January Crime Prevention Blog

Home Security by Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride

1 For my first crime prevention blog of 2019 I would like you to give your home a security check up, to take a look at your home as if you were a burglar.

How would you get in if you had to? Once you’ve done this then you need to plug these weak spots.

This is the thought process of a burglar:
- Is anyone at home?
- Are there any obvious security measures in place? Alarm? CCTV? Lights?
- Can I be seen from adjoining properties/is there any natural cover that I can use?
- Are there any valuables on display?
- Are there any tools/ladders lying about that could help me break in?
- Are there any unlocked doors or windows?
- Can I get away easily – local footpaths/track/playing field or open land adjoining?

How did you do? Is there room for improvement?
Now, I want to look at your property in layers. Imagine, if you cut an onion in half you’ll see that it’s made up of layers, from the outside to the inside. In Crime Prevention we use ‘The Onion Skin Principle’ when putting together recommendations to improve the security of a property. We start at the outer layer (the boundary) and work our way toward the centre (contents).
Consider each of the layers as identified below and look at the suggestions I’ve put forward, many of them are simple measures, no or low cost, that you can put in place to help beat the thief!

Starting at the perimeter (outer layer):
- Fencing topped with trellis – more difficult to climb/breaks easily
- Gravel traps/pebbles – noisy underfoot
- gates closed!
- Prickly plants (rip burglars pants!)
- Maintain walls/fences/hedges in good order

- Prune and maintain shrubs to maintain natural surveillance from surrounding properties
- Keep the area clean and tidy by removing debris and litter
- Don’t let shrubs grow up near the front of the house to shield a thief
- Property mark garden furniture
- Use ground anchors for valuable items
- Security lighting – dusk ‘til dawn is preferred
- Remove any items a thief could use to get into your home, such as ladders, spades, tools etc.

- Shed alarm
- Extend house alarm if attached
- Good locks
- Fasten items to each other and to the fabric of the building
- Ground anchors, Sold Secure Chains
- Mark your property with house number and postcode

- Intruder Alarm choose an approved company eg registered with NSI or SSAIB
- Plug in timers/Smart Home devices to bring on lights/radio
- Keep doors and windows locked – beat the sneak thief
- Keys – keep them safe out of the lock/out of sight but where you can get to them in an emergency
- Don’t tag keys with your address
- Consider a safe secured to floor or wall for personal papers/passports/small valuables such as jewellery
- When going on holiday – cancel deliveries
- ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
- Check who is at the door – chain and door viewer.
- Consider CCTV but ensure its coverage doesn’t extend beyond your perimeter.

- Hold good contents insurance
- Property marking postcode and house number
– keep an eye on our Neighbourhood Policing Facebook pages for property marking events.
- Make use of tracking for laptops/iPads/phones
- Keep valuables out of sight.
- Photograph valuable items – note distinguishing features and picture with a rule so an idea of scale can be provided.

Check identity of callers – if in doubt – keep them out!

If you have any information about a crime contact the police on 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.