As the summer months approach, many tenants will be planning to lock up and leave their property for a longer than usual period of time. When a property is vacant for some time, it is important to ensure that basic security measures are in place to protect your property and your tenants’ possessions. Amanda Beesley of the British Security Industry Association – the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry – explains.
Figures from the British Crime Survey show that households with less than basic security measures in place were considerably more likely to have been victims of burglary than those households with basic or enhanced home security measures. Home security should make the burglar’s job too difficult, time-consuming, noisy or risky, compared to alternative targets.
Your local Police Crime Reduction Officer will give you information and advice on home security and may make a personal visit. BSIA members will also give advice on how to secure your home and the best security measures for your property.
By following the tips below, you can secure your home and have increased peace of mind.
• Physical security measures are the very backbone of your home’s security. Ensure you fit good quality five-lever mortise locks to your doors. Fit locks to your windows, especially those that are on the ground floor or are accessible, for example, from a flat roof. Remember that your garage or shed will also need a quality lock in order to protect its contents.
• Doors should be strong and in good condition, ensure that you fit a door that complies with British Standard PAS 24-1 ‘Doors of Enhanced Security’.
• Fencing and gates should be substantial and well-maintained, with locks fitted on entrances to a property.
• Security lighting can deter a thief from trespassing onto a property and can draw attention to an incident if a crime is taking place.
• A basic, monitored intruder alarm will make a real impact on deterring a criminal from entering a property and alert a monitoring centre if an alarm is triggered. Your BSIA installer will advise you as to which system best meets your needs. Alarms should meet the European Standard for intruder alarms, EN50131-1, and should be maintained on a regular basis.
• Many intruder alarms will have a ‘chime’ feature which can alert you to an intruder in the home if you are, for example, in the garden. Portable panic alarms are also available which can trigger your alarm from your garden if a problem occurs.
• Ensure that your possessions are marked with an asset marking system and registered on a secure database. Property marking can deter opportunist theft and also means that if a burglary does take place and your possessions are recovered, they can be returned to you.
• Remember that the contents of your rubbish can put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Shred any documents that have personal details on them, including those which simply contain your name and address.
One of the most important factors when considering your home’s security is ensuring that all your security measures have been sourced from professional companies that provide quality products and services. Details of all BSIA members, who comply to strict quality standards, can be found on the BSIA’s website.