Crime prevention information - Hamworthy Neighbourhood Watch

Crime prevention information - Hamworthy Neighbourhood Watch
Security Survey Recommendations
The traditional rim latch (Yale type) on its own is not
sufficient. The ideal front door security will be
obtained by fitting an automatic deadlocking rim
lock, one third from the top of the door, together with
a mortice deadlock to British Standard 3621 or the
equivalent European Standard EN12209 one third
from the bottom, avoiding any construction joints.
Quality locks are only as strong as the doors and frames to which they
are attached. Ensure that the frame is sound and the door appropriate for
external use; for instance, a wooden hollow core door would not be
suitable. It should be of substantial construction, at least 44 mm (1¾")
thick to support the mortice lock and hung on three heavy duty 100 mm
(4”) hinges. Consider fitting a London Bar (metal strip on frame side) to support the strike
box, or Birmingham bar to support the frame on the hinge side. If the door is weak
consider fitting a sheet steel plate or door reinforcer on the outside covering the lock area.
Doors with glazed panels are inherently less secure than solid doors, hence the need for a deadlock.
Consider replacing ordinary or toughened glass panels with laminated glass - two pieces of glass bonded
together with a sheet of laminate - as they offer much greater resistance to attack, ideally to a minimum
thickness of 6.4 mm.
For added safety and security fit a door
viewer, no higher than 1500 mm, and a
door chain or limiter. These will enable you
to deal with callers to your front door whilst
retaining a level of security.
The security advice thus far refers to wooden doors. UPVC/PVCU front doors are generally unsuitable for
retro-fit security devices. Not only is the material not strong enough to support devices fitted with steel
screws unless secured into the internal metal framework, but such changes to the original design may
invalidate an existing warranty or possibly damage the integral locking assembly. If in doubt, consult the
installer/manufacturer. Modern designs will usually incorporate deadlock shoot bolts or a multi-point locking
system, both throwing a number of bolts from the door into the frame. Under these circumstances there will
not normally be any need for additional devices. If you are considering the installation of a UPVC/PVCU
door, look for the type where entry is achieved by a key operation and not by a lever or handle.
If you have a porch with a door, this too should be made secure with appropriate locking devices. Most
porches incorporate a high percentage of glazing, which, if not laminated and a minimum thickness of 6.4
mm, could be vulnerable if forced, negating any additional security which may have been installed.
Advice on front door security while the house is occupied will vary, depending on whom you speak to. Fire
Safety Officers will advise that, for safety reasons, the mortice deadbolt should not be engaged when the
house is occupied, as locating and engaging the key can cause unnecessary delay in escaping from the
scene of a fire. Crime Prevention Officers may suggest that a rim latch on its own is insufficient in providing
adequate security and that engaging the lock would increase this, as well as the safety of young children in
preventing them from wandering. Clearly these are issues which need to be considered. If you feel fire
safety is the priority, additional security can be obtained by fitting draw bolts to the top and bottom of the
door. If you have household insurance, check to see if the policy specifies a minimum level of security for
the house when it is occupied.
If you do prefer to engage the mortice, do not leave the key in the lock, especially if the door or its
surrounds are glazed. Likewise, do not leave the key in so close a proximity to the door as to enable
external access to the key via a letter box.
Don’t forget - it’s a waste of time fitting front door security if you don’t use it when you leave the house. “I
was only gone for a few minutes”, or “I just popped out to fetch the children from school”. These are
common excuses given for not engaging the mortice lock. Apart from the obvious reason of increased
security, there are other equally important considerations.
Engaging the mortice means that the door cannot be opened from the inside. The favoured exit
route for burglars is through the front door, especially if carrying some of the larger electrical
appliances. Restricting the means of escape can often limit the extent of the burglary.
Failure to secure the house properly may result in difficulties when making insurance claims.
Providing the front door is less than 4.5 metres above ground level the advice given thus far is applicable.
However, in those situations where this is not the case, i.e., most typically flats two floors or more above
ground level, the level of security is directed, to a degree, by fire and building regulations. Their basis is that
the Fire Brigade should not be hindered unreasonably in its role of rescuing trapped occupants.
The locking device on the front/final exit door, if engaged, should not require a key release to open it from
the inside. This would exclude the use of standard mortice deadlocks if they can be operated from the
inside. The recommendation is that the locks should be fitted in accordance with British Standard 5588, i.e.
that exit from the flat is achieved by the operation of a single action release, opening being accomplished by
means of a handle, lever or thumb turn.
The door should be fitted with a 5 lever 2 bolt mortice sash lock, (a
mortice deadlock with a handle for convenience), avoiding the
construction joints. Unlike front doors, many insurance companies do
not specify that they should be to British Standard 3621 or equivalent
European Standard EN 12209, though the use of this standard of lock
is recommended.
The sash lock should be supplemented by mortice rack bolts (bolts
fitted into the door and operated internally with a threaded key) or
surface-mounted locking bolts top and bottom. They should
always be fitted at 90º to the grain of the wood,
reducing the likelihood of the wood splitting if
subjected to pressure.
If the door opens outwards, as is often the case,
hinge bolts must be fitted top and bottom because the hinges are exposed to the outside and
could be attacked. They should be located 100-150 mm (4-6”) below the top hinge and similarly
above the bottom.
Quality locks are only as strong as the doors and frames to which they are attached. Ensure that the frame
is sound and the door suitable for external use. If the door has a wooden panel at the bottom, check for
thickness. If it is thin ply consider replacing with hardwood or marine ply, or covering with a wooden or
metal sheet on the outside to counter the greater danger of it being kicked through than being pulled off. If
covering, screws should be countersunk and hidden.
If the door is glazed consider replacing ordinary or toughened glass panels with laminated glass - two
pieces of glass bonded together with a sheet of laminate - as they offer much greater resistance to attack,
ideally to a minimum thickness of 6.4 mm.
