Residential Security: Protect What Matters Most

Our operations and logistics manager, Tom Stilwell, covering residential security, and the simple measures that can be taken to secure your home and its contents.

The COVID-19 emergency has brought the best out in many people who are helping each other and bringing communities closer through this incredibly challenging time. However, there are others out there that are exploiting this situation, potentially through desperation. It is very important to stay vigilant, assess your home security and take some simple measures to protect your home and its contents.

According to data made available by Police.UK the national website for policing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In the past 12 months, the average reported burglary in the UK per month was approximately 30,000.

With almost 400,000 burglaries taking place each year in the UK. Disturbingly, someone is in their home during nearly 5 in 10 burglaries. Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Our team at Priavo carry out extensive security audits at our client’s homes, offices, and yachts. So, we would like to share some knowledge with you to help ensure your safety at home.

” We adopt a logical sequence when conducting our survey’s and always look at the site from an adversary’s point of view – how would you break-in?”

Consider the fig.1 model when reviewing your home and work systematically through these layers. When considering appropriate security measures in each layer remember the following:

1. Deter
2. Detect
3. Delay
4. Respond

Surrounding Area

Research the area you live in – crime statistics can be found online. What is the most common type of crime in your area? What is your neighbourhood culture like, do you communicate well, is there a neighbourhood watch in place? A neighbourhood app such as nextdoor group chat could prove to be very useful. A recent post was shared in our neighbourhood regarding some guys in hoodies taking pictures of a home, this was reported and raised awareness.

Overall try and get a feel for your area from a criminal aspect, ascertain trends in regard to criminality and why your area would be targeted and by who. There are skilled organised crime syndicates and petty criminals, who act more out of desperation, looking for easy wins to feed drug habits etc.

Perimeter

Your perimeter is the first line of defence, this may be a physical barrier or merely a boundary line.

Review around your home, what is the approach like? Is there cover – bushes, trees, a wooded area etc. Are there any concealed areas around the house that someone could move from the street into for cover? Is your property in an easy to leave area or positioned in a tight estate? Review all of this during the day and at night for both perspectives. Ensure your perimeter is free from climbing aids (ladders, steps, etc). Intruders will improvise, don’t make it easier for them.

Driveways

So many people have gates but are they closed when you are home? Gates serve as both a delay and deterrent. Gravel is noisy and a good deterrent for anyone sneaking about. Is the approach well lit? We will talk more about lighting in the next layer of security.

Vehicles

Vehicles are a quick win and thieves will often target streets and check all vehicles for open doors. Ensure all valuables are removed.

Keyless car theft (Relay Theft) is where the signal from a key for a so-called “keyless entry” car is captured by somebody standing outside the victim’s house using a device. The device transmits the signal to somebody else standing by the victim’s car and fools the car into thinking the key is near it. This allows the doors to be opened and the ignition started. Thieves only need to be within a few metres from your car keys to capture the signal. Parking your car strategically so that there is little room for an intruder to get past can also make their job much harder.

Defensible Space

The Defensible space is the area between the perimeter and the location of the assets in this example, your house, loved ones and belongings.

Doors and Windows

Remember, lock your doors and windows, as we head into the warmer months avoid leaving windows downstairs or with easy access open at night as this provides an easy entrance point for intruders. Once locked ensure you remove the keys and store safely.

Consider “hardening” your doors and windows. Products like Kickstop are an effective and low-cost way of re-enforcing them.

There are many products for enhancing security on UPVC doors and windows which are easy to fit and will add additional security. ‘Patlocks’ allow for an extra level of security on UPVC doors.

CCTV

Security Cameras are a good deterrent and modern systems can also alert you of any activity. With many systems on the market, it is important to know what you want the system to achieve.

Overt CCTV is a good deterrent, however, in addition to overt CCTV systems, we often consider covert (hidden) cameras that adversaries cannot blackout, hide from or disable. If your budget will extend this far then consider Thermal Detection, this is extremely effective.

Common features in most modern systems are :

  • Motion detection
  • Night vision / Infrared
  • Smart notifications
  • Cloud storage
  • Two-way communication
  • Trigger Alarms remotely
  • Remote access
  • Activity zones (tell the camera to only alert you in movement is detected in a predefined area)
  • Advanced systems have built-in analytics:
  • Facial recognition
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)

Lighting

Many intruders operate in darkness with the aim of being as discreet as possible. Motion sensor lighting can alert you or your neighbours to movement near your home and can be enough to put an intruder off. You can also invest in automated low-energy lighting to come on at intervals to make it look like your home is occupied when you’re away, which can be an effective deterrent.

To be effective lighting should be strategically placed. Security Lighting should:

  • Illuminate dark or vulnerable areas
  • Be out of reach of intruders
  • Be motion-activated or uniform lighting maintained during dark hours of darkness

Consider placing a motion sensor high enough so sensors can’t be covered on the first approach for a later return.

Alarms

As well as providing another layer of security to your home it could help to reduce your home insurance premiums. But if you have one installed it needs to be activated to be effective. An Alarm box fixed to your house serves as a good visible deterrent to any intruder, however, consider the suitability for motion detectors if you have pets.

Equipment and Valuables

Don’t leave any easy to steal items lying around outside the home. This can attract a thief in the first place who will then check out the rest of your home as they will see you as non-security aware. Store valuables out of sight as they can attract opportunistic thieves. Perhaps consider installing a personal safe for your valuables.

Another tactic to be aware of is “letterbox fishing”, which is, exactly that. A tactic where attackers use a fishing rod or long magnetic implement to grab keys through a home’s letterbox.

Answering the Door

It’s common practice for burglars to knock on a properties front door to check if anyone is home, once they know that someone is in, they will usually leave but there have been cases of intruders forcing their way in. Alarmingly, according to the ONS, approximately 50% of burglars enter a victim’s home through the front door, whether it be by knocking it down or walking straight in so it’s best to have multiple locks on your door and a security chain to stay extra protected.

Check and Update All of the Above Regularly

Don’t take it for granted that all your security measures are operating as they should be. If you have an alarm or any smart lighting, you should check them regularly. It’s sensible to undertake an annual check to ensure all your security measures are up to date (this is a good time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors too).

Remember:
• When commencing to identify weaknesses or gaps within existing security it must be done with the ‘Threats’ in mind.
• What type of Adversary could you be confronted by?
• What are the existing security measures designed to achieve?

In Summary

When implementing security measures use the below model. Most measures will act effectively in more than one of these layers of security.

Deter: The outer layer may constitute a visible deterrent.
Detect: These measures can be either covert or overt depending on the response available. Detection must occur for a delay to be effective. Delay without detection may only serve as a deterrent.
Delay: Measures in this layer are designed to provide an adequate delay to an ‘attacker’ in order that other measures can respond. The longer the delay the more successful the response is likely to be.
Respond: The level of response should depend on the level of the ‘attack’.

Important: When fitting security measures on doors or windows always consider your own safety in the event of a fire or emergency. Once fitted rehearse an emergency so everyone knows where keys are and what to do. 

For more information please visit our services page, or email us at enquiries@priavosecurity.com.