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Even though the level of crime in the UK has been falling in recent years it is a very, very long way from zero and with around 3.7 million crimes being recorded by the police each year the reality is that opportunity for crime is ever present and regardless of what the statistics might tell us there are still plenty of people out there who won’t be able to keep their hands of your things. My challenge to you then is to make this year the year you properly secured your home.
I’m sorry to say that making an insecure home secure does not come cheap. That said, if you know what you need to do you’ll be able to make plans and, if necessary, spread the improvements over the course of the year.
First of all you’ll need some independent advice:
Getting advice from the police
Contact your local police to see if they offer home visits to advise you about security. In spite of the police budget cuts in the UK a few police services are still managing to offer this service, but you should make sure the person who is coming to see you is sufficiently qualified. Back in the ‘good old days’ the ‘Crime Prevention Officer’ or ‘Crime Reduction Officer’ would have attended a four week residential course run then by the Home Office (This is what I did). These days I believe this has been reduced to around a week together with some on-line study. If the person has only had a one or two day course then while they’ll be able to give you some general advice and perhaps let you know what’s been going on in your area (crime-wise) they probably won’t be able to provide detailed information about locks, alarms, security standards and building regulations.
Other places for advice
Calvin’s Crime Consultancy
I served thirty years in the Metropolitan Police and many of these were spent as a specialist in crime prevention. You can read about my professional experience in About the Author. In that time I visited and advised many hundreds of people about their home security needs and even wrote books and guides about the subject.
Having set up and maintained this very successful free crime prevention website I decided last year to go ‘back on the tools’ and offer an independent security consultancy service.
So what should you expect from my service?
Once you have confirmed your requirement for my services I will carry out the following tasks:
- Prior to my visit I will analyse the crime levels in your local area so we know what types of crimes are more prevalent and how the volumes compare to other areas
- I will visit you in your home and work through a number of questions so that I gain a thorough understanding of your personal circumstances
- I shall carry out a detailed inspection of the property and take photos where necessary
- During the visit I shall point out any areas of weakness I discover
- I shall prepare a written report with recommendations, which is always sent to the client by email within five working days.
- Afterwards I will be available to deal with any questions that arise from the report and to offer further guidance via the telephone and email
- As I am an independent consultant I do not recommend specific companies to carry out the work you might require, but I will point you towards trade bodies and associations to find the services you need.
- The service is independent and totally confidential
Should you require my services please use the contact page of this website. My fees will depend on the size of the property I am to inspect and the distance I shall have to travel.
The areas I currently cover are: Greater London, Surrey, West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Wiltshire.
Association of Security Consultants
The Association of Security Consultants (ASC) operates under a strict code of practice and members come from the military, police and security industry and possess a wealth of experience and expertise. This website and the ASC's website are reciprocaly linked.
Not quite independent advice
Your next possible option for advice would be to get in touch with your local Master Locksmith, some of whom will offer their services free in the hope that you will use them to provide some of the solutions. They will have expert knowledge about a wide variety of security applications, but by definition their advice won’t be wholly independent.
If you don’t want to pay for an independent consultant, would rather not use the services of a Master Locksmith and the police don’t offer the service then you could use the free service provided by this website. The Home Security Survey will take you around 15 minutes or so to complete and you’ll be sent a free security report and risk assessment score. The report will contain links to pages on the website for more detailed advice and once you’ve made some improvements you can do the survey again to see how your score has improved. Although the survey is detailed it is not the same as someone actually visiting your home, but it’s a darned sight better than working your way through a simple checklist.
Where should you start?
Although it would be great if you could carry out all the recommendations made by your chosen adviser or provided by our security report in one go, I know for most of you that won't be realistic.
So here's a suggested priority list:
- Make sure you are complying with everything that your insurers have demanded. This is a very important aspect as certain security measures will be a condition of your insurance cover
- Do those 'no' or 'low cost' items, such as locking tools away, marking your property, closing and locking the doors and windows properly, not displaying the contents of your home to the street by using blinds and nets etc.
- Do what you can to make your place look occupied when it's not, such as buying some timers or 'dusk to dawn' sensors for your lights and following the Holiday Checklist should you be away for a few days.
- Look at the things you can do to reduce access to the more vulnerable parts of your dwelling, such as improving the fences or maybe erecting a gate to the front of the side drive.
- Check that the garden is free of tools and other things that could be used to force open a door or window. Lock these things away in a secure shed or other outbuilding.
- Do consider purchasing an intruder alarm, which the British Crime Survey (Now the Crime Survey for England and Wales) finding strongly suggests is an effective deterrent and consider installing some CCTV cameras some of which can work in conjunction with your alarm
- If you're thinking about replacing your doors and windows, do get ones that are certificated to the enhanced security standards (e.g. PAS 24: 2012/16).
- One you've followed a few of the recommendations carry out another survey to see how your risk assessment score has changed
Updated July 2017