ﬂats or
shared house, there are different security
issues to consider. Communal entrances can
be a hazard. If someone approaches the main
door as you enter or leave, don't let them in
unless you know them - if they're a genuine
visitor, they'll understand.
Likewise, if someone rings your doorbell
and asks you to open the communal door,
politely refuse or offer to knock on their
friend's door for them - just in case it's a
criminal trying their luck.
Once inside the building, a thief is likely to
head for the top ﬂoor, where there's less
chance of being observed. But wherever your
ﬂat, your front door needs to be just as
secure as if it opened on to the street. The
Met advises reinforcing door frames with
metal strips called 'London' and 'Birmingham'
bars, and ﬁtting a multi-locking system.
Fitting a doorviewer will allow you to see
callers before you open the door. A shield will
prevent anyone 'ﬁshing' for your keys through
the letterbox or accessing the handle.
post in a safe place. Alternatively, the Royal
Mail will put your mail on hold for a small
fee, starting at £14 for 17 days.
Also be careful about posting your holiday
dates on public social networking sites.
If you're away for longer than a week,
you may want to consider paying a friend's
teenager to cut the grass, and asking a
neighbour to park one of their cars on your
driveway so the place looks occupied.
As well as plug timers that switch lights
on and oﬀ at set times, you can also buy
devices that emit light in random colours,
giving the impression that someone is at
home watching television.
- and use
should be at
the top of
list. If you
don't have an
ADVICE FROM THE METROPOLITAN POLICE
No one knows more about security
and preventing burglaries than the
police, so take note of their triedand-tested advice...
'Homeowners often make simple
mistakes when it comes to security,'
says Detective Chief Inspector John
Cushion of the Met.
'Leaving doors and windows open
is, without doubt, the most common
mistake. In communal ﬂats, never
prop the main front door open or let
someone follow you in, as burglars
use a technique called "tailgating",
where they go in behind you.
'Research shows this happens
most often in blocks of 10 or more
units, so it really helps to get to
know your neighbours. You'll then
recognise faces that come regularly
in and out of the building, and can
be cautious with those that don't.'
Many police authorities are now
providing free property marking
kits, which includes a special pen
to identify your possessions. The ink
isn't visible to the naked eye but can
be seen under ultraviolet light, and
used by the police to identify the
real owners of stolen goods.
'The problem is a lot of people
don't use these schemes,' says DCI
Cushion, 'which is silly because items
are then very easily traceable.
'Neighbourhood Watch schemes
are also very popular. They bring
the community together and create
more eyes on properties in the
Visit immobilise.com or ourwatch.
org.uk for details on these projects.
DCI Cushion adds: 'An alarm is
also a great deterrent and investment
to help keep your home secure.'
www.athomemagazine.co.uk MAY 2017 | 211