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HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A TARGET FOR CRIME

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					HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A TARGET FOR CRIME
FA M I LY C RIME REDUCT I O N G U I D E



CONTENTS


SECTION 1. HOME SECURITY OUTSIDE YOUR HOME 7 ARE YOU IN? 17 PHYSICAL SECURITY 21 DOORSTEP CROOKS 33 FURTHER PROTECTION 39 SECTION 2. GOING ON HOLIDAY SECTION 3. PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE 53 57

SECTION 4. PROTECT YOUR CARAVAN 63 SECTION 5. PERSONAL SAFETY 67 92 94


SECTION 6. USEFUL CONTACTS SECTION 7. GLOSSARY

GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Crime can affect anyone. You don’t have to be a victim to suffer crime. The fear of crime can also reduce quality of life. This book aims to make you, your family, friends and neighbours, feel safe and secure. From toddlers to teenagers, students moving out of the family home, older residents living on their own, to the new home owner. These are just some of the people who could benefit from information and guidance in this book.

Remember that most crime is preventable and you don’t have to be a victim.

This booklet generally outlines measures that could be taken to reasonably reduce the opportunity of crime. The recommendations are based on current best practice. Any crime risk assessment should be based on crime trends and patterns, indicating reasonable, practical and cost-effective measures, which can be incorporated to reduce the risk of crime. There can never be any guarantee that crime will be effectively reduced. It is strongly recommended that other statutory bodies are consulted, e.g. Health & Safety, Fire Prevention, etc. and especially Development Control covered by Town Planning Legislation (consult your local authority Planning Officer). The guidance on legislation is not meant to be an accurate statement of the law, but to offer guidance only. You would not be able to rely on it to provide a defence to any criminal charge or civil claim.





SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
INTRODUCTION
Forget all the myths that a burglar is some type of ‘Master Criminal’ who ‘cases the joint’, studying your every movement. In the world away from television, the average burglar is usually a young person looking for the easiest way into a home without being seen or disturbed.

DID YOU KNOW?
The evidence suggests that once thieves have broken into your home and got away with it, they may be back again in a short space of time unless you do something to prevent it recurring. If positive action is taken, you will substantially reduce the chance of a repeat visit. There are many things you can do to deter a burglar from breaking into your home. It’s a mistake to rely on only one or two deterrents - the more you have, the safer you are.

In some cases, the thief didn’t have to force entry into a home. In nearly a third of all burglaries the residents had left windows or a door open when they went out.

It’s easy to make it hard for a burglar. Read on for more details…





SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

Is your house number visible in the dark?

Help the emergency services find you
If any of the emergency services have to attend your home, make sure they can find you and your house quickly. Step outside your home tonight when it’s dark and see if your house number is visible from the road.

in or on it and the wire is a nuisance to the highway a notice may be issued by the Local Authority for the ‘nuisance’ to be removed”. Being a nuisance means that it is likely to cause injury to people or animals using the highway. In practice, most Local Authority Highways Departments usually consider that barbed wire only lower than eight feet from the ground could be a nuisance to highway users. The term ‘barbed wire’ means anything with spikes or jagged projections, this would also include the wooden carpet gripper strips which have nails sticking up through the wood. If the barbed wire is not adjoining the highway and an injury results, you could still be faced with a claim for damages under the Occupier Liability Acts. Occupiers of premises have a duty of care to people entering or using their premises. This duty even extends to trespassers, although it is not as extensive as it is to people lawfully using or visiting the premises. So burglars who were not aware that barbed wire was on top of a fence and injured themselves on it, could have a claim against you, despite the fact that they were trespassing. If you wish to have some sort of barbed wire protecting your property, it may be a good idea to check with your home insurance company to ensure you would be covered in the event of a person claiming for an injury caused. It is for the above reasons that most residents prefer to use Mother Nature’s own barbed wire, a prickly bush.

Fences
Making thieves feel exposed when they approach the front of your property can help. Low hedges and low fencing (or transparent high fences) will increase the feeling of being exposed, as will outside lighting. Most burglars break into a house from the back. Good rear garden fences or hedges, coupled with a side gate will help protect your home. Side gates are best positioned level with the front of your house so they can be seen. When choosing the type of fence, you should consider the view your neighbours or the public have of the front and rear of your home. A high fence may be difficult to climb over but can stop people casually observing your house. A low fence is easy to climb over but enables everybody to see a burglar. Fencing with trellis on the top is difficult to climb over but does not obstruct visibility.

