Keep your home safe with police favorite spec deterrents
As part of National Home Safety Month 2022, Kenny McHugh, National Director of Secured by Design, the police’s favorite specification, looks at some simple steps everyone can take to keep their homes safe
When we’re home, we’re safe – and we want you to stay that way. So here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your home stays safe and secure.
The first thing I recommend is that you view your security through the eyes of an opportunistic criminal, who is likely to move on if the chances of being seen and overheard are too great. A visible deterrent gives criminals the first indication that you are security conscious.
What is a visible deterrent?
It’s as simple as having well-maintained front walls, fences and hedges. They should be no more than 1 meter high, to maximize surveillance and minimize hiding places to ensure criminals are visible from both the house and the street.
Alternatively, railings or palisades can be used. Hedges, trees and bushes should be trimmed regularly. As a general rule, shrubs should be bred to have a mature growth height of no more than 1 meter, and trees should have no foliage or lower branches below 2 meters.
At the back and sides of your house, higher boundaries are recommended, with a fence at least 1.8 meters high and topped with 0.3 meters of mesh to make climbing more difficult.
Side doors must be at least 1.8 meters high, sturdy and lockable. Use prickly plants, such as pyracantha or climbing roses, to protect fences, easily accessible windows and drain pipes.
During the darker months, install lighting around your property
Don’t forget that with the nights starting to roll in, it’s important that you have some lighting around your property. At the front of your property, consider installing a light that automatically turns on at dusk and turns off at dawn.
Energy efficient LED bulbs are the most energy efficient and they emit good white light. To the side and back of your property, you can install a switched light (one that you turn on and off as needed) or one that is automatically activated by heat or a motion sensor, commonly known as “PIR lights”. “.
You can find many examples online or at any local hardware store. A note of caution: when making changes or additions, consider light pollution and if this is going to impact your neighbours?
Gravel driveways or paths can be attractive and help you hear the sound of approaching footsteps. Energy-efficient dusk-to-dawn outdoor lighting at the front and back of your property will provide extra security, as thieves don’t like to be seen.
Secure all outbuildings with suitable locks
It is important that buildings of all types are physically secure to deter criminal activity and reduce crime, including sheds and outbuildings.
People often pay less attention to garages, sheds and other outbuildings, however, these are vulnerable as they are usually not very secure and also contain expensive equipment and tools that a burglar can use to help them out. enter a house.
You should therefore ensure that all exterior doors to outbuildings are of solid construction with suitable locks or a closed shackle padlock and locking bar. Consider installing non-returning screws or lag bolts on the hinges. There are external containers designed for the secure storage of mopeds, scooters, motorcycles or bicycles, and other properties that have met the police preferred specification.
Locks should be fitted to all windows in outbuildings and ideally a shed should have no windows.
Garage doors can be vulnerable and you can make them more secure by installing additional security, such as padlocks, to provide multiple locking points or by using floor locking T-bars.
If you have a door connecting the garage to the house, ensure it has the same level of security as your front door, with locks to BS 3621, or fit a door that has achieved specification favorite of the police. While it’s good to have the right lock, if the door is worn or poorly maintained, you should replace the entire door.
Remember that ladders and tools left outside can be used to help burglars break into your home. Make sure they are well secured or stored in a garage or shed.
We advise that door sets – door, frame, locks, fittings and glazing – which allow direct access to your home meet our high security standard, the preferred specification of the police.
Window and door frames must meet police preferred specification standards
Easily accessible windows, including skylights and easily accessible roof windows, must also meet the police’s preferred specification standards. Door and window frames must be securely fastened to the building structure in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and specifications.
Even the most secure doors are vulnerable if we don’t lock them – even when we’re home, lock your doors and windows. Always keep your keys handy if we need to get out quickly for any reason.
If you have decided that your property would benefit from an alarm system, you need to make sure that you are using a reputable alarm company. For information on reputable companies that supply and install security systems in your area, I recommend that you contact the following independent inspection bodies who will be able to provide you with these details – the National Security Inspectorate ( NSI) or SSAIB (Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board).
Ensure alarm systems meet police department standards
Both inspections have search functions on their websites to help you find a suitable installer and having an alarm system certified by one of the accredited independent inspection bodies will ensure you have a reliable and well-maintained system. which meets the relevant UK and EU standards and which could result in lower insurance premiums.
When installing an alarm, check that the installer is a Secured by Design accredited installer – The Secured by Design alarm standard will ensure a high quality alarm system and give you better assurance than the company Alarm installation meets the exacting standards of the Police Service.
Store your valuables in a safe when not in use
Good quality doors, windows and locks are great deterrents, but you can do even more to stop burglars and protect your valuables.
Whenever not in use, store valuables such as passports, credit cards, identity documents and jewelery in a BS EN1143 compliant safe at the appropriate level.
Your safe should be placed in an inconspicuous place where it cannot be easily discovered – ideally in an alarmed part of the house – and bolted to a wall or floor.
Property marking makes it easier for the police to find and recover your property. Register with a Secured by Design accredited property tagging system to give your valuables their own unique code, allowing them to be traced back to you – this includes valuable tools and bikes that are stored in outbuildings and garages.
Register your valuables for free in a database recognized by the police. Keep documents, such as receipts, so you can prove ownership. Take photos of all valuables, including antiques and heirlooms, which are particularly attractive to criminals.
What is the preferred font specification?
Throughout this article, I have referred to the font’s preferred specification. At Secured by Design, we work with manufacturers, the construction industry and standards authorities to ensure security standards are up to date and updated to keep pace with new crime trends.
Our Preferred Police Specification-based accreditation program has been operating for over 20 years and provides a recognized standard for all security products that are tough enough to withstand physical attack by casual and opportunistic burglars – it’s the the only way security products can gain police recognition.
There are currently several hundred companies producing thousands of attack-resistant crime prevention products that have met the police’s preferred specification. University research has repeatedly shown over the past 20 years that these quality accredited products have reduced burglaries where they have been installed.
You should therefore look for the Secured by Design logo on products or ask your supplier if they are Secured by Design.