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Home Security: Burglary Prevention
Burglary victims often wonder why the burglar picked on their house. To find out you need to consider:
"How does a burglar's mind work?"
Burglary, on the whole, is an opportunist crime. A burglar will select his target because it offers him the best opportunity to carry out his crime undetected and with the fewest number of obstacles in his way. A building that presents itself as unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured:

  1. Side gates open
  2. Accessible windows open
  3. Ladders left out, allowing access to otherwise inaccessible windows
  4. Garden tools available to force entry
  5. Untrimmed hedges or high fences preventing natural surveillance

Each of these makes access to the building far simpler and is an indication to the prospective burglar that it's worth a second look.
Residents of multi occupancy dwellings or flats should be mindful not to grant entry to people via an entry phone system, if they do not know them, and to be cautious of people seeking to 'tailgate' them into buildings.
The question is, are the occupants in?

  1.    Milk bottles or parcels on the doorstep
  2.    Newspapers and mail in the letter box
  3.    Unlit houses after dark
  4.    All windows shut in very hot weather

These are signs telling the burglar that he is unlikely to be disturbed in the course of his work. Naturally, circumstances may arise when such situations may be unavoidable. If we can take measures that tell the burglar that this building is too difficult or too risky a target, he will hopefully move on.

To a burglar, a stuffed letter box is a dead giveaway when you’re not at home. Ask a neighbour to remove your post while you are away.
Are you leaving a thief the key to your house?

  1. Never leave a spare key concealed anywhere near the front door - burglars know all the hiding places
  2. Prevent letterbox burglaries by storing keys away from the front door
  3. Do not label your house keys in case you lose them and they fall into the wrong hands.
  4. Remove temptation
  5. Where possible, try to keep valuables out of sight from windows.

Make it look as though your house is occupied

  1. Install timers which switch lights or radios on and off automatically.
  2. Have a neighbour or friend pop round to clear your letter box or doorstep.
  3. Encourage a neighbour to park on your drive.
  4. If going out after dark, draw the curtains, leave some lights on and a radio playing.



To a burglar, a dark doorway is an opportunity to hide. Fit a security light over your front door to deter burglars.
If you are away for extended periods.

  1. Cancel the delivery of milk and newspapers
  2. Disconnect the telephone answering machine, or re-word your greeting message to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer.
  3. Enlist the help of a neighbour, friend or relative to keep a regular eye on your property and keep the front door clear of deliveries.
  4. If you are prepared to leave a key with a willing neighbour/relative, ask for curtains to be drawn and lights to be put on at night. If snow is on the ground a few footprints will make the house appear inhabited.
  5. Check your insurance policy. Some insurance policies for contents don't cover you if you are away for more than 30 days.
  6. Set your burglar alarm.
  7. If you do not have an alarm, consider investing a few pounds in a dummy alarm box. It may well deter the opportunist thief.

Remember: Remove the Opportunity - Prevent the Burglary

To a burglar, a dark house is an empty house. Attaching a timer to a lamp will make your home appear occupied even when it isn’t.
Home Security: Bogus Callers
Not all burglars break into homes - some will try to trick or con their way in. They are known as bogus callers and will pretend to be on official business from respectable concerns such as the Utility Companies - Gas, Electricity and Water - or the Council. They may claim to be tradesmen or workmen calling to carry out urgent repairs.
Bogus callers succeed because they sound believable, so don't be fooled. Make sure in your own mind that they are whom they claim to be by following these simple steps:

  1. Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.
  2. Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card with their photograph on. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone the company the caller claims to represent.
  3. The Utilities now offer a password identification system. Any caller from one of these companies should be able to give a pre-arranged password as additional proof of identity.
  4. Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere which may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice awaiting this distraction.
  5. If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don't let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return or ask the caller to contact this person.
Treat every stranger with caution. If you are still worried, immediately ask for the police.
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