Physical Security Procedures

Make Sure Your Property Is Physically Protected

intruder at front dooor

It is remarkable the number of property owners in Edinburgh who fit costly alarm systems and however ignore fundamental physical security procedures. A property with an alarm but providing easy access may persuade a burglar to risk it, grab a few valuables, then make a fast escape. He may risk the fact that because of the frequency of false alarms, the general public often does not take any notice of an activated alarm unless it runs on for too long. He may even attempt, and succeed, in stopping it.

The alarm system should always be regarded as the second line of defence, and their reliance should never be placed solely upon it, however good it may be. The first and main defence is a perimeter that is as solid and impending symbol as it can reasonably be made. Before an alarm system is even considered, the physical security of all possible access points must be assessed and improved if found below standard.

This is becoming increasingly important with the incidence of ‘smash in’s’ in which intruders smash their way through doors regardless of the noise, while the occupants are at home and likely paralysed with fear. They take a few valuables, usually your mobile and laptop, and are gone, all within two or three minutes. An intruder detection system is obviously of no help, although an alarm system having a panic button could be. However, substantial physical protection could delay the thugs sufficiently to make a 999 telephone call, or deter them enough to make them go elsewhere where the entrance is easier.

Even so, while a good level of security is desirable, it can also be too high. Unnecessary security cannot only be a waste of money but, what is even worse, impose irksome restrictions and limitations on everyday life. The occupants could feel that they are living in a fortress. Remember that the security system must be lived with. month in and month out, year in and year out, for years to come. The goal should, therefore, be friendly security – friendly that is to the occupants.

Close and lock windows

Most break-ins are opportunists, often by youths or even children. If they find a weak point they will take advantage of it, but this, not they are likely to try elsewhere. Why waste time and effort cracking a hard nut when there is one with a soft shell around the corner?

Of course, if your premises are known or believed to contain articles of high-value, they may attract the attention of the professional burglar. He will not be so easily deterred, and a much higher level of security will be required; the added inconvenience must then be accepted.

In general, security arrangements should cause as little inconvenience as possible, although some are inevitable. The danger with irksome over security is that sooner or later it is relaxed and neglected, thus making the premises more vulnerable than they would be with more moderate security that is kept up. The important thing is to identify and protect the vulnerable points while being less fussy on more low-risk areas. Also if there is more than one way of achieving a similar degree of protection, this method should be chosen that will be the least inconvenient to operate and use. This will be a significant factor and IFire UK Ltd can provide you with free help and advice in achieving this.

Always lock windows

Modus Operandi

We will first briefly take a look at the burglar’s modus operandi – the things he looks for, how he gets in, and what he does when he’s in.

The favourite method of access to properties in Edinburgh is a rear window. He is less inclined to be noticed at the rear than at the main entrance, or be detected by a person coming home at the main entrance. Furthermore, people are often careless of security at the back of the house. Frequently, front doors can be seen fairly bristling with high-security locks and bolts, while the rear doors have just a simple lock, and windows have virtually no protection at all. It is not usual for a rear window to be left open, which is as good as displaying a burglar’s welcome sign.

Windows or doors that are screened from public view by high walls, bushes, trees are especially welcomed by the burglar, as are darkened areas away from the street lighting.

After the breaking in, the burglar’s first task is to establish an exit route by opening an exterior door. This enables him to carry out bulky items and also to make a quick escape if he should be disturbed. If he is unable to do this he is forced to leave the way he came in, usually through a window. This may be difficult, so he feels trapped and vulnerable and is unlikely to stay long, or remove large objects. The blocking of all possible exit routes is thus an important line of defence which will minimise loss should an entry be made.

Usually, the exit chosen is the back door, and often the burglar will bolt the front door, when bolts are fitted, to prevent anyone coming home and catching him. Securing the back door against both entry and exit is thus vital in thwarting the preferred exit route. Bolts on the front door are therefore of dubious value: they cannot be used when the premises are vacated, yet they can be used by the intruder keep you out. While they increase security at night, they reduce it at other times. One solution would be to withdraw and conceal removable bolts each morning and replace them at night. Having taken that brief look at how the burglar operates we will now consider more closely the individual access points and what can be done to secure them.

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