Also known as French windows, they are intrinsically less secure than standard single leaf doors, which
may reflect on their comparative lack of popularity as compared with the modern patio door. However, this
need not be the case provided that suitable security measures are taken.
Whether single or double, each door should be fitted with mortice rack bolts
(bolts fitted within the door and operated internally by a threaded key),
engaging into the top and bottom frames to provide rigidity. They should
always be installed at 90º to the grain of the wood, reducing the likelihood
of the wood splitting if subjected to pressure. Alternatively, use surfacemounted locking bolts on each door (push to lock, key to open) top and bottom.
If the style of door is capable of it, a mortice sash lock should be fitted for
extra security (rebate sets may also be required).
As most French Doors are outward opening, the addition of hinge bolts is
also recommended. They should be located 100-150 mm (4-6”) below the
top hinge and similarly above the bottom.
PS. It would be acceptable, for insurance purposes, for key operated bolts
only to be fitted top and bottom of both doors.
Consider replacing ordinary or toughened glass panels with laminated glass - two pieces of glass bonded
together with a sheet of laminate, ideally to a minimum 6.4 mm thickness - as they offer much greater
resistance to attack.
UPVC/PVCU French doors are generally unsuitable for retro-fit security devices. Not only is the material not
strong enough to support devices fitted with steel screws unless secured into the internal metal framework,
but such changes to the original design may invalidate an existing warranty or possibly damage the integral
locking assembly. If in doubt, consult the installer/manufacturer. Modern designs will usually incorporate
deadlock shoot bolts or a multi-point locking system, both throwing a number of bolts from the door into the
frame. Under these circumstances there will not normally be any need for additional devices.
Entry through a sliding patio door is not an uncommon means of entry and therefore, unless the doors are
fitted with a multi-locking system, it is best to fit extra locks. These are
fitted on the bottom fixed frame pushing through to the sliding frame in
the centre and on the side frame at the opening
point no lower than a third of the way from the top of
the door. Most such locks are push to lock and key
to open and are therefore easy to use. Make sure
there is enough frame on which to fit them if drilling
is required. If in doubt, consult the installer or manufacturer.
A dual screw can be fitted between both frames but it is more awkward
to use, so there can be a tendency to leave it unlocked, thus defeating the object. An alternative would be to
fit long-throw bolts to the top and bottom of the opening door.
Some patio doors can be lifted off their track. If you can lift it more than ¼” simply screw wood blocks of a
suitable depth into the channel above the opening door to prevent this. Alternatively, anti-lift devices are
available from locksmiths.
When fitting a new patio door, single glazed units should be laminated to a minimum thickness of 6.4 mm.
On double glazed units toughened glass may be used on the inner sheet, with laminated on the outer.
Fit locks that secure the frames together in preference to locks that simply secure the handle
or stay bar. Casement windows, by their very design, need to be locked by securing the
window to the frame. Most casement locks are screwed to the window rather than the frame
- a weaker system. Locks that are fixed to the frame are preferable and probably more
secure, as well as being easy to use.
There are also locks specifically designed for use on windows with tapered edges (not 90º to
the frame).
If the window is flush to the frame fit mortice rack bolts (bolts fitted
into the window and operated internally with a key). They should
always be fitted at 90º to the grain of the wood, reducing the likelihood of the wood
splitting if subjected to pressure and fixed into either end of the frame. You might
want to consider using door mortice bolts for a longer throw.
If you are intending to use the type of lock that screws to the window, the following test is a
rough guide to help you to decide how many you will require: with the window closed, press
each opening corner. If there is any movement, fit a suitable lock, such as a push lock (push
to lock, key to open) at each corner on the opening side. If there is no movement, a lock
fitted to the centre of the opening frame will suffice.
It is possible to secure wooden casements in the open position for purposes of ventilation,
very necessary in hot weather, or child safety. These are particularly appropriate in a ground floor bedroom
situation where someone wishes to sleep with the window open. Likewise they are well suited to upper
floors where windows can be locked open, allowing ventilation but, at the same time, preventing children
from opening the window beyond a safe aperture. Whilst it is recognised that this type of device is designed
more for safety purposes rather than security, it is likely that the occupant would be alerted if an attempt to
force it was made. It is intended that these locks should be used only when someone is in residence. If your
home is unoccupied the windows should be locked in the usual manner.
If you are considering replacing your existing windows, look for the new British Standard 7950 kite mark. It
has been established to set specific manufacturing standards of design and security for casement windows.
Ideally, all windows within reach of an intruder should be fitted with laminated glass to a minimum thickness
of 6.4 mm.
You cannot rely on existing central sash fasteners. Sash stops are strong and convenient
to use and do not need to be removed from window when opening fully. They can be set
into the top frame allowing the window to be left open no more than 130 mm (5”) for
ventilation but still secure. For optimum security fit in pairs.
An alternative form of lock is the dual screw. These in effect bolt the
two sashes together. An added bonus is that, in so doing, they also
reduce draughts.
The beading which holds the glass in place is frequently only pinned. The window can
be made more secure, either by gluing in addition to pinning or screwing the beading,
if wide enough, in place.
A modern style is the ‘tilt to clean’ sliding sash, not only sliding up and down but also
tilting inwards for cleaning by undoing two clips on top of each moving sash. These should be secured by
fitting both sash stops and dual screws.
Ideally, all single-glazed windows within reach of an intruder should be fitted with laminated glass to a
minimum thickness of 6.4 mm.
You can secure either the window or the handle to prevent opening. One of the main
problems with this type of window is the narrow profile of the frame, making it difficult to fit
devices. For this reason there are locks specifically designed for this type of window. In
many instances, because of the confines of the frame, the only available solution will be to
secure the handle, where there is normally more room to fit the lock. Wherever possible,
however, it is preferable to install the type of lock that secures the
opening window to the frame. Use a fanlight lock to secure the
fanlight window.
