Protect Your Home
For more information on how to Protect Your Home, click on a link below
Burglaries are often committed by thieves gaining entry through unlocked doors or windows.
Follow our ten-step checklist to help deter a burglar from targeting YOU!
- DOORS: Keep doors locked, even when you're home or in your back garden. Take keys out of locks as a burglar could reach through a letterbox or cat flap.
- ALARM: Install a burglar alarm. Make sure all household members know how to work the alarm and use it daily.
- WINDOWS: Close and lock them! Also, draw the curtains if you know you're going to be out when it gets dark or you're going away.
- PATHS: Consider having a gravel path/driveway as it makes anyone approaching the house easier to hear.
- SHED: Secure tools and ladders to a heavy object where possible - ideally hidden from external view.
- FENCING: At the back of your property, put up high fences or plant prickly bushes that would be difficult to climb over.
- GATES: Make sure gates cannot be climbed over and secure them with appropriate locks.
- MILK & NEWSPAPERS: Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries and anything else you get regularly delivered.
- DRIVEWAY: Before going away, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your home. Ask them to park their car on your driveway or on the road outside of your house, to make it appear that someone is home.
- LIGHTING: Use light timer switches and install lights outside to light up pathways at night.
Who's Locked Up?
Identify any gaps in your home security by filling in our self-assessment form- it only takes about ten minutes to complete.
Protection of a flat begins from the outside. Check that the managing agent or landlord cuts shrubs and planting back regularly so that they don’t obscure anyone from view or interfere with lighting or CCTV.
If you notice something’s not working properly or if a light is out, let the managing agent or landlord know so that it can be fixed straight away.
- Keep cycle stores, bin stores, sheds and other covered areas locked and secured. These hidden spaces can attract loitering and lead to antisocial behaviour, especially after dark.
- Your communal door is only effective if it is closed and secure, so always remember to check that it locks behind you. If it doesn’t, then report it to your management agent or landlord so it can be repaired quickly.
- Don’t ever buzz anyone in that you don’t know – even if they say that they’re expected by another resident – or let them follow you in.
- The best communal door entry system as recommended by the police is an audio and video entry system where residents can see and talk to a visitor before they let them in.
- The ideal communal door will be robust, security accredited and fitted with a good self-closing arm and two magnetic locks top and bottom. It should also be linked to the fire alarm and an electronic access control system operated by a key fob.
- Communal doors should automatically open and remain so in the event of a fire but be fitted buttons or handles that allow you to manually override if needed.
- For even tighter security on communal entrances in blocks of flats, it’s always a great idea to have personalised security key fobs that can track who is leaving and entering the property.
- With all multiple occupancy buildings, you never know who’s coming and going. And that’s why it’s advisable to get together and get a key fob for front and rear doors to the building. You can share the expense or, if properties are rented, then approach the landlord, explaining the benefit to them.
- Ensure your front door and windows are always secured. If you live on the ground floor, ensure that your windows are closed and locked every time you leave your flat.
Distraction burglary is a type of doorstep crime which involves criminals making up a story to gan entry to a home.
Claiming to be from a utility company, a council representative or someone who has lost something over the fence are all common stories used by distraction burglars.
Dorset Police works in partnership with Trading Standards across the county to keep people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, safe from criminals who commit doorstep crime.
Find out more about this work and how you can keep you and your loved ones safe here.
Download the 'Be Safe, Be Secure' booklet produced by the Home Office for a practical guide on reducing the risks of crime to you, your family, your home. and to build safer communities.
Burglar alarms provide a useful warning and limit the risk of theft and damage to your property. Surveys have consistently shown homes with a visible, fitted burglar alarm are less likely to be burgled.
Don’t wait until you have suffered a burglary to get one installed. Although purchasing a burglar alarm may seem a daunting prospect, studying the options may save you money and you are more likely to end up with an alarm system that meets your needs.
Click here to view Dorset Police Security Systems Office Appendix A.
