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Repeat Victims

by Brian HSS on 11/15/16

One question (and fear) that I come across at every burglary is the fear that the burglars will return. Although its not the answer they want to here the answer is, statistically, yes. There have been several studies and the data would seem to indicate that the chances of becoming a repeat victim after a recent burglary are greater than the chances of being a victim for the first time.

There are several reasons for this being the case. Firstly the burglar has been inside the property, has seen any weaknesses in the homes security from the inside, so knows how to get in a second time. He may have seen items that he was not equipped to take, like large TVs a safe not etc and could return with transport. It could be that he would expect the items he stole previously have been replaced and lastly he got away with it once so the area may be weak in terms of observant neighbours.

You would think that, after a burglary the occupants would be more security aware and make the necessary improvements to make their home less “attractive” to an offender. Sadly this is not always the case. There could be many reasons why improvements are not made, cost seems to come up quite often however, most of the improvements victims are offered cost nothing or just a few pounds. One victim of burglary I visited a couple of months back had lost a few items, Xbox, laptop, a new Iphone and some cash and jewelry. The offender had gone down the side entrance between the house and detached garage, climbed on top of a wheelie bin onto the garage roof and over the side gate. Entrance was through an insecure window with a damaged lock at the rear of the property. Part of my advice was to move the gate towards the front of the alley in line with the garage to put it in view of the pavement. To secure thin trellis across the top of the gate and garage to deter easy access, move the wheelie bins on the inside with a chain securing the gate and bins and to get the window lock replaced / repaired.

I had to return last week as they had become a victim yet again, this time the loss of property was a lot more. The gate was still in situ, the wheelie bin still on the outside of the gate and the faulty window lock had not been changed. Something they were going to get around to but never did. They are not the first and will certainly not be the last victims through their own complacency. After all, lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place.... Or does it

Little Book of Big Scams

by Brian HSS on 10/09/16

Although the main service this website provides is centered around burglary, or more importantly the easy steps home owners can take to reduce their risk of becoming a victim, it is also about crime prevention in all its guises. One important, and under reported crime is from the older generation who pride themselves on being independent but become increasingly vulnerable to the art of the con man. Some scams are very sophisticated. Like the phone call pretending to be from the bank and the offer for the victim to call their bank to confirm the callers identity. I wont go into how this is achieved here but believe me its a very simple process using the callers mute button. (I understand that BT are /have stopped this loophole in the system) But the way it went was the victim was convinced they were speaking to their bank and popped their bank card with pin number in an envelope to be collected by a legitimate cab. The fraud would take a few days to be discovered.

The blatant unsophisticated where a bogus builder overcharges the victim for poor work, for a few hundred for work that would cost a lot less the bogus builder will come back over and over again. One classic is to clear gutters... the work is never done but the victim is charged.. I have even see a water pistol used to wet wall/ and chair to “prove” a leak in the guttering followed by a charge of a hundred pounds with the promise the “builder” was off to get his ladders.... he never came back. The victims realised they had been conned but were too embarrassed to tell their family. Losses to the vulnerable in excess of £50k is no exaggeration

The Metropolitan Police have produced a superb booklet, The little book of Big Scams. ( now in its third edition) covering the most current scams. You should be able to pick up a copy from your local Safer Neighbourhood Police Team or online. I have put a PDF version on the downloads page of the website...Download it, read it and protect yourselves, your family, your parents etc..

Dark Evenings

by Brian HSS on 10/02/16

One of the giveaways of an empty  house is it being in darkness early evenings. The offender needs just to keep an eye on the house during the week to see when someone gets home. Light timers are very cheap and effective to turn some lights on before you get home and can be purchased in any DIY store, Argos, Wilco's etc.  For around £10 you can get a light that flickers on the curtain that imitates the fluctuations of a TV screen being on... simple items but an excellent deterent.

End of the Summer Lull

by Brian HSS on 09/25/16

Sadly, as Summer comes to an end and the evenings draw in the opportunities for the burglar increase. Two burglaries this week with the material loss of a substantial amount of cash and a large TV. Access to both victims properties was via an open window and an unlocked door during the early hours of the morning. Both at the rear of the buildings. Although the door and window should have been locked both burglaries could have been avoided with simple and cost effective improvements to the access route to the garden area. Gardens are favourite and the vast majority of breakins happen at the rear of properties becuase of the seclusion. A simple latticework fence across the top of the gate would have made it difficult to climb over, cost about £5 from a local garden store.

Traditional Burglary Low Period Ending.

by Brian HSS on 09/09/16

I am pleased to say that in my area over the Summer months Burglaries were down quite considerably. I still visited victims but these were all of the windows left open whilst the family were out or asleep type. There was no real need for the opportunist to work hard to gain access. Now the evenings are getting darker and houses are in darkness later in the evenings so consider timers to turn some lights on before you get home. 