The standard recommendation of 6.4 mm laminated glass for windows accessible from the outside would
not apply, as it is unlikely that the frame would be able to take this depth. A narrower profile laminated glass
or the use of glazing film would be appropriate in these circumstances.
The highest level of security fitted by the manufacturer on most aluminium windows, including coated
aluminium, is likely to be a locking handle but, whilst it would be satisfactory to most insurance standards, it
is not particularly secure. This is because it is the handle that is being locked and not the window. As many
handles are not of a good casting standard they have a tendency to break under pressure, or come loose
from the frame.
It is possible to fit extra locks to aluminium windows, but care should be taken to ensure that there is
enough metal around the window to be able to fit the lock without contacting the glass. Suitable locks
designed for this purpose are available.
In the case of sliding horizontal aluminium windows, additional security can be achieved with the fitting of a
key operated clamp on the bottom rail of the frame. Windows are often left open to allow the circulation of
air, particularly in hot conditions. This, inevitably, reduces the level of security. By fitting a sliding window
lock to the bottom rail you can restrict the slide to a few inches.
Alternatively, drilling a small hole through the bottom rail at the point at which you wish to restrict the slider
and inserting an appropriate sized bolt will suffice. Additionally, to prevent the slider being lifted, fit a
wooden block of a suitable depth into the top track above the slider.
The standard recommendation of 6.4 mm laminated glass for windows accessible from the outside may not
apply, as it is unlikely that the frame would be able to take this depth. A narrower profile laminated glass or
the use of glazing film would be appropriate in these circumstances.
Louvered windows are not so common as they used to be. In the main, this is because their inherent lack of
security is well recognised. There are some measures that can be taken to make them less vulnerable, but
these should be seen only as temporary, for without doubt, it is best to replace them at the earliest
Some are made with the glass secured in the frame. If not, fix the glass in both frames with an epoxy resin
adhesive. If the windows are sited in a vulnerable position, you may need to fit a grille or bars, though the
better option would be complete replacement.
In many cases it is not possible to retro-fit any extra locks to UPVC windows. This is because the material
used is not strong enough to support a metal lock fitted with steel screws. It could also damage the window
and perhaps invalidate any existing warranty.
Double glazed window locking systems should be fitted at the time of manufacture. A general rule to follow
is that the handle should not be the only means of keeping the window closed. The locking system should
be fitted within the framework and the handle is used as a means of throwing or engaging the internal
locking system.
Always consult the manufacturer/supplier before attempting to fit any extra locks. There
are locks that can be fitted to UPVC casement windows, but only if there is no integral
locking system within the framework, typically where the only means of security is a
locking handle.
There are two main types of locking systems:
The first is espagnolette (multi-point) locking: these are bolts (normally 3 sets) set into the window
and located into locking points in the frame when the handle is turned. The bolts should be
mushroom-headed so that they can engage behind the locking point, thus enabling the window
and frame to resist being forced apart.
The second type is deadlock shoot bolts: these locate into the frame at both opening side
corners. There is also a deadlock that secures the opening side of the window at the handle. The
window can also be fitted with high security friction hinges that locate into the frame on the hinge
For additional strength, sections of hardened aluminium or galvanised steel reinforcements should be fitted
at the time of manufacture within the hollow profiles of the windows and frames, so that the locking systems
can be secured through the UPVC frames into the reinforcements.
As a general rule, it is preferable for the windows to be fitted with internal beading to avoid the possibility of
the glass being removed from the outside by unclipping the external beading. There are some systems that
do use external beading, but are secure because the glass is adhered to the frame or secured by special
tamper-proof clips.
Lastly, if you are considering replacing your existing windows, look for the new British Standard 7950 kite
mark. It has been established to set specific manufacturing standards of design and security for windows.
Though they are seldom installed these days, there are still many houses fitted with secondary glazing,
mainly aluminium. Because of the narrow profile and intrinsic weakness of the frames, there is very little
additional security that can be added. Such glazing has generally been fitted to wooden framed windows,
which can be secured by standard window locks.
However, sliding secondary glazing can offer additional security with the fitting of a key operated clamp on
the bottom rail of the frame. Particularly in hot conditions windows are left open to allow the circulation of
air. This inevitably reduces the level of security. By fitting a sliding window lock to the bottom rail you can
restrict the slide to a few inches.
Alternatively, drilling a small hole through the bottom rail at the point at which you wish to restrict the slider
and inserting an appropriate sized bolt will suffice. Additionally, to prevent the slider being lifted, fit a
wooden block of a suitable depth into the track above the slider. When used in conjunction with stay locks
or child safety locks on the primary glazed window, security is enhanced further.
Alarm systems are a worthwhile investment in the protection of your home and family. Studies reveal that it
is far less likely that you will become the victim of a burglary at home if you have a correctly fitted and wellmaintained burglar alarm. However, they should be regarded only as one element within a complete
security package.
The variety of alarms and their fitting is a complex subject. As a starting point the installation should meet
with British Standard 4737. This type of installation refers to hard-wired systems as opposed to wire-free.
Though more expensive than many wire-free or D-I-Y packages on the market, they are more reliable and
conform to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Intruder Alarm Policy. The only wire free system
that conforms both to British Standards and the ACPO Intruder Alarm Policy is a BS 6799 Class VI alarm.
This type is typically more expensive than its hard-wired counterpart. Be aware that systems that claim to
meet with British Standards, but don’t specify BS 4737 or 6799, may well be referring to the electrical
standard and not that of the alarm system.
If you are thinking about the installation of an alarm system in your home it is worth taking into account that
the police response to alarm activations varies according to the type of alarm installed. In recent years the
percentage of false alarm calls caused by either equipment, communication or user error has represented
in excess of 92% of all alarm activations nationally. In order to redress the balance in favour of genuine
calls, the ACPO Unified Intruder Alarm Policy has been adopted by the Dorset Police, in which two types of
alarms are defined, together with the relevant police response.
