With the start of 2018 you may wish to consider a New Year’s resolution with regards to your home security.
Your garden could be a valuable picking ground for any criminal research shows
Garden furniture, plants and children's toys can be easy pickings for thieves as the days get lighter. With the contents of the average British garden now worth almost £2,000, it's important to ensure your garden is secure.
By having a secure boundary this will help reduce the risk to your property and help prevent attempts for forcing entry via the back of your property which is normally more secluded than the front.
This guide explains how to maximize your garden security with gates, locks and lights.
Create a fence
Your garden should be the first line of defence from burglars, so it's important to install strong fences or gates surrounding your patch.
Ideally any gates, fencing, walls or hedges at the FRONT of your house should not be more than 1.2m (4ft), so the front of your property can be seen by passers-by.
A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall or fence at the BACK of your house is usually enough. However, if there is public access on the other side you should increase the height to 2m (6ft 6inches). Normally anything higher requires planning permission.
You can increase the height of fences with trellis fixed to the top, as this is difficult to climb over. Planting prickly plants or a hedge, such as firethorn, climbing rose or hawthorn, around the perimeter of your garden can also be a deterrent against burglars.
If there is an access point to your garden at the side of the house you should have a strong lockable gate. Use Sold Secure and Secure by Design products such as the Gate Mate on the garden gates, which should be at least the same height as your fence with hinges securely attached to the gateposts.
Don't tempt thieves by leaving your valuable possessions lying around on display in your garden, there may be plenty on offer for light fingers.
Garden tools should be secured a way from view, this could be used to force entry in to your property. Never leave a ladder in your garden as this could be used by a thief to climb into an upstairs window. Similarly gardening equipment lying around as this could be used to smash your windows. Children’s toys, paddling pools, lawn mowers and bikes should all be stored inside at the end of the day. Bulky items such as large gas barbecues or furniture should be covered up.
Bolt down furniture
Beware that garden furniture and wheelie bins can be used to climb on and access upstairs windows. Use chains to anchor garden furniture to the ground, or at least position these items away from the house. You could also put bricks or stones in the bottom of patio tubs to make them more difficult for thieves to carry. (Chains and Padlock should be to Sold Secure Silver)
Mark your territory, valuable items such as furniture and ornaments with your postcode, followed by your house number also register them on https://www.immobilise.com or use forensic marking so if the item is stolen, there is more chance of you being reunited with your possessions.
You should also keep photos of your garden valuables in case anything is stolen or vandalised, as this will help when dealing with the police and your insurer.
Smart Water https://www.smartwater.com/security/
Don't forget that lighting for your garden is very important, especially in areas near to doors and windows. Choose lights that can be triggered by light so that it comes on automatically from dusk to dawn. Hi-Lo LED lights offer a good light coverage and have low running costs.
If you do not have an intruder alarm then we would recommend that you consider having one installed, we cannot endorse specific companies for fitting your home security system - it just wouldn't be fair. However, we can do is recommend things to look for that ensure your security installer is competent. So please look at the information below:
'Talk with us as your local Designing Out Crime Officers, your insurance company to sort out what kind of alarm is best for you. Companies registered with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) will be able to help you.'
Can you provide any information relating to the following incidents/activities? If so, please let the Police know on 101 quoting the appropriate incident number (in bold).
Please do not reply to my email address directly as this is only monitored once a week.
WOKING incidents in the past period.
Wednesday 3 January 18:00 – Thursday 4 January 08:45 – 45180001326 – vehicle parked outside property in Ashwood Road, Woking.
Vehicle Crime. Self-locking Range Rover with keyless entry opened by offender using hacking device. Wallet stolen from inside the vehicle.
Thursday 4 January 18:00 – 45180001467 – property in Board School Road, Woking.
Burglary. Unknown male has entered victims flat, asked to borrow some money, and before she could respond, has taken £50 from her purse and walked out.
Thursday 4 January 14:00 - 18:00 – 45180001505 – property in Common Close, Woking.
Burglary. The rear patio door of the property had been smashed. A tidy search had taken place upstairs. The curtains have been drawn in the upstairs front bedroom. Two female rings have been stolen from the master bedroom.
Thursday 4 January 15:00 - 19:30 – 45180001540 – property in Silver Birch Close, West Byfleet Woking.
Burglary. The offenders have gained access by jumping the side gate of the property using the guttering for support which has subsequently broken. The side window to the property is vented and has been forced open. An untidy search has been conducted of the house. Multiple jewellery boxes have been discarded and rifled through with jewellery missing as well as digital cameras.
Thursday 4 January 17:00 – 45180001568 – property in Board School Road, Woking.
Burglary. 3 white males have walked in to an elderly woman’s flat, distracted her, and taken £350 in cash from her desk draw. Victim was not hurt.
Friday 29 December 11:00 - Tuesday 2 January 08:00 – 45180001570 – Coign Church in Church Street West, Woking. .
Burglary. Break in and entry of the Church - doors have been damaged, search followed but nothing has been taken.
Friday 5 January 09:30 - 45180001788 – Multi Story Car Park, Peacock Centre. Woking.
Criminal damage. Green paint has been used as graffiti on every landing level of car park. Potential repair costs £23,000.
Tuesday 2 January 17:30 – Wednesday 3 January. 45180001941 – Youth Centre – Goldsworth Park Centre.
Arson - Large scale arson caused at a Youth Centre, causing substantial damage to roof and infrastructure.
Friday 5 January 18:50 –22:20 - 45180001962 – outside property in Woodside Close, Woking.
