Building a Safer Home Environment
People expect to feel safe and secure in their own homes and statistically the likelihood of a physical encounter with an intruder is low. The chances of such an event happening can be reduced by installing appropriate security devices. This will increase the level of protection in the home, and potential risks to personal safety can be further minimized by observing sensible security practices. While presented with the safety of women in mind, these suggestions can equally apply to any householder. The advice concentrates on those issues relating to personal safety.
General Security Precautions:
- It is unwise to leave door keys under a flowerpot, mat in a letterbox or similar hiding place. Burglars find them.
- Be wary of leaving keys with trades people – keys can be copied. Items left lying around such as ladders, tools, gardening implements, lawnmowers and bicycles, can attract a criminal onto the property, and some of the items may be used to gain entry.
- Open garage doors and open windows can also be attractive to criminals. Windows should have security fittings, particularly if left open.
- If you are at home and leave any exterior doors open or unlocked, consider that a prowler could take the opportunity to gain easy access.
- If you arrive home and you think there has been a burglary, do not enter, an intruder may still be inside. Go to a neighbour and telephone the Police.
- When arriving home alone it can be a good idea to carry a personal or remote alarm for your car or house. If your safety is threatened you can easily activate your alarm.
- Carry your house keys in your hand for quick entry if needed.
- It is important not to overlook potential fire hazards when considering home security practices. The installation of smoke alarms and availability of fire extinguishers are ways you can reduce the risk of a serious fire occurring in your home
- Be aware that large shrubs, plants or very high fencing can provide a place for prowlers to hide.
- Thorny plants along fence lines can discourage prowlers from climbing over, and having fully enclosed fencing with a gate creates a barrier. Prowlers are less likely to target such a property with restricted access and restricted escape routes.
- Ensure your house number can be clearly seen from the road at all times. Visibility of a street number at night is important for Police and other services responding to any emergency.
- Many people choose to display their names on letterboxes and doorplates. A woman living alone might consider using her initials rather than identifying gender by use of her first name.
- Consider fitting exterior sensor lights to deter prowlers. If returning home at night and sensor light installed near the front door will provide good visibility of the surrounding area.
- Joining Neighbourhood Watch and displaying Neighbourhood Watch, Beware of Dog and burglar alarm signs, can discourage criminal activity.
A home that has security features will increase the level of protection against intrusion. Basic measures to follow to increase security are:
- Fitting deadlocks to outer doors and internal access garage doors.
- Fitting lockable bolts to sliding doors and French doors.
- Fitting door viewers and security chains
- Installing burglar alarm.
- Having a panic button for the burglar alarm in your bedroom.
- Having a light switch within reach of your bed and a telephone with a list of emergency contact numbers.
- Replacing any hollow external doors with solid core ones fitted into sturdy framing, or installing security screen doors on the outside.