Type A - Remote Signalling Alarms, including intruder alarms terminating at approved central
monitoring stations. They must be maintained and used in accordance with British Standard
4737, BS 7042 (high security systems) or BS 6799 Class VI (wire-free alarms). Such alarms will
be registered with the police and identified by a unique reference number (URN) and can include
personal attack alarms. The police response to their activation will be based on the assumption
that an offence is taking place, but against the background of competing urgent calls and
available resources. Such a response will also be conditional upon the number of false activations
in any 12-month period, in which case the activation may receive a lower priority police
Type B - Audible Only and Hybrid Alarms, including bells-only and automatic dialling alarms, as
well as alarms from non-compliant companies and non-compliant central stations. URNs will not
be issued for these systems. To obtain police attendance, in addition to their activation Type B
alarms will also require some indication that an offence is in progress, e.g. from a witness.
In identifying a compliant company installing Type A alarms you should seek answers to the following
Before disclosing personal security details, have I checked the address and credentials of the
company and seen proof of identity from the representative?
Is the company subject of an independent inspection process and if so which organisation?
Is the installation of an alarm a requirement of my insurance company and if so, is the company
acceptable to my insurer?
Can the company representative provide me with a list of police rules for occupiers of premises
with alarms and written confirmation that the alarm and the company are currently acceptable to
the local police for the transmission of alarm messages from new installations.
Have I sought written quotations from at least two alarm installers?
Does the quotation
(i) specify that the installation will be to British Standard 4737 or BS 7042 (high security
systems), or, if it is a wire free alarm, BS 6799 Class 6, as amended by BS DD 244?
(ii) include the terms of maintenance and monitoring contracts?
(g) Does the company operate a 24-hour call-out service and emergency attendance within four
Police accept the installation of remote signalling alarms from alarm companies whose business is subject
to inspection by independent inspectorate organisations identified in the police policy. Currently these are:-
NSI (National Security Inspectorate)
Telephone 0870 205 0000
E-mail [email protected]
Web site
SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board
Telephone 0191 296 3242
E-mail [email protected]
These organisations publish lists of relevant companies.
Web iste
All alarm systems should have at least two keyholders, trained to operate the alarm, able to attend an
activation within 20 minutes, contactable by telephone and with their own transport.
If you are contemplating having an alarm installed and need additional advice, contact your local Crime
Prevention Officer who will be happy to offer you further guidance. You may find that the cost of fitting an
alarm system is lower than you originally anticipated. If several houses in a street or Neighbourhood Watch
are considering installing alarm systems, it is possible that an installer may give a discount for multiple
installations. What is more, it is possible that the cost of an installation could be partly offset by reduced
household insurance premiums. You should be aware, however, that the insurer may stipulate that the
alarm should be set at all times when the property is unoccupied, and that any claim for losses incurred as
a result of a break-in while the alarm was not set may be adjusted accordingly.
The garden should be seen as the first line of defence in relation to home security - the most vulnerable part
of the house is at the rear to which access can be provided by way of an insecure rear garden. According to
the 1996 British Crime Survey some 60% of all domestic burglaries, including flats and apartments, took
place via the rear or side windows and doors. This is a national average and can vary enormously
depending on the amount of rear or side access. If burglars can be stopped from reaching these points an
actual attack on the house itself will have been prevented.
Ideally a 2 metre (6'6") fence or wall around the back garden ought to keep the house
secure. Unfortunately, most burglars are quite athletic and such a barrier can be scaled
quite easily. If the fence or wall is topped with 30 to 45 cms (12-18”) of open-ended or
other similarly weak trellising, i.e. strong enough to support climbing plants but too
weak to support the weight of a human, the prospective burglar will be unable to climb
it without a risk of being seen and physically breaking the trellising. The noise of this
alone and the risk of injury is a deterrent in itself. The fence or wall should not provide any footholds or
other climbing aids. Be aware that if the addition of a trellis takes the height of the fence above 2 metres,
you may require planning permission.
Garden gates need to be the same height as the fence or wall and fitted with heavy-duty hinges. Security
should be provided with at least one padbolt secured with a padlock on the garden side of the gate. If the
adjacent fence is topped with trellis, seriously consider extending it over the gate.
Perimeter security can be further enhanced by the supplementary planting of 'unfriendly' shrubs or trees.
The following plants have thorny stems or spiny leaves and, in many cases, the bonus of attractive flowers
or berries:
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Rosa (Climbing rose)
Rubus (Bramble)
Berberis (Barberry)
Crataegus (Hawthorn)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Rhamnus (Common buckthorn)
Ribes speciosum (Flowering currant)
Rosa (Shrub rose)
Ulex (Gorse)
Shrubs & Trees
Aralia (Angelica tree)
Chaenomeles (Quince)
Elaeagnus angustifolia/pungens (Oleaster)
Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea buckthorn)
Ilex (Holly)
Juniperus - ‘Wiltonii’/’Old Gold’ (Juniper)
Oplopanax horridus (Devil’s club)
Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn)
Rosa (Shrub rose)
Ruscus aculaetus (Butcher’s broom)
Zanthoxylum (Japan pepper)
Zizyphus (Chinese jujube)
Some of the shrubs and trees listed can also double as hedges if appropriately pruned/trained. Although
they will take some time to grow, the end result will justify the effort - they should deter even the most
determined burglar. Larger, more mature specimens can be obtained through specialist nurseries. The
greater expense will be offset by the more evident instant effectiveness.
Hedges, shrubs and walls in the front garden should be no higher than 3’ in order to avoid giving a burglar
a screen behind which he can conceal himself. For the same reason, trees should be cut back to at least 6’
from ground level. The use of gravel on paths or driveways prevents a silent approach and can alert the
occupier to somebody’s presence.