Vehicle Crime. A black Vivaro Vauxhall Van broken into and tools missing analyser in a suitcase value £800 stolen.
Friday 5 January 13:00 –Saturday 6 January 08:00 - 45180002040 – outside property in Brookfield, Goldsworth Park, Woking.
Vehicle Crime. Both index plates of Vauxhall Vectra stolen.
Monday 1 January 06:00 –Friday 5 January 20:00 - 45180002053 – outside property in Church Road, West Byfleet, Woking.
Vehicle Crime. Theft of front index plate and badge from a white Mercedes GLC.
Saturday 6 January 22:49 - 45180002227 – property in Broadoaks Crescent, West Byfleet, Woking.
Burglary. Home owner has returned home to find front door lock damaged and jemmy marks to front door. No entry gained to premises.
Sunday 7 January 14:00 – Monday 8 January 20:30 – 45180002913 – bike racks in Oriental Road, Woking
Theft. The black BMX boys bike with chrome wheels and red trim on the tyres was attached with a padlock to the bike racks. The padlock has also been taken.
Monday 8 January 18:30 – Tuesday 9 January 07:00 – 45180003147 – parked outside property in Brewery Road, Woking
Vehicle Crime – Having gained entry to vehicle and stolen purse containing bank cards, driving licence and other items. Bank cards has subsequently been used to make contactless transactions.
Wednesday 10 January 11:00 - 13:00 – 45180003523 – property in Elm Road, Woking
Burglary. Offenders gained entry through side gate and forced entry to side window. An intruder alarm was activated but offenders conducted untidy search removing jewellery and watches.
Going on Holiday?
About to start your holidays this weekend? We'd love it if you help us make sure your house isn't tempting to thieves whilst you are away.
You'd think it goes without saying to lock up houses & sheds properly (but you'd be surprised how many break-ins are through open doors or windows!) but check out our top tips here https://goo.gl/KFjri2
Please share to keep your friends and family's home safe too.
As well as the above
- Don’t discuss holiday plans in front of strangers
- Don’t post details on social media
- Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries
- Mow the lawn and tidy the garden
- Ask someone to collect your mail
- Give a trusted neighbour contact details if necessary
- Ask your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme to keep an eye on your property
- When travelling, don’t display your home address on your luggage tags.
Keeping your bicycle safe
- Store your bike in a locked shed or garage
- Take photos of your bike including one of the serial number then register it on immobilise.com
- Mark or tag your bike
- If you need to leave your bike outside use a good lock, hardened steel
- D-locks are recommended, remove the saddle or front wheel and detach any lights or equipment.
Top tips for keeping your home safe and secure
Homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures.
Taking just a few steps can make a big difference in keeping your home safe from burglary. Here are a few tips:
- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
- Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook and remove keys through the letterbox)
- Install a visual burglar alarm
- Install dusk to dawn outside lighting
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
- Leave lights on in your house or on a timer to make the property appear occupied
- Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
- Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
- Keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
- Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
- Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
- Mark your property with a forensic marking product and register your property with Immobilise
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows
- Store any high value items (i.e. jewelry, passports) in a correctly installed safe
Doors and windows
In many burglaries, criminals break into a house or flat through a door, either by forcing the lock or breaking it in. So make sure your doors are strong and secure. Consider fitting a bar which is available for both lock and hinge side for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do this. Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a film that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break.
Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows. Fit window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach from outside.
Reducing garage, shed and garden crime
- Use good quality fixings and a padlock to secure doors
- Use anti-tamper screws in door hinges
If possible, lock any windows
- Fit a mains or battery powered alarm
Use a forensic coding product to 'property mark' all valuable tools and equipment with your postcode/house number
- If possible, secure lawnmowers and other valuable equipment to a shed or garage wall
- Lock tools away when you aren't using them.
The majority of burglaries that are committed occur at the rear of properties. For this reason it is important to deter access into your back gardens. Gates should be closed and locked at all times when not in direct use. Deter the scaling of gates and fences by adding trellis to the tops of them. Please make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked when not in direct use. Please don’t think that because you are only popping out for a moment that it won’t happen to you!
Consider the installation of an intruder alarm in your home. Any alarm installed should conform to standard BS EN 50131 and should be fitted by a company that is NSI (National Security Inspectorate) or SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board) approved. Details of such companies can be found at www.nsi.org.uk or www.ssaib.co.uk
Cars in winter
Frosty Mornings have arrived, Surrey Police would like to remind motorists not to leave their vehicles with the keys in the ignition while the vehicles defrost. Thieves are known to target residential areas on cold and frosty mornings looking for cars where the owner has started the engine to defrost the windscreen and then returned inside, leaving the car unattended.
• If you have a garage, always put the car away at night. This not only keeps the car frost-free but also out of sight of would be car thieves.
• Always remove keys from the ignition, even if you are leaving your car, just to open a garage door. It only takes a thief a few seconds to jump in and drive away.
• Cover your windscreen the night before a frost is forecast. This will shorten the amount of time it takes to clear the windscreen.
• Ensure you have the required de-icing materials available.
• Stay with your car while it is defrosting. You may even consider taking a cup of tea out with you while you wait.
• Make sure you allow yourself longer in the morning to get ready if frost or snow has been forecast the night before.
• Motorists should also be aware that some motor insurance policies become invalid, or the cover reduced, if a car is stolen as a result of keys being left in the ignition.
Following this advice will help protect yourself, your vehicle(s) and others from harm on our roads this winter.
Community Engagement Volunteer - Woking