With lockdown measures considered now in the precarious balance of working lives and school runs, home security is one area that must be prioritised to ensure one less concern, especially over the winter months.
Here, Umar Haq, Director at Learn CCTV, looks at how locksmiths can enhance their home security portfolio and support homeowners to keep their homes safe in these uncertain times, utilising the latest in professionally installed, visual, audio and smart solutions.
During full lockdown, reports of theft and burglaries plummeted – halving year-on-year – as houses were no longer left unoccupied during the day and burglars were restricted by lockdown curfews at night.
Since these restrictions were lifted and despite regionalised lockdowns and national restrictions, rates are rising again. With the misconception that burglaries and break-ins happen at night, the reality is that they work at all times of the day, whenever the opportunity strikes.
Most burglaries take place between 10am and 3pm, so it helps to be cautious all day long. And this window of opportunity is only set to increase as curfews are reintroduced.
“Whilst some of us are still working largely from home, the number of people out at work during the day, a return to school runs and an increase in empty homes is having “consequences for individuals, communities and the impact on societal behaviour” – are all causing an increase in theft.
There are subsequent trends occurring, that can also impact on crime and disorder. Not least when there are challenges economically, some may out of pure desperation consider other ways to keep families in the lifestyles they are accustomed. And this is especially in the lead up to Christmas, which itself will undoubtedly be a different experience this year.
Dark nights are also a big factor, traditionally a season when crime is on the increase and the late afternoon periods, with nights drawing in early, providing essential cover for the opportunist to strike.
Now is a perfect time to encourage homeowners to consider their home security and keeping belongings and family safe, with the latest in smart home security technology and a few old-fashioned tricks too.
We consider an onion-like layered approach to home protection, to provide an enhanced level of security, whilst at the same time considering the surrounding area and community.
Our aim is to deter the criminal by making a home as inaccessible as possible; to impede access right from the perimeter and ideally before the intruder reaches the house where high quality, professionally installed locks will prevent unauthorised entry.
This is where CCTV, operational intruder alarms and floodlights are critical to success. But only in conjunction with ensuring locks on doors and windows achieve the standards expected with insurance requirements. One without the other and a home and its contents remains vulnerable.
Not too long ago, having CCTV installed in a home as a security measure was seen as a drastic, expensive endeavour.
Nowadays, the accessibility and affordability of CCTV and visual verification technology has allowed for major advancements in video camera quality, recording capability and, importantly, affordability.
So effective, CCTV cameras are now the leading reason why both burglars and car thieves will keep walking past a house or vehicle, and hone in on a neighbour who doesn’t have a visible deterrent.
Thieves, by the very nature of their work, like to enter and leave a home as quickly as possible. A CCTV system makes life difficult and increases the chances of both detection and identification. The more time consuming it is, or the more attention a break-in is likely to attract, the less likely it is that a home or property will be targeted.
But also, from a convenience perspective, CCTV keeps homeowners powered and protected to check on their home from wherever they are. CCTV installation fits today’s mobile connected lifestyles.
These are key messages locksmiths can present to homeowners looking to take proactive measures to enhance their home security. And be able to present tailored solutions and technically correct specified CCTV systems to suit individual homeowners, depending on their lifestyle.
Further, there is the advantages of completing home security surveys to ensure CCTV is installed in the best locations and work together with more traditional home security solutions.
When combined together with the element of professional installation, it provides complete assurance, and maintained correctly, compared to DIY alternatives are all great incentives.
Going forward, homeowners have a direct contact for ongoing advice or concerns when it comes to all aspects of home security.
The Police recommend home owners “install a visual burglar alarm” with a box on the outside of the house.
If we return to the onion analogy for home security, the later internal layer protects the family and most valuable possessions. If a burglar has breached perimeter defences, then there is an objective to detect and finally react.
Burglar alarms undoubtedly act as a visual deterrent, but installed professionally acts as a warning to opportunists. Statistics show up to 84% of burglars avoid homes with alarms and 60% of attempted burglaries carried out on properties with alarms fitted are unsuccessful.
Not only does an alarm say that homeowners have taken security seriously, but also there is a risk that the alarm is directly connected to a monitoring station and action will be taken if the alarm is triggered. And so effective, “Police are encouraging homeowners to invest in more audible alarms and motoring equipment to deter thieves from targeting their home.”
As with all security, one size doesn’t fit all, and here again is where a professional install will make all the difference, right from assessing property and security requirements to fit the right intruder alarm to best suit personal needs.
Whilst Police recommend intruder alarms, they also say it must be as part of a suite of prevention measures because “a burglar alarm on its own will not prevent entry to your home”.
Latest smart security options also include video doorbells, increasingly relied upon by Police and Neighbourhood Watch to keep communities safe. Similarly, door entry integrations with Amazon Alexa allow voice control and homeowners to exactly know who is at the front door before its answered, (even when not at home).
Smart alarms, lighting and CCTV additionally help to keep the entire home site safe and secure and can often be monitored on compatible mobiles at any time or location. Especially useful if homeowners are planning a holiday (when it is safe to do so).
The key is to make it obvious from the pavement, from the outside in, that a home is protected. And just as important here is to remind homeowners make sure outbuildings, garages and sheds are secure, with ladders, power tools and garden equipment that could all help an opportunist burglar enter a home are tidied away.
Finally, to ensure high security locks are professionally fitted to windows, doors and patio doors on all floors of a home. As when CCTV is combined with traditional high security door locking mechanisms and intruder alarms, locksmiths are providing a powerful, all-encompassing home security solution.
Learn CCTV is supporting locksmiths looking to expand their portfolio, diversify into CCTV, and help to encourage homeowners to consider smart solutions, professionally installed to enhance their home security before the winter months set in and more opportunists strike.
From basic introductory courses to advanced high end IP systems, Learn CCTV aims to introduce, in both a theoretical and practical perspective utilising CCTV right from initial specification through installation and ongoing maintenance and monitoring
Learn CCTV also offers dedicated courses to provide for intruder alarm installation and product training, including dedicated combined courses for ensuring a total home security installation.
So, whilst we may not know the future when it comes to ongoing lockdowns and the outcome of the pandemic, we can at least work together to prioritise homeowners’ requirements for home security. We can encourage installation by a trained, accredited professional and look to protect what is important to all of us over the winter months and beyond.
For more information on Learn CCTV, courses available and to register for a place, please visit www.learncctv.co.uk.
 Quote taken from article, first published 24 July 2020: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-8548567/Burglaries-expected-rise-summer-protect-home.html
 Data suggested in article published, 28 Jauary 2019: https://www.briantcomms.com/cctv-is-the-most-effective-deterrent-against-burglary-and-car-theft/
 Statistics taken from National Home Security Month data: https://www.homesecuritymonth.com/stop-thieves-tracks-guide-securing-home-burglars/
 Advice taken from article published, 29 August 2020: https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/18685315.cumbria-police-advise-instalments-burglar-alarms/