We can all do our own bit to help make ourselves safer, less vulnerable to becoming a victim, and making us feel a lot safer. The following information is gleaned from a national police website, with the link at the foot of the post.
Robberies (including muggings, and snatch thefts) are crimes that often involve violence or threats. While the likelihood of this happening is small, you should be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your property safe.
Staying safe from robbery
- If you have to walk alone at night take extra care. Stay on roads that are well lit and relatively busy
- Plan your route in advance
- Avoid short cuts that involve alleyways or walking across parks or commons unless they are well-lit
- If you’re carrying a bag, try to have it across your chest and keep your hand over the fastening
- Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to what’s going on around you
- Be careful with your electronics; talking on a mobile phone, listening to an MP3 player or carrying a laptop bag shows thieves that you have something to steal
- Don’t carry important documents or credit cards that you do not need
- Only take your wallet out when you need to
- If you think you are being followed, cross the road or go into a shop and stay there until you’re sure you’re safe
Staying safe on public transport
If you are travelling by yourself and you know how to get home, using public transport is safer than walking. However, you should still use common sense to protect yourself.
If you are waiting for a bus or a train, stand in a well-lighted area near other people. Once you are on board, try and sit near other people and make sure you know where the emergency alarms are.
Don’t be afraid to change seats or carriages if you feel unsafe, even if it seems rude to do so.
Glass panels on doors are particularly vulnerable. If you have one on your door you could replace it with laminated glass, which is stronger. You can also buy a film in a DIY store that you can stick over the glass to make it harder to break.
Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows. Fit window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach.
Homes with no security measures in place are five times more likely to be burgled than those with simple security measures. Good window locks and strong deadlocks can make a big difference.
Taking just a few steps can make a big difference in keeping your home safe from burglary. Here are a few tips:
- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you’re just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn key)
- Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
- Install a visual burglar alarm
- Install good outside lighting
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
- Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make the property appear occupied
- Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition
- Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage
- Keep ladders and tools stored away; don’t leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home
- Ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property
- Ensure rear fencing is in good repair
- Improve natural surveillance at the front of your property i.e. trim high hedges
- Mark your property with postcode and house number and register your property for free with Immobilise (opens in a new window)
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme (opens in a new window)
- Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows
- Store any high value items (i.e. jewellery, passports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault.
In most burglaries, the criminals broke into the house or flat through the door, either by forcing the lock or kicking it in. So make sure your doors are strong and secure. Consider fitting a bar for extra strength; a locksmith can advise you on how best to do it.Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows. Fit window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach.
If you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it. Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from i.e. gas, electricity, water and police. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider – Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller – they may be bogus. The ‘Waterboard’ no longer exists, it is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers.
If you are Going away on holiday –
Make your home look like someone is living in it:
- Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark
- Cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries
- Use the Royal Mail’s ‘keepsafe’ service – they keep your mail for up to 2 months while you’re away. Mail sitting on your doorstep is a sign that you are away
- Trusted neighbours may be able to help you by collecting your post, opening and closing curtains and they could park their car on your driveway
- Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social networking sites – burglars can use any information you post on there to their advantage
More on Crime prevention can be found on https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/