Closed Circuit Televison (CCTV) can operate at three levels of protection. The most valuable of these is a full-time guardian monitoring the cameras who is able to respond to incidents. The next level down is a system that notifies a guardian of an incident and they take action as needed. The final level, and the most common at dwelling protection level, is where we get post incident evidence, sometimes of questionable value.
The customer needs to make an early decision on what they need the system to do. I would suggest that a useful background document that outlines many of the pertinent issues is the current Home Office CCTV guidance, The 2009 Operational Requirement Manual.
Due to the technical variance of systems available, and the value of integrating preventative measures, our usual advice would be to have an initial survey carried out by a Police Crime Prevention and Design Advisor and to then contact one of the two Registered bodies that govern this field of security and gain specific guidance, and then quotes from them.
These bodies both provide web site search facilities that will take your postcode and provide a list of local affiliated companies.
Our guidance is usually to be aware of the local risk level, consider any perceived risks among the occupants, have a good idea of what you want the system to do, and set your budget.
Get at least three quotes to meet your specification, taking note of whether the system is purchased or rented, and the specifics of any ongoing maintenance and service agreement, as well as any repair and maintainance procedures.
If you are going to buy a system “off the shelf” then bear in mind the issues raised by the Operating Requirement and liaise with the provider’s technical team to ensure that what you are buying is fit for the purpose that you require.
Companies such as:
Burglars aren't only interested in the valuables inside your home. Equipment kept in a garage, shed or garden can be just as tempting and is sometimes used to break into a house.
Many houses are securely alarmed but garages and sheds are often left insecure and offers 'easy pickings' for a criminal.
Keep your property safe by following our advice on home security:
- Use a good quality fixings and a padlock to secure shed and garage doors.
- To prevent a burglar from unscrewing door hinges, use anti-tamper screws or smear hard setting glue on the screw-heads.
- If possible, lock any windows or fit internal bars or grilles.
- Install either a mains-powered or battery-powered shed alarm - available from DIY stores.
Tools and equipment
- Use a forensic coding product to 'property mark' all valuable tools and equipment with your postcode and/or house number. This makes items uniquely identifiable - and less attractive to a thief.
- If possible, secure lawnmowers and other valuable equipment to a shed or garage wall.
- Lock tools away when you aren't using them.
- Register valuable equipment at www.immobilise.com or photograph items and take a note of make and model and any serial numbers. This helps with identification if items are stolen.
- If possible, fit a lockable wire-cage for storing expensive items inside your shed.
In the garden
- Lay crunchy gravel on the approach to your house if possible. Thieves hate drawing attention to themselves by making a noise.
- Your wheelie bin could be used as a climbing aid or even as a means of transporting stolen property. Secure it by padlocking it to a wall bracket or drainpipe or position it away from the accessible windows.
- Securing the perimeter of your garden will help to protect your property. Plant low hedges or install low, good quality fencing - it will make a potential burglar feel exposed and perhaps think twice.
- A good option is trellised fencing which doesn't obstruct visibility and is difficult to climb over.
Let nature help
Nature can help provide an effective (and attractive) deterrent to anyone thinking of entering your garden.
- Select your plants carefully. Holly and hawthorn are particularly difficult to get through.
- Protect drainpipes with anti-climb paint or a climbing rose to deter access to windows and flat roofs.
- Plant prickly, deciduous shrubs next to walls or fences as an effective barrier for anyone attempting to climb in.
Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs), under the committed leadership of Neighbourhood Inspectors, work with our partners and communities across the whole of Dorset to provide a consistent, regular and familiar police presence in your community.
Watch Schemes encourage residents to work together to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and helps to build stronger communities.
Most people will have heard of Home or Neighbourhood Watch, but did you know that there are other types of Watch Scheme operating in Dorset.
For more information on locksmiths in the local area, visit the Master Locksmiths Association website here.
Secured by Design is the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of 'designing out crime'.
Secured by Design focuses on crime prevention of homes and commercial premises and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products.
Dorset Police employs specially trained Crime Prevention and Design Advisors who are more than willing to give advice and help on Designing Out Crime.
Crime Prevention and Design Advisors operating under the ACPO Secured By Design scheme.
They are also Accredited Assessors under the BPA Safer Parking Scheme.