FRONT OF HOUSE ILLUSTRATION

The Use of Barbed Wire
Barbed wire may be used to defend your property but the law puts certain restrictions on its use. Section 164 Highways Act 1980 says. “Where on land adjoining a highway there is a fence made with barbed wire





SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Garden Security
The importance of stopping prowlers and burglars from wandering through your rear garden is obvious. The only trouble is that not everybody wants to live with a back garden that resembles a prisoner of war camp, with barbed wire fences around the perimeter! A hedge made from a prickly bush would deter most thieves from trying to get through it. Alternatively, growing prickly bushes next to a fence or wall would also deter most trespassers from climbing over it. Simple garden maintenance is all it will need.

TOP SAFETY TIP
Climbing Plants
Drain pipes giving access to flat roofs and windows can easily be protected by barbed wire or anti-climb paint. Think how much nicer a rambling rose such as Leverkusen, which grows to about 10ft in height and produces pale yellow flowers would be. There are numerous other plant species to suit your needs, whether you want height, colour or scent. Some types are more vigorous in their growth, with Lawrence Johnston reaching a height of 30ft.

SHRUBS
There are numerous varieties of prickly deciduous shrubs, which may be used as an effective barrier. Growing prickly shrubs next to your wall or fence would deter most criminals from climbing over.

Trees
Trees are often chosen for their quick growing ability alone, with little thought to natural surveillance. Hedges made from Cypress Leylandii are ideal for providing privacy, but they may stop neighbours from seeing burglars breaking into a home after they’ve pushed through the bushes. If a holly such as Ilex Aquifolium were planted instead you would still have privacy but few thieves would want to get through it. The hawthorn ‘Paul Scarlet’ (Coccinea Plena) not only bears beautiful scarlet coloured blossoms, but has prickly thorns. This is normally the best choice for an average rear garden, as being deciduous, it sheds its leaves in autumn, letting neighbours see your home in winter.

10



SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
A guide to suitable Prickly Plants:
Berberis x Ottawensis - A medium-sized deciduous shrub with green or oval leaves. Red berries in autumn. Reaches 6ft. Good for hedging. Berberis x Stenophylla - A mediumsized evergreen shrub. Golden-yellow flowers in April / May. Berries in autumn. Reaches 6ft. Good for hedging. Pink Lady (Chaenomeles x superba) A deciduous shrub with pink flowers in spring and yellow quinces in autumn. A fast grower. Can be trained against a wall. Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Fragrant white flowers in May and red “haws” in autumn. Forms an impenetrable hedge. Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) - A shrub growing up to 10ft. Silvery leaves in summer followed by yellow berries. Plant in groups for pollination. Winter Sun (Mahonia x media) Vigorous evergreen shrub growing up to 10ft tall. Yellow flowers in autumn/ winter. Berries in late winter. Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa) A dense shrub. White flowers in April / May. Good hedging plant. Firethorn (Pyracantha Orange Glow) An evergreen shrub, reaching 16ft as a wall shrub. White flowers in May, red berries into winter. Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Golden Chamber’) A vigorous evergreen shrub. White flowers in May followed by yellow fruits. Ideal as a wall shrub. ‘Rubra’ (Rosa rugosa) - A strong perpetual flowering shrub growing up to 6ft tall. Crimson flowers followed by red heps. Forms dense thickets & excellent hedges.


OUTSIDE LIGHTING
There are several types of external lighting systems.

Low Wattage Lights
Some people prefer external lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and stays on all night until dawn. This is particularly beneficial where the property is overlooked by people passing by or residents. If low wattage economy bulbs are used, these are very efficient and can cost less than 1p per night in electricity. Siting of external lighting is important to ensure that dark shadowed areas are not created. Unlit areas can provide a hiding place for a thief or instil a fear that someone could be hiding there. Lights can be controlled by timers so that they go on and off at a set time every day. Or by a photocell darkness detector which switches the lights on or off depending on the level of darkness. Many types and styles of external lights are available, from ornate coach lights to practical bulkhead lamps. Ask your hardware store for advice and suitability. Remember to choose a ‘hasp & staple’ that is bolted to the door and frame for extra strength.

Floodlights
As you will probably not want a floodlight on all the time, there is a type of system which uses a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor, which when it has detected a person in its range, automatically switches on a quartz halogen type floodlight. Imagine a burglar sneaking behind a house at night being greeted by a floodlight being switched on. Not many stay to commit crime. This type of unit may also help to reduce the fear of crime. If you have to go out to the rear of your property at night it’s great to be welcomed by a bright light. Be considerate. Make sure your lighting doesn’t shine into your neighbours rooms. Better systems have the sensor in a separate unit from the light. This enables you to have more than one PIR sensor or light, linked together in one system.