If you are considering erecting barbed wire or other such fence topping, it must comply with Section 164 of
the Highways Act 1980. The general rule to be applied is to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to
prevent injury. It must not overhang and must incline inwards. In broad terms, its use cannot be
recommended purely for the purpose of providing perimeter security and it should never be used as a
means of entrapment. The injuries it can cause and the potential ensuing litigation far outweigh any benefits
it might otherwise provide. Nature provides its own defence systems, as listed above, and these are far
Don’t make a burglar’s life any easier by leaving gardening tools available to
act as the perfect implement to force an entry. Always lock them away securely
after use and consider chaining them together with a padlock attached to a
hasp and staple. Likewise, don’t leave ladders to provide easy access to
otherwise inaccessible parts of your house. They should be chained and
padlocked to a strong post or wall.
Consider installing a domestic style CCTV camera, linked to your television or video, to overlook your
garden. Not only will it add an extra element of security to your home but it can also offer you the benefit of
being able to observe your garden and its wildlife at close quarters from the relative seclusion and comfort
of your living room. This can be further enhanced by the installation of high-pressure sodium lighting within
the garden itself, activated by a photo-electric cell, making it both more attractive and secure after dark.
As a word of warning, if you do install a recordable CCTV system, give serious consideration to including a
dedicated video recorder securely located within the house; if you connect the cameras to your household
video recorder and you have the misfortune to suffer a burglary, not only could the recorder be taken but
the recorded evidence with it.
Costly garden furniture and valuable ornaments, such as statues or stone planters, can be protected by
remote movement detectors. These are suitable only for heavy objects that would not be affected by wind
or casual vibration. Alternatively, you may prefer to anchor these items to the ground and proprietary
ground anchors are specifically designed for this purpose - even valuable plants can be treated in the same
way. Hanging baskets are certainly worth protecting as they are frequently the target of thieves; bending the
basket bracket and/or hook on the chain to prevent its removal may be a sufficient deterrent, though secure
or locking brackets are available for this purpose through retail outlets.
Always property mark your gardening equipment and valuables with your postcode and house number
(see the section on Property Marking at the end of this report). In most cases engraving will be the most
suitable method. For more valuable items microchips may be worth considering.
Garden sheds are a very popular target with burglars and are often
overlooked when security is being considered. The value of the
contents, such as garden mowers, strimmers cycles etc. can often
add up to many hundreds of pounds. It is therefore wise to secure
the shed door with at least one heavy-duty hasp and closedshackle padlock.
It may not always be appropriate to fit a heavy-duty
padlock, hasp and staple as the shed door and frame may not be strong
enough to support them. There is a range of smaller but sturdy padlocks,
padbolts, hasps and staples that would be suitable. Whether fitting heavy-duty
devices or otherwise, always use coach-bolt fixings through the door and
The door itself should be hung on strong hinges which are secured with coach
bolts or clutch-head screws, as ordinary fixings can be easily unscrewed. All opening windows require good
window locks. If you never open them, consider screwing them permanently shut from the inside.
As most sheds are inherently weak, it is worth considering installing an internal wire mesh lining. This would
provide an additional barrier should a panel be breached.
In addition to fitting external physical security to your shed, it is worth considering the installation of an
alarm. This does not mean a complete burglar alarm system, though, if your house already has such an
installation, it may be possible for it to be extended to the shed. There are various stand-alone devices on
the market specifically designed for remote use in garages or sheds, which fall into two main categories:
a passive infra-red detector within the shed to detect movement and body heat
a door contact system
Both systems will operate a sounder if the shed is accessed without the correct de-activation. They are
available with battery or mains power supply and can be purchased from your local locksmiths, D-I-Y or
discount store.
The major problem with vulnerable garden sheds is that they provide burglars with an arsenal of house
breaking implements, e.g. the versatile garden spade: because of the blade size and the leverage that can
be exerted, few door or window locks can withstand a prolonged attack from this implement. If the shed is
too fragile to secure adequately, the spade should either be bolted or padlocked to a heavy bench or frame,
or, better still, kept in a more secure place such as a locked garage. Alternatively, your tools can be secured
by chaining them together.
Consider the use of a strong lockable box or cage within the shed in which you can store not only your
garden tools but also insecticides, weed killers or other items that may be harmful to health or plants if
improperly used.
Garages are frequently used for storing not only cars, motor bikes and cycles, but also property similar to
those found in garden sheds, as well as DIY power tools and sporting equipment. Considering the value of
the property contained therein, security precautions are often found to be wanting, and for this reason they
are identified by burglars as easy targets.
If you already have a burglar alarm system, why not extend it to the garage? Alternatively, there are various
stand-alone alarm devices on the market specifically designed for remote use in garages or sheds, which
fall into two main categories:
a passive infra-red detector within the shed to detect movement and body heat
a door contact system
Both systems will operate a sounder if the garage is accessed without the
correct de-activation. They are available with battery or mains power supply
and can be purchased from your local locksmiths, D-I-Y or discount store.
An unsecured ladder could be used by a burglar to access an otherwise
inaccessible part of the home. When not in use they should always be chained
and padlocked to a strong post or a garage wall.
It would be preferable to secure the doors with a heavy duty hasp and staple, coach
bolted through the doors, together with a closed shackle padlock.
It is probably best not to rely solely on the centre lock provided. If the door is the only
means of entry to the garage, it should be fitted with a hasp and staple, together with a padlock as above.
There are also mortice locks specially designed for garage doors that engage into the side frame. They
should be fitted between 30-45 cms (12-18”) from the ground on both left and right sides of the door to
prevent the corners being lifted. Before fitting, take note of the gap between the door and the frame, as
some of the bolts have only a short throw. Locks with a double-throw will provide better security against
forcing. A particular advantage of garage mortice locks is that they can be modified to use the same key for
convenience as the front door.
