Outside SECURITY ADVICE
External Boundary & Site
Property boundaries should be maintained and repaired and must not provide footholds for climbing.
If possible the area in front of premises should be kept open so that any intruder is as visible as possible to passers-by and neighbours. Hedges and shrubs should be kept below 1m in height within the front garden and the lower branches of taller trees and shrubs removed to a height of 2m.
Flowerbeds in front of possible house entry points and/or adjacent to boundaries discourage trespassers and can define ownership.
If possible the rear garden should be separated from the front with fences and gates to a height of at least 2m and access to the rear restricted. Similar fences should be used on the boundaries to the rear garden. A high wall, or a thorny hedge or climbing plant can be a useful deterrent. The gates should be lockable by sash, mortice or padlock and should be see through to maintain natural surveillance.
Most burglaries occur out of sight at the rear of the building, so the aim should be to make it as difficult as possible for intruders to get in (and out) of this area. Front entry burglaries are much rarer, especially if the front of the house is open to view.
Care must be taken that any deterrents used are reasonable under the circumstances and they do not pose an unnecessary physical risk to any persons (including intruders). The occupier may be held responsible for any injury caused (Property Occupiers Liability Act 1984). There may also be local Bye-Laws prohibiting the use of measures such as barbed or razor wire.
Good lighting can deter a thief. Security lighting is usually more effective at the rear of the premises but can be useful and convenient at the front, especially if it can cover a car parked in the drive, or within the curtilage of the property.
Security lights may be operated by passive infra red detectors. They should be correctly adjusted to maximise effectiveness but to minimise nuisance operation.
Alternatively use timer switches or automatic low-light detectors.
‘Up and Over’ garage doors can be vulnerable. They should be secured with two good quality (BS362111980) mortice type locks, one either side at either the upper or lower corners of the door. Alternatively, a stout padlock and padbar can be used in addition to an existing lock.
Sheds, Greenhouses & Outbuildings
Greenhouses are very difficult to secure to a good standard. Garden tools are very often used by burglars to effect entry into a building. Garden sheds should be anchored to the ground and of solid construction, well maintained, and should not be used for the storage of valuable items.
Glazing to the garage, shed and outbuildings should be covered, or screened internally and be of shatter proof material, e.g. polycarbonate.
Secure doors to sheds and outbuildings either with a good quality rim or mortice lock (made to BS3621) or alternatively, if the door is not strong, fit a substantial hasp, staple and close shackle padlock.
In all cases, ensure that exposed hinges cannot be easily unsecured (replace at least one screw in each hinge with a coach bolt.
Where accessible glazed areas are not of laminated glass, the existing glass can be reinforced by the application of transparent security film available from glaziers.
The structure of all doors and windows (including frames) should be maintained to an acceptable standard. Repair where necessary.
Most insurance companies require the fitting of deadlocks complying with BS362111980, or equivalent.
Final exit doors (i.e. the door usually locked from the outside) should have the following security features:
a) Three substantial hinges
b) Two hinge bolts
c) Ideally glazing should be of laminated glass or reinforced glazing
d) Dead locking rimlock to BS362111980
e) Mortice lock to BS362111980
f) Door viewer, if no glazing
g) Door chain
h) London bar, to strengthen door frame.
Non-final exit doors require:
a) Three substantial hinges
b) Two hinge bolts
c) Ideally glazing should be of laminated glass or reinforce existing glazing
d) Mortice sash lock to BS362111980
e) Two mortice rack bolts
f) London bar to reinforce door frame
g) Door viewer if no glazing.
Sliding patio doors can be a particular risk. If any such door can be easily lifted from its runners, the overhead clearance should be reduced by fixing a strip of wood or plastic or a suitable proprietary product. Any door not already fitted with a multi-point locking system should be fitted with patio door locks (also known as anti-lift locks) top and bottom.
French doors should be secured by two key operated rack bolts to British Standard 362111980 to the top and bottom of the first closing door.
The second door should be secured by a minimum of one British Standard 3621 five lever sash lock. Glazing should be laminated. As these doors tend to be outward opening double hinge bolts should be provided on each side.
If the property is accessible from a communal area the final exit door from the property should have the ability to be opened from the inside without the use of a key, to aid escape in the event of a fire. The European equivalent standard for locks EN12209.
All ground floor windows, fanlights and easily accessible upper floor windows that can be reached (by climbing, etc.) should be fitted with two window locks operated by removable keys.
Windows constructed of modern proprietary materials should be secured by key operated locks to the insurance company’s recommendations and should have removable keys. These locks may need to be installed by the original window manufacturer or by a qualified locksmith.
Potential Risk Areas
Strong trelliswork and some climbing plants, attached to the house wall can e climbed. Ladders should be locked away or permanently secured to prevent use.
Drainpipes and other structures attached to the house shell can be used to gain access to upper windows or flat roofs etc. Coating them with anti-climb paint above 2m from the ground is a useful deterrent.
Flat and shallow pitched single storey roofs can provide access to upper floor openings.
Intruder alarms can be considered, but only after the above recommendations are in place. Alarms provide additional protection but do not replace basic security measures. Burglars can be deterred by visible alarms (or dummy boxes).
There are a number of different alarm system types. Insurance companies may have different requirements and should be consulted.
Discounts may be offered.
The Police have adopted the “Association of Chief Police Officers Policy 1998” towards alarms and their response to them. Details of this policy may affect the choice of system if police monitoring is required.
Alternatives to a monitored alarm system include the use of dummy boxes, a DIY alarm system, a “bells only” system (i.e. not monitored) which may be upgraded to a full monitored system at a later date.
Neighbourhood Watch has a proven deterrent value and can be reflected in the insurance industry’s premium level and weighting.
The local Police can advise and give information on local schemes.
Home contents insurance policies may require a minimum standard of security.
Tell-tale signs of absence -milk bottles newspapers, dustbin bags, etc., should always be removed.
An intruder will seldom tackle a house that is obviously (or apparently) occupied.
The aim should be to make the property appear occupied at all times.
The use of timer switches with a lamp and a radio give the impression someone is at home. For best effect timers should be fitted in separate areas of the house and synchronised so that when one goes off another switch on. A radio tuned to a talk channel can give the impression of occupation.
Valuable property should be postcoded, adding house number or initials. Details in this form are unique. The cheapest method is the use of an ultra violet security marker pen.
Items too small to mark in this way should be photographed.
Video recording of contents can be provided to insurance companies or police and also used as an aid to memory.
Valuable items can be kept in a small safe following consultation with your insurers.
All residents should know where door keys are stored in case of fire or other emergency. Keys should not be left in locks or easily accessible areas.
New occupiers should change all unique locks and keys.
A high percentage of car crimes occur from vehicles within a property curtilage or close by. All valuables should be removed, and steering locks and immobilisers fitted and employed as appropriate. Ideally the vehicles should be parked in a secure garage, and if this is not possible covered by security or permanent lighting.
Motor cycle theft is much higher than with most other vehicles. Such vehicles should be locked and secured to a non-removable fixing by padlock (proprietary devises are also available). Immobilisers and alarms should also be fitted.
Bicycles, if stored in an outbuilding, should be secured to a non-removable fixing in the outbuilding concerned and preferably to the structure itself. The bicycles should be identifiable, ideally by postcode.