As British Summer Time draws to a close, darker nights provide an added cover of darkness under which thieves and burglars can operate. Amanda Beesley of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – the trade body representing the UK’s private security sector – outlines five top security tips to help you step up the security of your properties this winter.
- 1. Remove the cloak of darkness
Lighting is an extremely useful security measure, especially during the dark winter period. Ensuring that vital areas of a property, for example entrance points or perimeters, are well-lit can remove the cloak of anonymity that darkness affords opportunistic criminals. Take care when positioning lighting, however, as too much lighting in the wrong areas can lead to issues, for example, a light that shines directly into a CCTV camera can impair the recordings.
- 2. Adjust time settings
For those properties benefiting from CCTV coverage, the onset of winter is an important time to perform essential checks on systems. Adjust the settings to match the change in natural lighting. For example, if your remote monitoring and lighting systems are controlled separately, the timer on the lighting must be adjusted once the clocks change. If these systems are out of sync, it could result in an unwanted gap in footage before the lighting turns on, possibly allowing for an intruder to take advantage of the darkness.
- 3. The bigger picture
During the winter months, adverse weather conditions can have a negative impact on a property’s perimeter security measures. It’s a good idea to perform regular checks to make sure fences, railings and gates have not sustained any damage, as the perimeter is your property’s first line of defence against intruders. Now is also a good time to ensure that outbuildings, e.g. sheds and garages, are tightly secured against intruders, who may be attracted by high-value tools and electrical goods stored within.
- 4. Consider vacant property
For those properties which will unfortunately be vacant over the winter period, there is lots more to take into consideration. Security, of course, is paramount, and installing shutters and grilles to doors and windows can help keep your property secure from squatters or other unwanted intruders. As well as the more obvious measures, winter time also brings other challenges to vacant properties, such as the increased risk of burst pipes. A vacant property security specialist can provide expert advice on protecting empty properties all year round.
- 5. Go back to basics
With darkness providing an added layer of protection, opportunist thieves get bolder during the winter, especially as the festive season approaches, when many households will contain valuable gift items. For this reason, now is an ideal time to remind tenants to go ‘back to basics’ with their home security measures. Ensure all doors and windows are locked – even when the property is inhabited – and put contingency measures in place for those times when the property will be unoccupied, for example, asking a neighbour to perform regular checks to the property over the festive period.
For more information on the security measures available to protect your property, or to find a reputable security supplier near you, visit the BSIA’s website at www.bsia.co.uk