If there is another exit/entrance, and the door opens along runners, consider drilling through one of the
runners just behind the wheel in the closed position, inserting a long bolt to stop the wheel moving along the
runners. If the door operates on a hinged bar and not runners, drill through the side metal frame and pass a
padlock through this hole and around the hinged bar to stop the door lifting.
Pedestrian access doors, if opening inwards, should be fitted with a 5 lever mortice (deadlock),
and, if opening outwards, should additionally be fitted with hinge bolts to protect the exposed
hinges. If the door is not thick enough to take a mortice lock, it should be fitted
with a heavy duty hasp and staple, coach-bolted through the door, together
with a closed shackle padlock.
For internal doors connecting the garage with the dwelling, it would be best to
fit a similar level of security as for front doors in order to resist an undisturbed
attack by a burglar.
A useful addition to perimeter security can be exterior lighting, either switched manually or automatically
operated. Lighting does have its limitations - burglaries often take place during daylight hours. Lighting
should be seen as an aid, but on its own it is not sufficient to deter a burglar.
The most common form of lighting is passive infra-red, which is activated when someone or something
comes into its field of vision. The light can be programmed to stay on for a set time and then it will re-set if
the cause of its activation is no longer present. A passive infra-red unit can activate single or multiple lights.
The light activation will have its greatest deterrent value if there is someone nearby to notice it - and take
action - albeit there is likely to be some element of doubt in the mind of the would-be criminal as to whether
he or she has been spotted.
Lights are useful on the approach to the front, side or rear door or garage, not only lighting up if someone
approaches your house, but also when you approach, so that you can feel safe in the knowledge that
nobody is lurking in the shadows. It must be remembered though that lights can be activated by passing
animals, such as cats or dogs. Additionally, you do not want the light to be activated every time your
neighbours go into their garden or when someone walks past the front of your property - a properly adjusted
detection field should prevent this. You must also make sure that your light does not intrude into your
neighbours’ windows or those of passing vehicles, particularly in the case or halogen lamps; in the first
instance this light pollution can often be at the centre of many disputes between neighbours, and in the
second it can be a serious hazard to road users. This is particularly relevant to high-wattage halogen lamps.
The use of a 300-500 watt lamp should be necessary only where there is a large area to illuminate; 150
watts should be sufficient for most circumstances, as well as being a lot cheaper to run.
An increasingly popular and perhaps preferable alternative is to fit lights that are operated by photo-electric
cells. These turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn automatically. If coupled with the use of long-life
energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps, they offer a much less obtrusive light and, although on all night,
can be cheaper to run than passive infra-red halogen lamps. They provide an area of vision throughout the
hours of darkness through which a burglar or thief must pass to reach the house, unlike the passive infrared which would be activated only once someone is already close to the building. Coupled with the use of
an interior security lighting scheme, exterior lighting can be a very effective deterrent.
All of these lights can be DIY fitted, but if you are not sure, it is essential that you contact a qualified
electrical contractor.
A wise precaution of leaving lights switched on inside the house while the house itself is unoccupied can
substantially help to give the impression to a passer-by that the house is in fact occupied. It is sensible to
use a downstairs room with a drawn curtain and sufficient light inside to suggest that the room is occupied.
A light should not be left on solely in the hall - a thief may guess that the premises are unoccupied, as it is
not normal for the occupants to spend all night only in the hall!
There are many automatic devices available - simple and sophisticated - that will turn lights on and off in a
random or programmable fashion. Timers can also be set to control other electrical appliances such as a
radio - for safety reasons, a television is not recommended for this purpose. Devices to draw curtains
automatically are also available. Automatic switching will help to convince the casual thief that the house is
For the majority of cases security lighting will have the desired effect of deterring a potential intruder. But do
remember, lighting cannot work miracles. It is sensible to make sure that your physical defences - the locks,
bars and bolts - will resist attack. Let your neighbours know that you are out, and if you are a member of
your Neighbourhood Watch scheme so much the better. If you are intending to go away for a period you
can also inform your local police station of contacts in the event of an incident.
Letter boxes/plates should be considered as an aperture which can be used by the criminal, either to extract
goods from within in close proximity to the door, commonly door or car keys, or to work vulnerable locking
devices from the inside. Unforced burglaries and thefts of vehicles are frequently caused simply because
the keys have been left too close to the front door.
Letter plates should conform to the Post Office recommendation 250 mm x 38 mm (British Standard 2911).
They should be positioned no closer than 400 mm from the door lock but should not be fitted to the bottom
rail of the door. An internal cover plate offers additional security, as does a letter basket, though you might
wish to consider removing the bottom, allowing the mail to fall to the floor and thus preventing theft of the
When evaluating communal entry security, Fire Regulations must take precedence over all other
considerations. If in any doubt, consult your local Fire Officer as well as the Crime Prevention Officer.
Wooden doors and frames should be of solid hardwood or solid core construction. The door must be to a
minimum thickness of 44 mm and the frame should have a rebate of not less than 18 mm. Three good
quality 100 mm hinges and two hinge bolts should support the hinge side. To achieve additional frame
strength, consider using steel reinforcing or London/Birmingham bars.
Glazed or glass panelled doors should preferably be of a minimum 6.4 mm laminated glass or equivalent
strength polycarbonate sheet, with consideration given to utilising internal grilles as additional protection,
especially where lock releases could be accessed through a broken pane. Before installing polycarbonate
sheets you must seek a fire officer’s consent. Glazed doors that have no frame, even if constructed with
toughened or safety glass, offer little resistance to attack and cannot easily be reinforced.
It should not be possible to gain access to locks or security fittings via letter boxes. Their siting into walls
sufficiently far from doors or windows should be encouraged. However, if they are fitted to the door, the
recommendation is to install a basket or protective plate to prevent the unauthorised operation of the
locking devices. In either case, the plate must be sited at least 400 mm from the locks.
