Home Security


In order to offer accurate security advice to members of the public, crime prevention officers use ten fundamental principles when considering crime reduction strategies.

These principles are set out below, with a few common examples of the points that come under consideration.

You can use some of these principles to improve security in your own home or the homes of vulnerable people in your community.

The Ten Principles of Crime Prevention

One - Target hardening 

A target is anything that an offender would want to steal or damage. It could be an object, property, person or in some cases an animal, such as a valuable pet.Here are some examples of Target Hardening.

  • fitting better doors, windows or shutters

  • window or door locks

  • alarms

  • fencing systems

  • fitting a wheel lock to a caravan/trailer. 

Two - Target removal 

Target Removal is: "Permanent or temporary removal of vulnerable persons or property".

Quite simply this means making sure that any object in which a potential offender might be interested is not visible. 

Examples include:

  • removing radios from parked cars

  • remove or keep out of sight valuables in your car

  • keep valuable items from public view within the home

  • keeping car keys out of sight, in a pocket or draw

  • placing valuable items in a secure location

Target Removal can be quite a simple process. Simply putting the car into the garage and locking it up is a good example of target removal. 


Three - Remove the means to commit crime

The previous techniques are aimed at reducing the risks directly associated with the target.

Removing the Means to Commit Crime looks at the problem from a different point of view.

Removing the means to commit crime means: "Making sure that material capable of being used to help an offender commit a crime is not accessible."

  • locking up tools and gardening equipment

  • avoid keeping dust bins/wheelie bins near windows or flat roofs

  • make sure ladders are secure 

Four - Reduce the payoff 

Reduce the payoff means: "Reducing the gain for the criminal if a crime is committed"

Examples of this include:

  • property marking to make items identifiable and therefore less valuable to the criminal

  • making sure it is obvious that property is marked. Use the labels provided. 

Bear in mind that even though adequate insurance will not reduce the gain to the criminal, it will reduce the loss to the individual or organisation. 

Five - Access control 

Access control means: "Restricting access to sites, buildings or parts of sites and buildings."

There are many forms of Access control. Some of them are quite complex, but some are relatively simple. 

Examples include:

  • door locks (and making sure doors are shut and locked)

  • window locks (make sure windows are shut when you are out)

  • entry phones

  • combination locks.

Six - Visibility / Surveillance 

This principle is defined as "Making sure that offenders would be visible if they carried out a crime." 

Unlike any of the other principles, there are three types of surveillance, these are:

  • Natural, Formal, Informal. 

Like all the other principles there is a range of methods and techniques that can be applied.

Natural surveillance 

Involves modifying the existing surroundings to increase visibility. It can include: 

  • pruning or removing shrubbery

  • improving or installing lighting

  • changing the height of fences

  • low level dusk to dawn lights will improve natural surveillance. 




Six - Visibility / Surveillance (C0n't)

Formal surveillance 

Uses technology to deter and identify actual or potential offenders. 

Formal surveillance methods include:

  • alarm systems

  • closed circuit television (CCTV) systems..

Informal surveillance

  • Neighbourhood Watch

This involves residents and the community being encouraged to be vigilant and knowing what to do when they see a potential risk


Six - Visibility / Surveillance 

This principle is defined as "Making sure that offenders would be visible if they carried out a crime." 

Unlike any of the other principles, there are three types of surveillance, these are:

  • Natural, Formal, Informal.

Like all the other principles there is a range of methods and techniques that can be applied.

Seven - Environmental design

  • Visibility/Surveillance

  • Target Hardening

  • street and pathway layout

  • lighting. 

Crime prevention can be built into a new housing development at the planning stage.

  • doors and windows to have good quality locks.

  • Planting being kept to a minimum at the front to increase surveillance.

  • Estates which have an open design have increased surveillance.

  • parking spaces outside each house deters possible offences by providing more surveillance of the cars.

  • good street lighting and lighting outside the front door. 

Eight - Rule setting 

Rule setting means: The introduction of legislation, by-laws and codes of conduct, which set out what is acceptable behaviour. 

There are many types of Rule setting, here a just a few:

  • Local by-laws, such as those limiting consumption of alcohol in public places.

  • Laws enacted by Parliament.

  • Neighbourhood Watch and No cold calling signs 

Nine - Increase the chance of being caught

Anything that slows down an offender or increases their risk of being caught. 

