House/shed/garage burglaries have featured over the last month as the dark nights have set in.Whilst we do not want to concern residents, we would like to remind everyone of some basic home security measures which can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of burglary.
The most likely entry point for a burglar is via the rear so do not neglect security there. Fit an alarm or a dummy alarm box. Many people point out that when an alarm sounds nobody takes any notice these days. The burglar will though. Install a security light which works on a movement sensor to light up areas which a burglar may use for cover. Use timer switches to turn lights on when you are not in. Ensure any gates at the rear are locked, not just with a bolt near the top which can be opened by reaching over.
Thieves do not want to be seen and surveillance is often provided by neighbours who live opposite or who overlook your property. Do not allow bushes and hedges to grow too high.
Consider the security on your shed. Is it proportionate to the value of items you keep inside such as cycles and garden equipment? e.g. an expensive cycle stored in a wooden shed with only a £2.50 padlock for security. It is also worth noting that a burglar will sometimes use an item which is easily taken from a poorly secured shed to facilitate their entry into a house. Fit trellis along the top of fencing at the rear as this will break if a burglar tries to climb over your fence. Spiky / prickly bushes and climbers are also a deterrent.
Report all suspicious circumstances. Door-to-door salesman appertaining to be selling energy or double-glazing are often checking out and planning future burglaries or even trying their luck there and then if they get no reply to knocking. In rural communities, local residents know when someone or something looks out of place far more than in urban areas.
Join your local Neighbourhood Watch Group or start one up yourself. The role of co-ordinator does not have to be a burdensome role and your group can be as small or large as you wish. In effect the key role of a NHW co-ordinator is to act as a conduit for police information which in today’s world is literally the touch of a button. The vital part is that police have that single point of contact in as many areas as possible. NHW is proven to reduce and prevent crime and it is an initiative well suited to rural communities where traditional community spirit still exists. We would also ask for your assistance in keeping an eye on any properties where you know the occupants are away or out for whatever length of time. Our intelligence suggests that the offenders are ‘doing their homework’ in identifying properties from which to steal. If you see any suspicious activity then please call 999 if you believe a crime is about to be committed or 101 if you noted suspicious activity which has now passed. If you are able to get descriptions of persons or vehicle details without putting yourself in any danger, then that would be valuable information.
If you are planning to go away for any period of time please try to arrange someone to keep an eye on your property to put bins out and use light timers etc so your property is not obviously unoccupied.
Please remember that some nights are still frosty and to leave plenty of time in a morning to defrost your car without leaving it running unattended as this is the perfect opportunity for thieves to steal your vehicle.