The clocks going back on Sunday 30 October marked the start of the burglar’s favourite time of the year – the winter season. Prolonged hours of darkness provide the perfect conditions for opportunistic crime. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the trade association for the professional security industry in the UK, therefore urges homeowners and businesses to stay safe this winter, by adopting simple and easy to implement precautions.
“Throughout the years we have definitely seen an increase in opportunistic crime during the winter season, largely due to the darker nights and properties being left empty for prolonged periods of time during the festive season.” says James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA. “However, often by simply adopting straightforward and common sense steps it is possible to dramatically reduce the likelihood of these incidents occurring.
“Firstly, it is important to ensure that all gates, doors and windows are properly locked at all times. This applies both to sites left vacant or to occupied properties, especially in the evenings. Remember also to check all your physical security equipment such as locks and barriers to make sure they are still effective, and replace any damaged or poor quality items”.
James continues: “Should your home or business have electronic security measures in place such as CCTV, also remember to adjust the settings to match the change in natural lighting times. If remote monitoring and lighting are controlled separately, for example, ensure you put the timer back on the lighting after British Summer Time ends. Left out of sync, the monitoring will come on but there will be an unwanted gap before the lighting follows. Moreover, ensure adequate lighting is in place. Having vital areas of a site in darkness is far from ideal and, by the same token, too much light in the wrong place, for instance shining directly into cameras blinding them, is not advisable.
“Finally”, he warns, “if you are leaving buildings unattended for long periods of time during the festive season, take precautionary measures such as closing the curtains but leaving a light on, to deter intruders without allowing them to look inside your property, or ask a trusted neighbour or family member to keep an eye on your estate whilst you are away”.
“There are plenty of security measures available on the market to help you secure your home or business, such as locks for windows and doors, bells or monitored intruder alarms, CCTV, property marking systems and/or security lighting, however, the quality of such measures is paramount to sure their effectiveness in keeping would be intruders away from the premises. Before choosing which solution is right for you, you should consider how the burglar could gain entry to your property, and seek expert advice where necessary”, concludes Mr Kelly.
The BSIA website provides details of member companies that comply with relevant British and European Standards. Search for a member at www.bsia.co.uk/company-finder.