Towards the end of February, Chris Memon wrote an interesting article in The Guardian about how to protect your home from burglars. This came shortly after the announcement of an all time low in domestic burglary in 2015 when ‘only’ 411,425 cases in England and Wales were recorded in the official crime figures. It is somewhat mystifying then that there were 785,000 cases reported to the Office for National Statistics in the same year? So, are we not reporting crimes because we’re not adequately covered by our insurance, or because we think there is little chance of catching the perpetrators?
Maybe we are just focussed on all the wrong things when it comes to protecting our properties.
The article provides lots of sound advice, much of which is common sense when you see it written down, however it’s these simple steps we can take that are often forgotten or overlooked. Advice about fitting a letterbox cage to stop burglars using a pole to ‘fish’ for keys on the hall table certainly makes sense, but why not just advise people not to leave their keys visible, and certainly not within reach of the front door? Storing valuables in the loft because burglars generally will not risk going into such areas is also good advice, but is it practical to make these items so inaccessible to yourself?
The article also featured a couple of camera products placed discretely inside the house to record intruders, these are certainly useful when an intrusion does occur, but are we getting our priorities right?
We fully agree with the need to be more diligent when protecting your belongings, and we agree with all of the recommendations outlined in the article, however the priority should be to secure your home in such a way that it prevents unwanted access. This means good quality locks and entry systems, first-class intruder alarms, and visible CCTV cameras; all of these will deter most burglars. Cameras inside the house may help to eventually catch the culprit, but the damage to your property is already done, your possessions will probably have been reset, and you are left with the emotional stress of the whole event.
The first priority must be to prevent unwanted entry and damage, therefore the first consideration should be the alarm system, alarm response arrangements, and external CCTV. It is somewhat concerning about the amount of gadgets on the market that are designed to record what happened, rather than prevent it in the first place. These products may provide some degree of comfort but they should never lull you into a false sense of security whereby you end up being one of the statistics – should we bother to report it!
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