Doors Without Electronic Access Control
Ideally the door should be fitted with a lock which has an automatic deadlocking facility, approximately a
third of the way down from the top of the door. Additionally, a mortice deadlock latch should be installed a
third of the way up from the bottom of the door, avoiding any construction joints, and it should be used as
often as is practicable. These locks must be suitable for emergency exit purposes, in that they must not
require key release from within, opening being achieved by means of a handle or thumb turn. Where there
is any conflict between security and fire requirements or legislation, the latter must prevail. In any case of
doubt, seek the Fire Officer’s approval.
All doors must be fitted with an automatic closing mechanism, both properly adjusted and regularly
maintained, to ensure that the door is secured at all times. Doors should never be left wedged open, as this
not only negates any security within the building, but may also contravene any Fire Regulations.
Doors With Electronic Access Control
The remote release lock should be of a type that has an electrically operated bolt action with an automatic
deadlocking facility, or is a magnetic type lock. It is imperative that the system has a safeguard
incorporated, which ensures that the lock can be released in the event of a power failure.
It is preferable that at least one of the following security measures applies:
the door is secured at all times and visitors are permitted entry via a remote release facility which
is linked to an audio visual or audio only entry-phone.
the door is secured at all times and visitors are met personally at the door.
the communal entrance is constantly monitored by a receptionist or concierge.
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 that is properly
side gates and accessible windows open
ladders left out, allowing access to otherwise inaccessible windows
garden tools available to force entry
untrimmed hedges or high fences in front gardens providing cover and preventing natural
scaleable drain pipes adjacent to upper windows - protect with anti-climb paint
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. The question is, are the occupants in?
milk bottles or parcels on the doorstep
newspapers and mail protruding through the letter box or visible through glazed front doors
unlit houses after dark and closed curtains during the day
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. Holiday times, when the house is
unoccupied for long periods, are particularly important. If we can take measures that tell the burglar that this
building is too risky a target, he will hopefully move on. Make it look as though your house is occupied
and don’t advertise your absence.
install automated/programmable light switches, use timers that switch lamps or radios on and off
automatically and consider fitting motorised curtain rails
have a neighbour or friend pop round to clear your letter box or doorstep regularly and keep the
garden tidy
encourage a neighbour to park on your drive
don’t advertise that you are going away - do cancel all regular deliveries, but don’t announce your
departure to a shop-full of people, don’t discuss your holiday plans with or within earshot of
strangers, don’t have your home address showing on your luggage for the outward journey and if
you are using a taxi service to the airport, etc., do arrange for the pickup to be away from your
consider arranging for a house-sitter.
Remember: Remove the Opportunity - Prevent the Burglary
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. They may even claim to be police officers!
Bogus callers succeed because they sound believable, so don’t be fooled. Make certain in your own mind
that they are whom they claim to be by following these simple steps:
Before you open the door, engage your chain and look through your spy hole or adjacent window
to see if you recognise the caller. Remember - while your door is closed you are in control.
Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card, preferably
displaying their photograph. Check this carefully. If you are in any way unsure, telephone the
company the caller claims to represent, obtaining the number from the telephone directory or
directory enquiries - a number offered by the caller should not be relied upon.
The Utility Companies 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. You
will find it helpful to keep a list of their telephone numbers near your phone. If you would like more
information on this scheme, please contact the relevant Utility.
Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something
untoward in your rear garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house - they
may have an accomplice awaiting this distraction.
If you are not satisfied as to 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. Alternatively, ask
the caller to contact this person.
Treat every stranger with caution. If you are still worried, dial 999 immediately and ask for the police.
Remember: If in doubt, Keep Them Out!
Improving the security of your home need not mean that escape in the event of a fire will prove more
difficult. Planning ahead is the key.
Early warning of a fire is essential. Probably the most effective safeguard is the fitting
of smoke alarms. By detecting smoke before you do, particularly when the occupants
of the house are asleep, the alarm’s activation will provide those invaluable extra
minutes that will enable you and your family to make your escape more safely.
They should meet British Standard 5446 Part 1 and be fitted in accordance with the instructions provided.
At least one detector should be installed on every level of the house or flat, fixed horizontally on the ceiling
rather than vertically on a wall. Avoid fitting them in or adjacent to kitchens, as they are likely to be falsely
activated by cooking emissions. Follow the instructions provided with regard to cleaning the detectors and
changing the batteries.
For those with hearing impairments who would not be alerted by a conventional smoke alarm, devices such
as a vibrating pad or flashing light are available - the former is particularly effective for deaf-blind people.
Many people prefer to engage the mortice lock on their front doors to ensure additional security while
members of the household are asleep. Whilst this is understandable, it is important to consider the
implications both for escape in the event of a fire and rescue by the Fire Brigade or other emergency
services. If access to the front door or its key is concealed by smoke, escape is likely to be delayed. As an
alternative to locking the mortice, consider fitting a strong draw bolt to the bottom of the door, i.e. within
reach of smaller members of the household. This will enable a speedier escape in an emergency, as well as
maintaining security for the occupants whilst in the premises. However, if you have household insurance
cover, examine your policy to see if there are any stipulations regarding security of the premises whilst
If you do prefer to engage the mortice, do not leave the key in the lock, especially if the door or its
surrounds are glazed. Likewise, do not leave the key in so close a proximity to the door as to enable access
to the key via a letter box.
In the case of flats or apartments where the front door is 4.5 metres (15’) above ground level, i.e. the
second floor or above, the installation of security devices is, to an extent, governed by fire regulations and
the advice on security is based on that provided by British Standard 5588. That is to say, standard mortice
locks should not be fitted on doors used as the primary means of escape if they can be locked from the
inside with a key. The locking device should have a single action release, i.e. opened with a lever, handle or
thumb turn.
As previously mentioned, planning is the key. Identify alternative escape routes in the event of a fire or
other emergency and ensure that these are known to other members of the household.
