Will You Become a Victim of Crime?

Please consider your security methods to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime. It can only take a moment to be targeted by an opportunist thief. Offenders are after items that they can pass on quickly & without being traced.

Money is the most desirable, so make sure you keep it safe, but anything of value that can be carried away is a target. The following advice is provided by Tim Parkin (Police, Community Information Officer, Derbyshire).

Home Security

It can be devastating to be burgled and may cost more to fix the damage done during the burglary than the value of the items taken.

Ensure that all windows and doors are closed and locked when you are out. Even if you are in, lock any windows and doors that are not directly observed.

Small windows, letter boxes and cat flap may be big enough to reach through or property taken using fishing or hooking techniques, so don’t leave anything of value nearby.

If you want to leave windows open while you sleep, fit window restrictors so they cannot be fully opened, or make sure they are not large enough to allow access to a burglar.

When out in your garden ensure that windows and doors to the front of the house are fully secure.

Do not leave valuables on display in reach of open windows or doors, or in front of a window that may be smashed and your possessions taken.

Ensure all barbecue, garden equipment and tools are securely locked up in a shed and out of sight. Tools can be used by the potential offender to break in to your home.

Consider fitting outside security lighting or a visible alarm to help deter burglars. Even using pea shingle or gravel on a driveway and spiky plants in garden beds can help.

Ensure any internal handle operated locks on UPVC doors are fully secured with a key. Take the key out & put it safe to stop the offender using it to gain access after smashing a door window or panel.

Post-code or indelibly mark all property such as TVs, computers, jewellery and ornaments using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater, or engravers. This makes any recovered stolen property easier to return to the owner.

Shed Security

Sheds & outbuildings can be seen as easy pickings because they are often unprotected and lack basic security measures.

They often contain property that can be sold on or contain tools that can be used to force entry into the owner’s or neighbour’s home.

Make sure the shed is of good construction and will resist the offender using a screwdriver or crowbar on the door, windows or shed panelling.

Make sure the door hinge screws or lock screws can’t be undone easily. By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief.

It is also a good idea to bond any window glass in with mastic to prevent easy removal. Windows can be fitted with a grille or, as a cheaper alternative, chicken wire, to slow a thief down.

Ensure all tools and equipment is locked away when not in use.

Shed alarm can be installed. These can be battery operated so mains power isn’t required.

Post-code or indelibly mark all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultra-violet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA or Smartwater, or engravers.

Install security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points.

When positioning a shed, put it where it is most visible to you and neighbours, with the door facing you.

Any large items like big power tools, bikes & motorbikes consider a fixed ground anchor where they can be chained to securely.

Vehicle Security

By taking a few simple steps your vehicle will be less attractive to an opportunist thief; and they may save you a lot of time, trouble and cost having to sort out the after effects of becoming a victim of crime.

Please make sure you lock your vehicle whenever you leave it and remove anything of value from within. It only takes a few seconds for an opportunist thief to take advantage of the situation and search the whole vehicle for anything to value.
Sat-Navs should be removed or left in a locked boot, together with its cradle when leaving the car. Any suction cup marks on the windscreen should be wiped away as their presence will indicate to the thief that you may have a device, such as a sat-nav, hidden in the glove compartment. You may not have, but this won’t stop the thief from smashing a side window to take a look.

If you have to keep cash in your car, keep it in a closed ashtray or in some other out-of-sight compartment. If it is on view an opportunist thief may smash a side window, possible worth £80, to steal £3.50 in change.

Items like handbags, leather jackets, wallets, laptops, and shopping should never be left on view in the vehicle. Lock them in the boot or take them out of the vehicle completely.

Registration documents and test certificates should be kept at home.

Keep the inside of the vehicle tidy. A messy vehicle containing opened mail, plastic bags etc. may attract the curiosity of a thief.

If there is nothing in the glove compartment consider leaving it open so a potential thief can see this.

Remove the facia of your sound system if it has one and use the PIN facility.

Always close the windows and sunroof and lock the doors and set the immobiliser and alarm before leaving the vehicle, even for a minute, such as when paying for petrol at a service station.

If your vehicle does not have an alarm consider having one fitted.

When parking at home use the garage if you have one or park on a well-lit driveway or street.

When parking away from home try to park in a place that is well lit and overlooked. When using a public car park try to use one that is supervised.

For further advice on personal security, home security and other crime prevention please see our Police website or click on the hyperlink : http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice/Safety-Advice.aspx, or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.

Bryan Smith
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Bryan Smith

Bryan is the editor of Ticknall Life community magazine. (For over 20 years.)