The Crime Prevention Website


Monday 12th November 2012

Newsletter Number 3

Dear Friend in Crime Prevention

Thank you for taking this third Newsletter from The Crime Prevention Website.

It's been  several weeks since the last Newsletter was issued, a little longer than I was planning, but I sort of forgot I was going on holiday which somewhat mucked up my plans and I've been doing a fair bit of consultancy work to keep the wolves at bay.  So, there's my excuses and it's out now and as the months progress we hope to reduce the interval between issues to around 5 to 6 weeks.

If your friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances would like to receive the Newsletter hot off the press then please ask them to sign up for it at this link. If you write a Newsletter for Neighbourhood Watch or you run a website then do feel free to use the content of this letter with the usual acknowledgements.

The Crime Prevention Website – how are we doing?

Visitor numbers   

On 7th October 2012 we celebrated 6 months since launch! Over that time we saw a gradual, but steady increase in daily visitor numbers and as of 7th October we'd received 20,430 visits and 64,769 page views. Our goal to exceed 40,000 visits and 120,000 page views in the first 12 months seems to be on target.  Well, now it's 12th November and we've already gone well past 25,000 visits, so that target is most definitely going to be reached.  Thank you to all of you who've promoted the site – it's really appreciated.

Links to The Crime Prevention Website

Although we haven't been approaching other websites for reciprocal links during the past couple of months (we've been doing other things) other organisations have been approaching us for a link or our website address has been shared on a few forums. Consequently this has resulted in a further 9 websites being added to our Partners Page. Visitors who come to us from partnering websites spend twice as long on our site as other visitors, so these sites are very important to us.

Neighbourhood Watch and Community Sites
Belsize Village Community site and Neighbourhood Watch Central London (I used to police this area, so I'm dead pleased about this new association with an area I know quite well)
High Garrett Community Association Essex

Other referring websites
British Parking Association and Park Mark® Having been a Crime Prevention Design Adviser in the police service I am very familiar with the Park Mark® scheme and how it works and of course I'm a keen supporter.  I would urge you to use these security assessed car parks when one is available, so if you're visiting a new place and are wondering where to park safely you should plan ahead and search to find the local Park Mark® accredited car park.

Crime in multi-storey car parks? That is wrong on so many levels! (Tim Vine, British Comedian)

Forums and News mentions
Pistonheads What can I say?  Somebody calling themselves 'SVS' happened to mention The Crime Prevention Website on one of the Pistonheads forums and provided the link.  As a consequence we had an extra 750 visits to the site over a weekend and 200+  Home Security Surveys completed, which will help to make the survey results that much more significant. A big thank you to the Pistonhead Community!!

North Cyprus Forum My oldest friends retired to The Republic of Northern Cyprus some 7 years ago and each year my wife and I pop out to visit them and their many expat neighbours. Although the housing designs and layouts are somewhat different from the way we do things in the UK, the crime prevention principles are essentially the same and I am therefore very pleased that the expat community out there now have access to and are using The Crime Prevention Website.

The Volvo Club, West London Chat and The Student Room are all forums that have been sending additional traffic to us during the past couple of months.

I say this each time, but linking between websites is really important to us, not just for generating visitor traffic, but also to share experience and knowledge between different communities.  If you run a website or have some influence on its management do please consider a reciprocal link with us as both our sites will benefit.  It's easy to link, just visit our link page to see how. Make sure the link is easy to find and preferably no more than one click away from the home page.

Search ranking

We have maintained our page 1 Google ranking for the words 'crime prevention' and have been slowly improving our ranking for the words 'home security', appearing around pages 5 to 8 now instead of between pages 20 and 27!  For the first time we can boast about being well above Tommy Walsh's Top Home Security Tips!!  Nice guy, that Mr Walsh, but I always thought his thing was outdoor buildings and MDF – I didn't know he was a security expert. The 'home security' search takes the enquirer to our Home Security Survey page rather than our Home page, which we're rather pleased about and is probably one of the reasons why there has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of surveys being taken.   

Website Updates 

Lots of minor updates to pages have been made, particularly: Letter plates (letter boxes) and mail delivery to take account of the new Door and Hardware Federation's Technical Specification TS 009:2012 for external letterboxes.

The new Partners page is becoming more populated and medals are being awarded!

The Home Security Survey – the results 

With the massive surge from the Pistonhead Community the number of completed home security surveys is now stands at 937.  The 'average' score has fallen from 62 to 60.7 out of 100, which probably reflects the changing character of the person completing the survey – i.e. neighbourhood watch members who have completed the survey, who you would expect to have a good level of home security, are becoming a smaller proportion of the total.