For further information on fire safety and prevention, contact your fire safety officer or local council.
All crime prevention advice is based on the deterrent and delaying value of the various security devices that
can be installed. Locks on doors and windows certainly provide the main thrust of the advice, but in
themselves they are only part of a complete security package.
All single-glazed areas on both the ground floor and other accessible areas can be vulnerable to attack after all, plain glass is easily breakable. Consider replacing ordinary or toughened glass with laminated
glass, two pieces of glass bonded together with a sheet of laminate (PVB), preferably to a minimum
thickness of 6.4 mm. This is far more difficult to break through as it will not shatter and will therefore delay
any attempt at forced entry, in itself a valuable deterrent. Please note that this thickness is the minimum
standard for accident resistant safety glazing (BS 6206/6262), which, though not a security glass, will offer
some security protection. The standard for laminated security glass is defined as being of 7.5 mm thickness
or greater (BS 5544).
You can place a plastic glazing film over the glazed area to prevent the glass from shattering, though the
clarity of the glass will be a reduced. However, this should be considered only for safety purposes, not
When replacing glass in wooden windows use a glazing mastic to bond it to the frame, as it is far tougher
than putty.
Leaded windows are particularly susceptible in that they offer little resistance to attack. Lead is a soft
material with poor tensile strength. To protect them you can install secondary glazing, or, alternatively, fit
metal grilles or bars. Such measures can detract from the overall look of your windows, but it is important to
be aware of their vulnerability.
It is an appropriate time to remind you about marking your property. Acting on the advice as laid out in this
report should minimise the possibility of a break-in. However, in the unlikely event of a burglary, you would
be reassured in the knowledge that your property, valuable or otherwise, is marked and thus identifiable.
Being able to provide proof that an item of property is yours greatly improves the chance of it being returned
to you at some stage. Without such proof you may never be able to claim it as yours.
Thieves like portable, high value, easily saleable goods like televisions,
videos, hi-fi, home computers, cameras, jewellery, silverware and antiques.
You can mark these items with your postcode followed by the number of your
house or flat. You can get inexpensive kits to do this from DIY stores and
stationers. You can also permanently etch items with a special etching or
electric engraving tool, thus making a visible identification mark, particularly
disliked by burglars. This is preferable to ultra-violet or ‘invisible’ markings that can fade or be removed. You
may want to share the cost with neighbours and friends. There are higher-tech methods of property marking
too, well worth considering for the more valuable items: indelible ultra-violet and ink dyes, microdots and
microchips. For further information, contact your local Crime Prevention Officer.
If you have valuables that you can’t or don’t want to mark, such as jewellery or ornaments, take colour
photographs of them, including hallmarks and other identifying marks, together with a coin or ruler to
indicate the actual size. Macro (close-up) photography is effective in keeping identifiable records of
apparently unidentifiable items such as stamps or coins. These detailed images can highlight the unique
perforations or striations otherwise undetectable to the naked eye.
Keep a list, too, of the serial numbers of your various items of electrical equipment. The numbers will be
useful, as will photographs, if you need to make an insurance claim. The police can let you have a sticker
for your window saying your possessions are marked. Hopefully this will deter burglars.
Some tips for taking photos of property include:
take photos only of items you will be able to identify as yours
place a ruler beside the item to show its size
avoid reflections from shiny surfaces when taking the photos with a flash
use a plain background rather than patterned wallpaper or carpet
if it has unique markings, take a close-up of them, including damage or repair marks
When you take your film to be developed you may be asked for your name and address. If you feel nervous
about the shop knowing where you live and what property you have you don’t have to give your address ...
and remember - keep the negatives separate from the prints and do not keep them in anything that might
be stolen.
What is Neighbourhood Watch?
Neighbourhood Watch is all about it is looking out for each other. Neighbours uniting and acting together
means that dozens of eyes and ears are ready to pick upon anything happening in the neighbourhood that
could cause worry or concern. It's not about being nosy or interfering, it's about being a
good neighbour and caring about your community.
And there is more to Neighbourhood Watch than protecting homes and property
against burglary. By working together, neighbours can help reduce all sorts of local
crimes. They can also take action to improve the environment by getting something
done about things like vandalism, graffiti, poor lighting and a lack of local amenities.
Neighbourhood Watch is also about bringing people closer together and involving them
in local life. A stronger community spirit grows as people get to know each other and look out for one
Anyone can join a Neighbourhood Watch team and everyone can play a part in its achievements. Any
community or neighbourhood - however large or small - can set up a scheme. A scheme can be made up of
just a few houses in a street, or a few households, the residents in a square, or a whole estate. Each
scheme can be different - you don't even have to use the title 'Neighbourhood Watch' or put a sticker in your
Neighbourhood Watch means no one is alone. Your neighbours will look out for you, your family, your home
and your street or estate, and you will do the same for them. Neighbourhood Watch schemes also help the
community to keep a check on people in the neighbourhood who are more vulnerable. Children and young
people, the elderly and the frail, and people who have had their homes broken into before can all benefit
from having an extra eye kept on them.
As well as receiving the support from other scheme members, people belonging to Neighbourhood Watch
can make contact with other local Watch groups. And the police, local councils and other community and
voluntary organisations all support Neighbourhood Watch.
Neighbourhood Watch works by:
bringing people closer together
building a stronger community spirit
helping to reduce crime
lessening people's anxieties about crime
strengthening links with the police
developing closer relationships with local councils
improving the local environment
creating a better quality of life
For more information on joining or starting a Neighbourhood Watch in your area contact your local police on
01202 227840.
If you have any information about a burglar or burglary, or indeed any other crime, please buzz the
Crimestoppers number below. It’s free and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You don’t have to leave your name and you could receive a cash reward. All we’re interested in is your
0800 555 111
In an emergency always dial 999
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