Hot Weather Warning

by Brian HSS on 07/23/16

Well the hot weather has certainly arrived in force, hot sunny days followed by hot humid nights. How to stay cool is the priority for us all. Throw open the windows and let a breeze flow through. Sadly we are now at the Summer upsurge in burglaries. The open windows, doors are an invitation for an offender to try his luck. After a month of no burglaries in my area I have dealt with four in the past three days. The first not really attributed to the hot weather but the old PVC door problem.  The door in question took one kick to put the bottom panel in completely and no one heard a thing. By the time I had visited, the door had been replaced by a modern PVC door so I was not able to examine the damaged door. Whilst completing a security survey I came across a small secluded back yard accessed by large patio doors that were problably installed 30 years ago, sadly these old doors can be lifted clean out of the runners and the whole door removed... Next to the doors was a small unlocked shed with plenty of  choices of tools to do just that.. The next visit was a classical hot weather burglary, on going to bed the occupants forgot they had left a large window open facing the street downstairs. The passing offender just climbed in and took two laptops. Next a couple who had their rear patio doors and windows open. A family BBQ in the garden and then later sitting down in the cool of the front room watching some TV....Bed time, they then found they had been burgled and items of jewellery stolen..... the offender had entered thrugh the rear door and sneaked upstairs, stole some items and then sneaked back out... Finally, the last visit was just carelessness. Premises was a flat above a shop with the flat door in the street. A staircase straight up to a landing and the actual flat door. The occupant had the downstairs door open all day to create a nice through breeze. At bedtime they shut their flat door but left the street door open. Sadly an expensive bicycle was left on the landing. Obviously it was gone next morning.... In ten years I have yet to survey a property that didnt have a glaring weakness that the burglar ( and I ) easily spotted. Enjoy the nice weather but maintain the fact that one moments lack of concentration can cause months / years of anguish. As  Bumblebee posters state Almost Secure Homes Almost Don't get Burgled.

Another Reminder about PVC Doors

by Brian HSS on 06/22/16

Consider a scenario:- You are going away for the weekend and leaving your teenage daughter to house sit. She is almost 20 and trustworthy, so no problem. She is woken just after midnight to a noise, and on opening the bedroom door she comes fact to face with two men, dressed in hoodies. She screams........ Lucky for her the burglars, expecting the house to be empty I guess, take fright and run down the stairs and out the front door. (It could have been a far worse ending.) Apparently she was not aware that just putting the handle up on the inside of the door does not secure the door properly, you have to use the key or thumbturn to secure the locks in place. A screwdriver was inserted into the frame, a little pressure,the locks disengaged and they walked straight in. £50 stolen from kitchen, minor damage to the door....and one daughter traumatised, for how long is anyones guess. PVC doors need locking with a key, just the same as when you leave the property. Please spread the word to family and friends who have these doors.

Beware of Cheap UPVC Doors

by Brian HSS on 06/03/16

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so they say. You buy a £20,000 Rolex watch from a street market on Holiday for £5. It looks the same as the original but you know its not the real thing. You know in life you get the quality you pay for. Sadly this reasoning doesn't extend to the security of your home if you are buying a new UPVC front door. These doors have been around for over a decade and since that time standards of construction and design have moved on as have the British Standards in security of these doors. ( beware of old BS markings, doors are now 2016 rated)There is still a market for the older, cheaper door but just because it looks the same doesn't mean it is a secure or robust. I have seen panel kicked out of doors with the minimum of effort or noise so offenders can just climb straight in. British Standard approved UPVC doors cost from the £300 mark upwards to doors that will resist the most brutal attempt to break in. Again I have also witnessed first hand a top of the range UPVC door resist over 30 hits with a Police enforcer and still the door didn't yield. In fact the door frame broke away from the surrounding brickwork and went in complete with frame. Happily offenders don't walk around with enforcers. The link below will take you to some videos of the resilience of the older style door that can be picked up very cheaply and one that is designed to resist attempts. This is not intended as an endorsement to any particular Companies but just to show how two doors that look the same are in fact worlds apart. So if your thinking of a new UPVC door then do your research, be guided by the information not by cost alone.

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Spring Time

by Brian HSS on 06/01/16

At last
we have some nice weather and its time to get into the garden and get things straight for the Summer. Burglaries tend to start a small decline as the lighter evenings mean less opportunity to identify houses that are still in darkness past 5pm, meaning the occupants probably are out all day at work. However there are still signs and opportunities developing as the days improve. Nice weather over the bank holiday weekends... a trip out to the coast or country park, so an opprtunist will be on the lookout for families crowding into their cars for a day out or long weekend away. Consider the automatic timers to switch lights on and off in the evening if you are planning to be away. Windows left open / ajar so we can have some fresh air circulating. An open window is an invitation, especially at the back of the house, so if your going out, close and lock all windows. Patio doors that have been closed all winter now give access to the garden and its possible to forget to close and lock them at night.A long day tidying the garden.... sit back and enjoy the evening, a reward for a days good work, garden is looking neat and ready for BBQ's over the Summer so sit back, take a breather and enjoy. But when its time to go indoors make sure you put all the tools away in the shed /garage, a large proportion of burglaries are commited using tools found at the address. Whilst your at the shed, give it a once over, how has it survived the winter?. Is the door frame and lock area still strong or is it starting to become a bit rotten or weak.  If there are no tools in the garden, neglected and poorly secured sheds etc will be a gift to a burglar so make sure they are secure.Burglars dont take holidays they wait for us to and then they get to work. Enjoy the coming Spring but don't let the nice weather and relaxed atmosphere give you a false sense of security. Enjoy the weather but keep the family and home safe.

Bexley Burglary Figures

by Brian HSS on 02/29/16

Bexleyheath is one of the safest Boroughs in Greater London.

Police Burglary figures released on their crime figures website for Bexleyheath show there were 694 reported residential burglaries in a rolling 12 month period to January 2016. A 19% reduction on the 858 recorded for same period ending January 2015. However, there have been 86 recorded residential burglaries for January 2016.

(Damage to buildings/premises that appears to have been caused by a person attempting to enter to commit a burglary is also counted as burglary.)

Sadly 694 victims equates to 13+ per week. Most burglaries are committed by opportunists who look for certain “weaknesses” in a property. No house can be made totally secure because we have glass windows, but there is lots you CAN do to make your home less “attractive” to an opportunist burglar. Check out the website for free tips and advice.

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