This time I've used the data from the survey to look at single leaf doors used as main entrance doors, side doors and back doors just to see how we're securing them. The findings may be useful to use for your own Neighbourhood Watch or Community Newsletters/Websites. Do let us know if you use any of the findings.

So, how are we locking our doors?
The table below shows a comparison between single leaf doors located either on the front, side or rear of the dwelling. The figures in the table are percentages.  Just in case it isn't clear, 6% of side doors are 'enhanced security doors certified to PAS 24' and 6% of back doors are 'fitted with a non BS mortice lock only'.





Main entrance Door (Mainly located to Front)

Side Door

Back Door

An enhanced security door certified to PAS24-2007/2012




Fitted with a multipoint locking system




Main entrance Fitted with a BS3621, BS8621 or BS10621 mortice deadlock and night latch

Side/Back Fitted with a BS3621, BS8621 or BS 10621 mortice sashlock and additional key operated bolts




Main entrance Fitted with a non BS mortice deadlock and night latch

Side/Back Fitted with a non BS mortice sashlock and additional key operated bolts




Main entrance Fitted with a night latch only

Side/Back Fitted with a non BS mortice sashlock only




Locked, but not as above




The findings of this part of the security questionnaire are interesting for people like me (who should get out more), but they do raise a rather important question about replacement doors, which I will come to in a moment.

First of all though, if we assume that most of the enhanced security doorsets use a multi-point locking system, the figures are showing us that 50% of main entrance doors and 60% of side and rear doors have multi-point locking.  Now this is a good finding, so long as the thief doesn't know too much about attacking door cylinders and door furniture and the resident has remembered to engage the locks properly.

The question though is why, since so many people have replaced their doors for ones with multi-point locking, have so few of them gone for the PAS 24 enhanced security doorsets, which have been available for at least 15 years?

Well, there are lots of reasons, and I'll attempt to propose a few answers by way of asking myself some questions (I'm sure this is a medical condition)

The public don't know that enhanced secure doors even exist, do they?
I suspect that this is the main reason why the public are not buying these doors and is why I have a huge banner on my website's home page asking the question 'What doors should I buy?'

Is the police service promoting the use of enhanced security doorsets?
Well, you'd think they would be, but sadly this is not always the case. In January this year (2012), as part of my research to support this website, I conducted an assessment of all the police website crime prevention pages and disappointingly found that 35 of the 55 sites (64%) did not mention the fact that you could purchase enhanced secure doors (or windows). This means that some victims of crime, who were seeking advice from these police websites, would not have known about enhanced secure doorsets and some would have ended up replacing like with like.

Former police colleagues have pointed out to me that one of the problems with crime prevention advice on police websites is that a lot of the information was and more likely is now prepared by IT staff and not the expert crime prevention people.  That's a fair point and I can indeed point to some excellent sites where the crime prevention specialists have very obviously been involved, such as Essex Police and Thames Valley Police. However, these are in the minority and I do hope that my police crime prevention readers will be able to find the time to examine the content of their police websites and make the necessary changes and additions.

Is the door manufacturing/replacement industry promoting the security standard?
I don't think it is and if it is then I ain't getting the message. I have never seen an advert on the TV promoting the enhanced security standard for doors, even by the likes of Everest who do supply them. Nor do I see any adverts in the press being specific about security and highlighting the security standard.

So what about the internet?  Is the industry doing a better job on that medium?
Well, I sort of get a 'yes' and 'no' answer to this one.  I searched Google using the words 'secure', 'replacement', 'front' and 'door' and of the 36 results on the first two pages – and this included the adverts – I found many companies talking about how wonderfully secure their doors were, even though many of them were talking utter nonsense and their products were clearly not certificated to the relevant standard of PAS 24! There were five companies who were claiming they held PAS 24 certification and one of these was a police Secured by Design badge holder (So well done 'Soundcraft' for coming up in that search!). Oh, and there was one company claiming certification to the European Security Standard of EN1627 (If you ever chose to have a door to this standard make sure it's fitted with a kite marked anti-bump cylinder and door furniture that will prevent access to the snap the cylinder.) 

So, at the end of this little search, I reached the conclusion that the public would find all this very confusing and would understandably not want to go down the road of buying a PAS 24 door.

You may say “Ah yes, but you didn't use the term 'PAS 24' in your search, which would have given the public more help”.  That's a fair point and on my second search I did and surprisingly the results weren't hugely better.  Out of the 29 results, six companies came up as suppliers/manufacturers of PAS 24 doors and the rest of the results were lock companies, door companies not supplying PAS 24 doorsets, trade associations, Secured by Design and guess who -!

