In the lead up to Christmas and with celebrities increasingly becoming the target of home burglaries, we explain the key residential security considerations for ensuring your family, property and assets are protected against intruders.
Burglars often target a property if they believe the rewards will be worthwhile for their “investment”. In other words, they tend to consider the risk of breaking into a property alongside the value of what they expect to get away with.
Ultimately, a burglar is often most likely to target property in an affluent area, where they are specifically aware of high-value assets inside and if they think that it will be easy to get in and out of without being caught.
The best way to offset the risk of being targeted is by increasing the difficulty level for unauthorised access. Homeowners have a range of additional residential security options available to them and should consider them all carefully, even if they do not perceive an immediate threat.
Solid security is, for want of a better phrase, like an onion – comprising many layers, each contributing towards making your property impenetrable.
The below sets out the various stages that form a criminal attack, followed by a series of recommended steps that you can take for prevention.
STAGE 1: RECONNAISSANCE
Physical security detail
The outermost layer of your residential security plan acts as the pinnacle of protection – the physical team. Although their role begins here, it permeates every stage of the safeguarding strategy. At this primary level, the detail should comprise experienced operatives who, as part of their role, will be constantly looking for signs of suspicious activity, hostile surveillance and challenging anything or anyone who does not look quite right. When it comes to high-level, planned home invasions, these incidents will often have been well-prepared for and reconnaissance work will have been carried out by the criminals, in order to assess the security you have in place.
Experienced masterminds will assess your daily patterns as you go about your business, the level of security you have in place and look to discover and exploit any weak points. In order to mitigate their success, you should look at enlisting professionals who will be able to plan for and thwart an attack by implementing a protective and proactive strategy, carry out counter-surveillance patrols outside of your property and challenge any potential threats – effective activities that even the most advanced CCTV systems will not be able to identify alone.
STAGE 2: THE APPROACH
The role of physical security continues into the next step or layer – this time in a grounds security role which is often complemented by an additional popular deterrent – guard dogs. With unmatched senses, specialist dogs are an asset to any security plan. Using signage on the perimeter wall or fence can also help to ward off intruders.
External CCTV and monitoring
Criminals are less likely to attempt to enter a property that is protected by CCTV. A strategically placed, overt camera system will deter most opportunistic thieves. The reason for careful positioning is to maximise your field of view – for example, parameters should span and include the distance between the entry points of your home, all the way to the outer boundaries whether they are fences, walls or otherwise. Continuous advancements in the intelligence and technology used in modern-day cameras, paired with the right placement should result in it being nigh on impossible for anyone to make it from the outer boundaries to your front door undetected.
These camera systems will alert you immediately of any suspicious activity and your response to this alert is highly critical. With that in mind, monitoring and response options include:
- An internal team, monitoring cameras from a dedicated operations facility
- An external, remote organisation monitoring multiple client cameras from a distance
Ultimately, a dedicated team will always respond faster than an oversubscribed external company -this speedy response time is now more important than ever, particularly with police overwhelmed by the current pandemic, and increasing threat levels.
STAGE 3: PENETRATION
Doors, locks, grills and shutters
Quality locks, reinforced doors and carefully erected grills or shutters on windows will either prevent access entirely or at the very least slow the situation down, in order to allow you more time to react and call for assistance. Depending on the size of your property, for example, if you live on a large estate and have surrounding land, you might wish to consider erecting high fences or walls to not only stop unauthorised access but also to enhance your general privacy levels.
STAGE 4: BREACH
Internal intruder alarms
Alarms are important as direct confirmation that an intruder has managed to get inside your property and there is a wide range available on the market, at varying prices. These can be equipped with heat, movement and vibration sensors, which can also be linked to a monitoring company and/or alert a chosen security operator or police. You can also consider panic alarms which can be installed covertly throughout the property if you wish to raise the alarm yourself.
Panic rooms and safes
Within the inner layer of any security design plan there is the option to include safes and purpose-built panic rooms to protect your possessions and, most importantly the people inside the property. Protecting valuables in a fixed secure safe will slow down or totally prevent access, depending on the quality of the model. When selecting a safe you will need to consider aspects such as fire safety, the use of combination locks, concealability and volume of items you wish to put in it.
Finally, you can look at implementing the equivalent of a safe that actually protects you and your family. A panic room acts as the last line of defence if your property security is breached. These rooms are reinforced so that it is almost impossible to gain access to the room.
In the event of an intruder breaking into your property, this is the area of the house that your security team will quickly move you into, or you can take yourself to until further assistance arrives.
A panic room might also include essential tools such as a torch, a first aid kit and other provisions in case the family are forced to spend a while in the room. In place of a purpose-built panic room, you may simply wish to consider allocating a suitable, designated room within the property.
In most, if not all cases of burglary, the incident can often be prevented, or the risk reduced with correct measures in place. With a wide array of offerings that cater to different budgets, it is well worth speaking to a professional for advice. You truly get what you pay for when it comes to residential security measures and so giving serious consideration to a solid plan is strongly advised.
Remember, the first and biggest mistake to be made is thinking that a situation like this will never happen to you.
If you wish to discuss a plan for your own residential security, feel free to get in touch with one of our specialists.