When you start thinking about Home Security use these principles as your checklist. Think of your survey as peeling through the layers of an onion. Start at the outside of your premises and work your way inwards and use the system as an approach to improving security in your own home.
Target hardening is a term used to describe the process of increasing the security of a property to make it more difficult to burgle, thereby increasing the effort needed by the offender to gain entry to a property. The intended outcome is ultimately to deter the offender from burgling an individual property. It is a well established strategy within the situational crime prevention literature (Clarke, 1997; Cornish and Clarke 2003)
In plain English, Target Hardening means: "Making targets more resistant to attack, less attractive to a Burglar or making it more difficult or less rewarding to remove items. Think of a target, not only as your property, but as anything that an offender would want to steal.
Preventive methods are more effective if the offender risks being caught. Anything that slows down an offender or increases the chance of his detection is an effective method of prevention. This means that good Target Hardening increases the time it takes to enter a building and as such increases the chances of being spotted. The longer it takes to commit an offense, the more vulnerable the offender feels.
Good Quality, Modern PVC doors and windows are designed to be strong, but cost can always be an issue especially for the rented sector. Alternatively consider fitting better locks to doors and windows, repairing and reinforcing badly maintained window frames, door frames and doors. A poorly maintained exterior would be an open invitation to a burglar. You may feel that it is up to your landlord to make the necessary repairs to improve the security for their tenant so you could carry out your own security survey and show him your list of concerns, he may well agree to cover all or part of the costs involved, but experience has shown me that sadly this very rarely happens. In reality, your and your families security is your responsibility. However you can improve your situation without any cost just by being more security conscious.
The outside Survey
Go outside your property and take a long look at your household. Pretend you have locked yourself out and there is no key available, how would you get in.? No one knows your house as well as you do so, is there an insecure window around the back, is there a ladder handy for an upstairs window? Can you get a tool from the shed to force the back door ? You would be forgiven for only thinking about gaining entry with minimal damage, a burglar will not be so considerate. If you have a side gate, is it locked and if so, can you climb over it ?. Is there anything outside that would help gain access, wheelie bins make a good platform to reach lower windows. Sheds can contain lots of tools to assist the burglar forcing doors and windows so make sure the shed is secure. One tip with garden forks, spades etc is to put a cheap chain and padlock through the handles so the burglar would have to drag them all out. Shed locks and hasps should be robust and secured using nuts and bolts through the door not short wood screws. What you are trying to do is remove the means to commit the crime. Burglars don't walk the streets with crowbars and tools, they rely on finding something to use at the property.
Anything you can think of, so will the burglar, so now start to think how can you make it more difficult for them to gain access.
Finally, take a stroll up to your windows, what can you see inside, Can you see anything that would make a few pounds down the pub or Cash Converters. Simply putting valuables in a secure location or out of sight removes the temptation. PS. Take car keys to the bedroom with you (not left in a bowl by the door or on a hook nearby).
Daily Telegraph Article October 2015. Vehicle thefts where the perpetrators steal the keys in order to break into the car now account for two-thirds of the 150,000 cars that are stolen each year, according to a survey by LV, the financial mutual. In four in ten car thefts, the keys are stolen from the owners’ home during a burglary.
Once you are satisfied you have made it harder for someone to break in from the outside then start looking at the entry routes, doors and windows, from the inside. How secure is the front door. A simple yale type latch on its own is practically useless against a burglar. The door needs a mortice lock as well. More importantly if you do have a mortice lock then use it, every time you leave the house, even just for a minute down the shops and get the family to use it as well. Various window locks are available for almost every style of window and are inexpensive to fit yourself. So there is a lot you can do to reduce the risk for next to nothing, it just requires a change in your habits and your awareness of how burglars gain access.
Although the main concern on this website is to try and reduce your risk of a break in there are no guarantees as long as we have glass in windows and doors. I have seen a small garden statuette thrown through a french door of a house, with a burglar alarm and the burglar simply stepped through the hole and took an expensive laptop he could see on the table inside.
However, marking your property in some way, with UV pens, Smartwater, or similar fluids means that the object can be traced back to your house. This would put the burglar at an added risk of being caught should they try to sell it, so it would be less attractive to steal.
Hopefully I have given you an insight into burglars, burglaries, how they happen and what you can do at a basic level to reduce your exposure to the risk. If you have any questions please use the Request Info button.
ONE WORD OF WARNING
Make sure that any security measures (such as window locks) don't block your escape route in an EMERGENCY so that you can get out of the house as quickly as possible. Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. Make sure everyone in your household knows the Escape Plan.
When the House is empty Security takes precedence but when the home is occupied Safety comes first.