Preventive methods are more effective if the offender risks being caught. Anything that slows down an offender or increases the chance of detection is an effective method of prevention. This means that good Target Hardening increases the time it takes to enter a building and increases the chances of being spotted. The longer it takes to commit an offence, the more vulnerable the offender feels.Increasing the chance of an offender being caught can be achieved by:

  • proper management of CCTV systems

  • lighting that makes offenders more visible

  • making sure security equipment works properly

  • putting several preventive methods in place, which slows an offender down even further

  • alerting offenders to the fact that CCTV systems and alarms are being used

  • Communicating police alerts and wanted "posters"

Ten - Deflecting offenders

This is the final principle of crime prevention and means: Diverting the offenders and potential offenders from committing crime. 

This involves agencies working with young people and offenders to influence standards, thinking and attitudes. The aim is to prevent potential offenders turning to crime. 

Examples include:

  • education programmes & schools programmes

  • drug action teams

  • youth groups and organisations

  • providing training and work experience. 

This method of preventing crime is increasing and the introduction of Crime and Disorder Reduction  Partnerships has encouraged multi-agency working. 

 DIY Home Security










Making sure your home and property is secure is a mixture of

commonsense and knowledge.

A determined thief will always find a way to get in to your home but

the vast majority of such crime is opportunist.

Remove the opportunity and it's unlikely you will be another statistic.


A bit of light relief 


Thames Valley Police 


Security Survey


To be confident that your property is secure, there is no substitute

for having a visit from your local crime prevention officer.

Their knowledge and experience will highlight areas you would

otherwise not even consider as being a risk.

It is obviously impossible for your local officer to visit every home

and business to offer personal advice. However, there are DIY

surveys that can be conducted via the Internet, these vary greatly

in their accuracy and independence.

The Crime Prevention Web site survey takes about 15minutes to

complete and the results are available immediately, together with

links to further sections of the site providing advice on how your home

security can be improved.

The survey has been written by Calvin Beckford who has vast experience in crime prevention.

Calvin joined the London Metropolitan Police Service in 1978 and became a crime prevention officer in 1987. Between 1987 and 2005 he performed many roles in the crime prevention field both here and in Europe. In 2005 a book written by Calvin and an Essex Police colleague Heather Alston, "Home Security – The complete handbook" became a best seller.

In 2005 he joined the Association of Chief Police Officers - Secured by

Design initiative and was their main editor on various guides produced

during his 5 year stay.

In July 2010 Calvin left ACPO to take some time off for himself and to

pursue his ambition of creating the most "comprehensive crime prevention web site ever"!

This was launched in April 2012 and is known as "The Crime Prevention Web Site" to which there are several links from this site.

Part of this site contains a DIY Home Security survey, needless to say it’s the "most comprehensive web based survey ever"!



The survey does not ask for your name or address or any other contact

details. So you will not receive any unsolicited calls from ourselves or any third party.

However, you will be asked what county or country you live in for

statistical purposes. 


So if you have 15 minutes to spare you can complete the survey by using this link and receive an instant response.




                Home security


  Let the criminal be the loser not you.


Know your locks


Multi point locks – fitted to upvc doors, either solid where you can enter without a key or split where a key has to be used from the outside to enter.



Nightlatch (Yale lock)



Mortice deadlock no handle used with nightlatch. 

Mortice sashlock has live latch operated by a handle plus a deadlock.




Multi point upvc

Casement window single point locks



Secured by Design


Secured By Design (SBD) is the UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of "designing out crime" through the use of effective crime

prevention and security standards for a range of applications. SBD is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and is supported by the Home Office and the Planning Section of Communities and Local Government (CLG), as well as many Local Authorities across the UK. Secured by Design licensed company status is awarded to those companies producing security products, including doors and windows, which pass standards and tests nominated by the police service as "Police Preferred Specification".

Secured by Design does not guarantee that a particular product will be

crime-proof. It does however indicate that the product has been subject to a design process to improve the level of security which, in the experience of the police service and other agencies, has been shown to significantly increase the security of that product.






With home security small things often make a big difference.

Did you know that belonging to a Neighbourhood Watch 

scheme, lessens your chances of being burgled by a factor

of 4!  

Details of how to join or start a new scheme are available

on this site.

Make sure that any security measures (such as window locks)

don't block your escape route and that you can get out of the

house as quickly as possible.

Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly.

Make sure you have an escape plan and that everyone in your

household knows it.

long and short