For many of us, it’s easy to overlook something as everyday as a door. You unlock them in the morning, luck up in the evening and people come and go in between times. We’re all guilty of taking doors for granted. But we shouldn’t be so complacent.
Maintenance Saves Money, And Even Lives
Far beyond a spot of oil in the hinges when they start to squeak, door maintenance is an important, moneysaving and possibly lifesaving consideration. If you own your business, it’s beholden on you to make sure your employees are working in a safe and secure environment. In the event of an emergency, can they evacuate the building quickly and efficiently? If a door is poorly kept, hard to open or obstructed in some way it could result in serious injury.
On the other hand, if a door on your premises was the cause of an accident and it hadn’t been properly maintained, this again will be regarded as your fault and result in costly compensation claims. Professionally conducted maintenance will ensure that such accidents are far less likely to occur, and if they do, then your liability will be removed.
If a door is difficult to open, it’s likely to be difficult to close too. This will impact heavily on your security. Maintenance not only involves making sure the doors open and close smoothly, but that they aren’t rusted, bent, or in any other way compromised in a way that could give unwanted visitors access to your property.
Naturally, maintenance increases the life expectancy or your doors and shutters too. If a part needs attention it can be repaired or replaced long before it breaks down. You may not notice minor faults occurring in roller shutters, screens or doors, however, our team of qualified engineers can locate, identify and resolve potential problems so they never get to the stage where they will start to impact on your business. As well as running smoother for longer, the doors themselves will last longer, meaning less expense for you in the long term as repair is much cheaper than replacement.
Well maintained doors save money, reduce risk of injury and increase security. Any of these events will affect your business adversely, the cost of compensation and increased insurance premiums, the health and safety of your employees and the overall security of your premises have both financial and reputational costs.
Regular maintenance by qualified installers is a quick job as they know exactly what they are looking for with any type of barrier. They are able to come to your premises, and efficiently look at the doors, identify any potential problems where necessary and carry out repairs, usually in one visit.
We’ve discussed in the past the things that you should do around the home to keep burglars out, outlining some of the things that they look for when selecting a victim but how do you think like a burglar? What are the things that you look for that make you chose one house over another or decide that one juicy prize just isn’t worth the risk?
Find Your Target
An experienced burglar will look for different signs and clues that you’re not home. They’ll look for signs that you’re away for a long time or just popped to the shops. However, if they think you’ve just nipped around the corner, that won’t put them off if the pickings are rich. They’ll think of an excuse to come to your front door or peer through windows, evaluating whether they should break in now or wait for a more opportune time.
Don’t Stand Out
Things burglars hate, beside the police and magistrates, include attention and inconvenience. They’d like to be able to walk into anyone’s home and take what they like undetected. They look for houses at the bottoms of cul de sacs, homes that have overgrown hedges, broken fences, homes that are poorly lit with things like ladders left lying around unsecured.
Find Your Way In
Finding a house with a window left open is as good to a burglar as a gilt edged invitation and a copy of the key attached. They say a mouse can get through a gap the width of a pencil and burglars are much the same. Even if you could never imagine squeezing through a gap, could your burglar use it to get an arm in or a tool in that could make a bigger gap? Or something with which to hook keys and valuable items? And instead of leaving a key under the mat or on a ledge, think about leaving it with a neighbour instead.
Watching and Waiting
If a house is just too valuable a score, it could be worth waiting for. If a burglar has to make a quick hit and run they won’t get all the good stuff, so they will have to come back, and that increases the chances of getting caught. (Although it’s incredibly common for a house to be broken into once or twice again after an initial break-in as the burglar knows your security and what you own at home.) If you have overgrown hedges then they have a place to hide and observe. If you have broken fences they can sit in a car and keep an eye on your property. Bushes and shrubbery around windows lets them have a good look around without being seen from the street.
Enjoy the Holidays
In summertime windows and doors are more likely to be left open, people are out and about, enjoying the fresh air and the sunshine or jetting off to Ibiza or the Costa del Sol for a few weeks in the sun. In the winter there might be fewer windows and doors left open, but the hours of darkness and foul weather means that there is much more time to lurk unobserved and fewer people are outdoors as houses are doubly stocked with all those brand new Christmas presents.