I think it's also fair to point out that for a manufacturer to achieve PAS 24 on their doorset represents a huge investment for research and development, testing and certification and if the general public don't know about the standard and are not requiring them then why should they bother. The main demand for them comes from builders of social housing where they are required by the Housing Associations to comply with the police Secured by Design project. But even here things are tight, with house building at very low volumes now and for the next couple of years.  See AMA Research's summary of their report Domestic Replacement Door and Window Market Report - UK 2012-2016

Enhanced security doors are too expensive?
The door in the picture is my new porch door, which is a PAS 24 composite doorset for which I paid £700 (Fitted). I could have bought a cheaper non PAS 24 UPVC door for less than £300, but it would not have looked or locked as good!

In case you're interested, builders buying lots of PAS 24 doorsets for a big development buy them in for around £350 to £450 each.

Price will affect purchase decisions, especially in the financial climate we're currently in and so price has something to do with it.

Incidentally, the yellow sign in the window tells trades people not to knock on my door. It's not mine, but you can download a copy of this sign from here. In a couple weeks I will have produced my own 'crime prevention website' notice that says much the same thing.

And while we're staring at my fine figure of a front door notice too that it doesn't have a letter plate. Instead I have a lockable letter box to the right of the door.  If you want to know why I've done this then do follow this link to find out.

The pair of lamps work off a solar switch to the right of the porch (out of picture) and their design ensures that most of the light is directed down and away from the fitting and not upward like most globe fittings.....Right!....back to the subject......

Are locksmiths recommending PAS 24 doorsets?
When a locksmith visits a burglary victim and finds that the forced door is beyond repair do they obtain a timber door blank and fit their preferred locks or do they recommend that their client obtains a PAS 24 replacement?  Hmm.... I wonder what happens.

Do insurance companies recommend them?
No, not normally, and actually I think the insurance industry could do a lot more to promote the standard.  In fact I think I'll drop them and the Master Locksmiths Association a line and report back to you in the next Newsletter.

Next time I shall take a brief look at windows as well...

Crime in the news 

We've posted quite a lot of news items onto our news blog these past few weeks and rather than regurgitate the detail again in this Newsletter I've provided the headlines and links to just a few that attracted the most (or least!) comment.  Please copy and paste into your newsletters as you see fit, but do show the origin and original authors.

Bike thefts recorded by police rise 6%
Although a worrying trend I was surprised at the low numbers of readers, but then again we were in the middle of August and summer hols and so my visitor numbers were down a bit.

Greater Manchester Police use balloons to reduce burglary!
This amusing story was popular with readers, but ably demonstrated a very serious message about leaving windows open during hot weather (did we have any of that last summer?)

Police and Crime Commissioners elections – new website
One of my least visited stories and I think the government should be worried about this. Today I heard the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sara Thornton, talking about her concerns for low turnouts for these elections.  We could end up with some right nutters and extremists being elected if we're not careful. I live in London so we're not involved in these elections as we've already got the Mayor, and look what happened to the Commissioner who was in post prior to his election.

Down my way. Is Google Street View helping or hindering criminals?
I got some good feedback on this story via email and a couple of phone calls and maybe you should revisit this story to see what I was saying 

A right to bash the burglar or a conference headline grabber?
By far the most visited news story was this one from the Conservative Party conference where Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced he was to change the law “at the first opportunity” to give stronger legal safeguards to those who use force to protect their family or property.  This subject is guaranteed to get us all worked up and I added a few useful comments! 

Crime in England and Wales: Year ending June 2012
And October was brought to an end on my website's news pages with a link to the latest crime data for England and Wales, which always attracts a lot of interest, and quite right too.

Down my way

I could not believe it!!  Graffiti on someone's bush!!

At two locations not far from where I live the same vandal managed to spray graffiti over two box hedges.  (Thanks to one of my supporters, Sharon Brayford, for this first photo)

Fortunately a quick trim of the bush is all that's needed, but I have to say that it's the first time I've seen graffiti applied in this way.  Normally one recommends covering a graffiti-prone wall with a plant to deter the vandal, so if you're planning to do this or recommending somebody else to do so then think again about recommending dense bushes!

If you need further information about preventing graffiti or removing it then do look at my graffiti section on The Crime Prevention Website. If you have any further information or tips that I can add to my graffiti advice section please don't hesitate to send them through using the 'Feedback on this page' link at the top of the website page.

And finally... 

My mate Dave's serving 5 years for something he didn't do!  He didn't wipe his fingerprints off the crowbar!

And....Crime doesn't pay....but at least you're your own boss.

“Keep 'em peeled” 

Calvin and Ben