During the summer
Before you turn in for the night do the “rounds” some may think it is a bit over the top, but you will feel more confident and not become a victim of “the one time I forgot to shut the window……” Check the simple things:-
- Cars on the drive? – are the windows shut and doors locked (don’t assume that by pressing the button on the remote it is locked, try the handle too)? Remove valuables from sight. It is worth parking the least expensive car in front of the more expensive one.
- Side gate shut and locked, sheds and garages secure?
- Doors closed and locked, don’t forget on that UPVC multi-locking door - you may have lifted the handle but until you turn the key on the inside you have not locked all the locks in place.
- Don’t forget to check that patio door, someone may have closed it but did they lock it?
- Windows, lift the blinds or open the curtains and check them, the sun may have been on the TV so they were drawn with the window open because it was hot. Ensure all accessible windows are closed and locked, if you live in a bungalow or have flat roofs in unoccupied rooms keep the windows closed and locked but if you need a window open for ventilation in occupied rooms lock the big window and just have the small one open. If you only have bigger windows consider a lockable window restrictor or a small alarm sensor on the window to detect entry.
- Check unnecessary appliances are turned off, and make sure in case of fire that keys are readily accessible to occupants but not in view of possible burglars.
- If you have an alarm, activate the zone for the unoccupied area.
- Car keys, don’t take them to bed with you, where possible leave them in noisy drawer/location (if you don’t have an alarm, consider a shed alarm or similar to cover that specific area).
- If you do hear a suspicious noise in the house that you are not happy with dial 999, if you have an intruder remember your life is more important than your property, but do get a good description and if possible car index number.
Last bit of advice, going on holiday? Stop the milk and newspaper deliveries and look after each other, get a neighbour and/or friend to keep an eye on your property, ensure neighbours have contact numbers for a key holder and where possible let them park their car on your drive. Basically if you create the illusion that your house is occupied it is less likely to be broken into.
Stephen Armson-Smith . Essex Police
Crime Prevention Officer – Braintree & Uttlesford districts
Police non-emergency no. 101, extn: 407110
Garage and Shed security
Whilst most houses have adequate security what is often neglected is the shed or garage, “nothing much in there” I hear you say, “Just a garden spade and fork”, but these are perfect tools for a burglar to use to get into your house. Adds insult to injury when the tool used to break into your house is your own, so give it some attention.
Garages and sheds by the nature of their construction and position especially when away from the house are always going to be vulnerable. Quite often the supplied locks provide just the barest minimum security and are easily overcome so always consider supplementing the existing locks with further locking systems both for the doors and items within.
On garage doors this could be by adding locking bolts to both sides of the “up and over door” or a garage door defender in the ground in front of the door, if you have side door don’t forget the security on this too.
With sheds coach-bolt and plate the padlock hasp sections to the frame and door, use a good quality “Close Shackle” padlock or a key operated mortice lock; don’t forget the hinges ensure they cannot be unscrewed.
Consider using “Ground Anchors” or “Shed Shackles” to chain larger items such as ladders, mowers and pedal cycles to (again good quality padlock and chain); keep chains tight so that it is not in contact with a surface it can be struck against. Protect windows with a wire mesh and fit a curtain or white wash the windows to prevent prying eyes.
Visibly security mark your property with your post code and house number as this reduces the value to the thief; you can register serial numbers free of charge at www.immobilise.com . There are also a number of commercially available security marking systems available that are suitable for a wide range of products and others for specific products.
It is also worth adding security lighting and a shed alarm to the shed or garage, there are even alarms available that when activated call your mobile phone, these are relatively inexpensive and available from most DIY/hardware stores. If siting a new shed where possible position it within sight of rooms in the house routinely occupied.
Keep informed about crime and policing issues which affect you by signing up to Essex Community Messaging – www.essex.police.uk/ecm . For further crime prevention advice see www.essex.police.uk/advice or www.thecrimepreventionwebsite.com .
Braintree & Uttlesford Crime Prevention Officer
From Essex Community Messaging
BEWARE OF BOGUS COUNCIL WORKERS
We have recently had a couple of incidents in different areas of Essex where Bogus Callers have made out they were from the local council and had come to investigate and remove rats nests in the loft. These bogus callers have then proceeded to take a deposit of cash (or in at least one case with a card reader) and said they would return to remove the nest and then disappeared.
If you do get a visitor along these lines, they are likely to be fraudulent. Please ring your local council direct to confirm that any caller is bonafide. Fraudsters can produce fake ID badges.
If an unknown trader knocks on your door at any time , don’t open it unless you use a door chain . Preferably, open a small window either upstairs or downstairs and speak through the window.
To verify someone’s identity please ring the organisation they claim to be from. Use a number from a bill or telephone directory that you have looked up yourself – never use a telephone number provided by the caller. A bona fide caller will wait outside whilst you verify their validity – a bogus caller is also likely to disappear as soon as they know you are telephoning to check identity.
Please do not let anyone into your home if you are not expecting them. REMEMBER – Your door - Your House - Your choice. Not sure? Don’t Open the Door
Display a ‘No Cold Calling’ sticker on your front door. These are available from Trading Standards free of charge. Call them on 03454 040506.
If you do need work undertaken on your property, Trading Standards operate a ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme, which enables residents to identify approved local traders who have readily demonstrated a commitment to high working standards, high levels of customer care and a fair trading policy.
The ’Buy with Confidence’ scheme is available via the internet https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/ or by telephone 03454 040506.
REMEMBER: NOT SURE? DON’T OPEN THE DOOR.
Use the calendar or list of months to view entries made on those dates.