SHED SECURITY
Now you’ve controlled entry to your rear garden, don’t forget the garage or shed. Any valuable electrical items should be kept in the home if your shed is particularly vulnerable, but if it is, it’s time to do something about it! It’s not unusual for burglars to use items found in a shed to break into your home. Remember to postcode tools (see ‘Make Your Property Identifiable’ page 42). If it’s impractical to postcode with ultraviolet ink because of the wear an item would get through regular use, consider engraving or painting the postcode onto the item.

Sheds: Padlocks
A good quality ‘hasp & staple’ with a padlock is important on all sheds and side doors to garages.



SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
Sheds: Screw Heads
Glue smeared over the heads of screws in the external hinges of shed doors or the side door of a garage may stop a thief from simply unscrewing them. Alternatively, replace a couple of the screws in external hinges with a special type that cannot be unscrewed (sometimes called ‘clutch-head’, ‘anti-tamper’ or ‘coffin’ screws).

Lawn Mowers
Lawn Mowers can cease to be attractive to a thief if you paint your postcode and house number across the top with house paint. Use a bicycle lock to secure it to something inside the shed.

Garden Tools
Don’t leave tools in your garden like spades, ladders, etc., for the burglar to pick up. Ask your neighbours not to either. Burglars don’t often carry tools, but simply use items left lying around.

Wheelie Bins
Wheelie bins are sometimes used as a climbing aid or as a means of transporting property. Secure them.

Cycles
Always lock cycles to something fixed or bulky while in the shed or garage (e.g. the ladders or workbench), and have them post-coded. Some cycle dealers provide this service for a small charge. Alternatively contact your local police station for advice.

Sheds: Windows
When your door is secure, don’t forget the windows. Perhaps the most effective way of securing a shed window is to fit internal bars or grilles.

Sheds: Alarms
Battery or mains powered shed alarms are now commonly available in DIY stores. If items within the shed are physically secured, how many thieves would spend time trying to release these items when an alarm is ringing?

Always keep a record of the make, model and frame number

Your checklist to security
House number visible from the street Make people feel exposed while approaching the building Restrict access to garden with fences and gates Make fences difficult to climb over or get through Understand all the implications when considering barbed wire Choose plants that prevent access Get good fences or hedges Use garden lighting to deter trespassers Locate lights in a position where they can’t be damaged Try not to create dark shadowed areas Secure outbuildings, especially sheds Keep cycles locked, even inside the garage or shed Keep a record of the cycles frame number and get it security marked Lock lawn mowers to something secure or bulky. Paint your postcode across the top Don’t leave tools and ladders lying around for burglars to use

A83 A A 923 9 3 9 6B





SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: ARE YOU IN?
INTRODUCTION
Burglars do not want to be seen or disturbed. Convincing them that someone is at home who will interrupt them, is undoubtedly the best deterrent. Read this section and then have a look at the vast range of security products available in any DIY store. There will be something that would best suit your personal lifestyle and work best for you.

Lighting
You can convince any potential burglar that you are at home by having plug-in timer controls for lamps. Technology has now made it even easier with the invention of cotton bobbin sized gadgets that fit between the bulb and the light socket. These automatically switch on the light as programmed. Don’t just have the hall light switched on when you’re not in. Have the lights switching themselves on in the bedroom, kitchen, lounge and even the bathroom (not many people get out of the bath to answer the door).

TOP SAFETY TIP

LIGHTING
Don’t limit the use of lights to evenings. Remember that it is often dark enough during a winters afternoon to merit switching a light on earlier.





SECTION 1 HOME SECURITY: ARE YOU IN?
Internal Sounds
A plug-in-timer for the radio would make it sound as if someone was home. Tune the radio to a station which has more talking than music.

Curtains
Curtains can now be opened and closed electronically, although it is quite expensive. As an alternative you can arrange for your curtains to be closed in your absence by giving a trusted neighbour a key. Most neighbours wouldn’t mind. You can be a good neighbour, return the favour and do the same for them. If curtains are not going to be drawn while you are out, use timer switches on low table lamps around the room, instead of the main ceiling light. Set the lighting timers to come on when it goes dark, especially if you tend to be late home in winter.

AS IT GETS DARK HAVE THE LIGHTS SWITCHING THEMSELVES ON AND OFF IN THE BEDROOM, KITCHEN, LOUNGE AND BATHROOM.

Your safe & secure checklist
Make the home look occupied when you are out or away Leave lights on in the bedroom and bathroom, not just in the hall Automatic timers can switch on lights and radios Get neighbours to close curtains for you Remember that in winter it can go dark in the early afternoon






				
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