Home & Personal Security

Home and personal security

I joined the army in 1959 and, as an unruly Afrikaner, they did what they always did with people like me, Regimental Police, Military Police or the Security Services. I ended up in Paris in the NATO Security Services, albeit in a minor role. One period I had to visit NATO officers and their families at home advising them on home security and common sense. The spouses and children picked up the latter very quickly!

Home Security

If you have a little “patio” between the garden and your front door, don’t stint on the patio door lock as once inside out of view of the street, the intruder has all the time in the world to attack the front door – out of sight = out of mind!

If you have tall hedges burglars love this as it enables them to hide from the street whilst they look for weak spots in your security.

If the path from your gate to the front door is over three yards, excavate a two foot pit and cover the hole with small pebbles which make a loud crunching noise between the gate and your front door. This is off-putting!

Have a good lock on side gates so the only approach is via your front door, in full view of the street.

Keep garden tools securely locked up in a shed, don’t leave them lying around – you’ll soon lose them!

Security lights. Don’t forget to install one in the back garden as well. I have an ordinary light over my front door. I have a bright LED bulb in it which automatically switches it on at dusk, and turns it off at dawn. The cost was just over £10 from Amazon and it’s over a year old and still going strong. I have a much brighter light in the back which turns on when movement is detected as this is out of sight of the street.

In the electronic age, you can have your lighting working off the WiFi so lights can be programmed to come on and off when out. A motor for curtains can be programmed to close at dusk and turn on lights as if people are home. But this is more for the computer literate householder.

I called in Banham Security for my outer level of security. I have a bar across the lights (those small windows at the top – this prevents a burglar slipping a tiny child through them to open the front door and I can keep them open even when I go out - first ensuring the window locks are locked! My front door is solid and the panels are not the weaker element to be kicked in as they aren’t panels but beading fitted to make the door attractive and look like panels.

I include the following paragraph to show I practise what I preach.

I have two Banham’s locks on the front door. The bottom is a mortice and the top is a latch which can be locked on the inside as you go out and if a burglar did get in, they couldn't get out. I called in a company (South Eastern Securities) which a friend recommended after his son recommended them to him. I have a burglar alarm fitted and electronic heat and movement sensors over the house. When home we can turn off the ones between the bedroom and the bathroom.There are two security cameras in the house which immediately transfer the pictures to the Internet. The back door also has ideal security. Every window is double glazed as this makes much more noise if broken.

Personal

This is more about an attitude of mind, rather than carrying a wailing alarm in your pocket but, make no mistake, those are extremely useful. In your pocket, ladies, not at the bottom of your handbag!

How aware are you when you are out and about. Are you looking at your companion when talking or looking all around you? Here’s a clue. You are walking along, you need to get to the other side, you see traffic lights, they’ve turned red for traffic. Do you say “Damn” or do you look to see whether you can scoot across even though you are further up the road? If you are not that observant, then you have a lot of work to do.

If you are a woman, an elderly person, or a person who hates confrontation, learn to zig zag. In the day time when walking from A to B zig zag by walking from one busy area to another if possible. You may walk further, but you will walk safer.

Be aware of what is happening around you. I heard the advance school of motoring asks their members to talk aloud on what they see, such as, “There's a parked bus, will a passenger try to cross the road, what’s that cyclist doing, that’s a big lorry coming towards me, can I safely squeeze past”? OK, I’m not suggesting you talk aloud! But to yourself. “Are those loud youngsters coming towards me trouble? Should I cross the road? There’s someone walking behind me, has he been there long, I’ll look in this shop window and note what he does”.

At night, zig zag towards lighted areas so you are only in the dark for short periods. A lot of this latter advice I learnt from a guy with a security company who served for 11 years in the SAS.

For physical protection, there are legal sprays and there are illegal sprays. The latter are more powerful but although you may escape you could end up in prison if you use them.

Be careful, be aware, be safe. We are living in dangerous times.