Although official crime statistics do not always paint an accurate picture of the less savoury side to society, they are helpful in shaping a portrait of criminal trends. According to the Home Office, statistics indicate violent crimes and vandalism are down for the current term by 6% and 10% respectively. However, home burglaries have increased by 1% during 2008-09, which is perhaps indicative of the ongoing recession and rising unemployment. Moreover, as Christmas approaches, it is argued that burglaries will only increase in frequency.
Therefore, it is important for homeowners to ensure their domestic security measures are up to scratch. In this respect, little is of greater value than solid, heavy front and back doors comprising several strong locks and deadbolts. Furthermore, windows should be lockable and security alarms ought to be checked to make sure they are functioning correctly. Likewise, spy holes, garden gates, intercom systems, motion sensor alarms and even panic buttons can all prove useful in preventing and defending against crime. However, one type of security equipment so commonly overlooked by homeowners is the home surveillance system.
Typically, a CCTV system would be installed to record activities in the front and at the back of a house. High-end outdoor CCTV systems such as the Axis 211W provide maximal coverage but come at a price – usually just under £1,000 or so. Good quality indoor cameras are available at £100 or less, but it is advisable to invest in a high resolution wall-mountable outdoor surveillance camera. Buying the IQCCTV EVD4TX/250 networking CCTV DVR is also a sensible choice, as this product enables real-time recording from up to four cameras to a 250GB hard drive that allows for one month of continuous high resolution video and around three months of lower resolution data. Camera data can also be streamed to a secure website for remote viewing.
Some 75,000 burglaries are reported to the police in England and Wales annually, which is a statistic that has been steadily increasing recently. The economic downturn and increased rate of unemployment have no doubt contributed to what is an already unpleasant crime that causes emotional, psychological and financial suffering to its many innocent victims.
Of course, burglary is a crime that has plagued societies throughout history and there is very little that can be done to change this in future. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways in which homeowners can help to protect their homes against these unwanted guests.
The key home improvements to be considered include the installation of burglar alarms and the reinforcement of double glazing and doors, which are, quite obviously, the major entry points to the home. Therefore, it is not at all sensible to leave these areas insecure.
Unfortunately, however, many homeowners and property developers especially tend not to give much thought to this crucial area of the home. In fact, many doors are made of cheap materials to save on costs whilst many windows will not comprise key locks, which are essential in order to reduce the risk of their being prised open.
In respect to doors, ideally these should be made from metal or solid wood and feature several Grade 1 locks including a heavy-duty deadbolt. The door fitting itself should comprise a heavy-duty four-screw strike plate that penetrates at least several inches into the sturdy door frame. These core components are necessary for reducing the risk of the locks being picked or the door itself being kicked in. Finally, fit a peephole in the door that provides good visibility in all directions.