Get Your Victim to Invite You In
Perhaps the most heartless means of burgling people is distraction burglary. The hero of this story pretends to be a legitimate visitor, from the electricity or water company in order to get access, usually to the home of the elderly or infirm. One person will keep their attention while an accomplice will go from room to room taking cash and any valuables they can find. Always ask for ID and, if possible, phone their company to see if there is anyone scheduled to be carrying out work in your area. A genuine representative won’t mind and a phony will reveal themselves by attempting to make excuses.
Keep Your Eyes Open
You need to be aware of security lighting and surveillance cameras. Mounting a big CCTV camera above your door is a very visible deterrent but it’s clear where it is and which way it’s looking. A burglar might find a way of disabling it or getting outside of its field of view, but that doesn’t really matter because ideally you will have several web cams located at various locations where the entire property is visible and sending a live feed of activity to the internet, your monitoring system and alarm company. These web cams are cheap, tiny and can be disguised as anything or hidden anywhere so even the most imaginative burglar won’t be able to imagine where to find them all.
Preparation is Everything
While going out equipped to commit a crime is a crime in and of itself, many criminals, are opportunistic and will have several of the tools they need to effect a break-in available at all times. These are the guys who just grab what they can and then leave as soon as possible. Far more effective and rather more sinister is the burglar who has been checking out your property for weeks. They’ll have seen something that interests them and will monitor your movements, the size of your family and their habits so that they know the best time to break in and clear your house out. The only way you can beat them is to be security conscious every day. Always make sure your doors are locked, windows shut and your garden isn’t making it any easier for them to get in.
You can bet your life that there are communities online sharing and disseminating information about the latest innovations in security and their attempts to overcome them. As well as picking up tips and tricks, you’ll find that credit card fraud and identity theft are easy to do online. If you want to avoid being the victim of this invisible yet damaging crime don’t give things like holiday plans away on social, don’t give out too many relationship details or dates of birth either. All security questions that credit card companies and banks ask can conceivably be bypassed by anyone who knows that kind of information.
Summer should be a time for relaxation, of afternoons in the garden and trips to the beach, even a jaunt over to the continent for a fortnight of sun, sea and sleep. Unfortunately, summer is a high time for burglars too.
In summer, with its long sultry evenings and hot sunny days, we’re much more likely to forego some elements of security in favour of comfort. It’s all too easy to slip out of the house for five minutes and forget to make sure all the windows are securely shut and kids will be in and out of the house all the time, leaving the door open. If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll need to keep coming and going to the shed or garage, and remembering to lock the door every time you get out a mower or spade is just a chore.
It’s just this kind of summer chill that criminals thrive on. These guys are professionals and their job is to notice any chink in your armour and exploit it. That’s not a scare tactic, that’s just a fact of life. Most people think that burglars attack under cover of darkness when everybody is out or asleep, in reality it’s more likely that you will be burgled in the afternoon because the streets are empty while everyone’s at work, at school or busy taking care of their homes.
Studies and statistics show that anything up to 40% of burglaries weren’t forced entries. Rather, the burglars were able to just stroll in through a door or climb through an open window. Another favoured method is to hook keys that have been left near the door so they can let themselves in. What makes this worse is that once they have your keys, they can come back at any time, let themselves in at clear your house at their leisure, and if they get your car keys too, then you’ve just supplied them with their get-away vehicle as well.
There are so many simple ways to persuade a burglar that your house isn’t worth the trouble of breaking into, but because we’re not burglars, it would barely occur to us.
Don’t be showy. Leaving bikes in the front garden, leaving the garage door open while you tend the garden and having expensive household items near windows is like an advertising hoarding.
Make it look like you’re in when you’re not. Leaving a TV or radio on when you’re out is the easiest way to trick anybody passing that you’re at home. If you’re going to be away from home for any length of time put lights and a TV on a timer.
Never leave a spare key under a mat or plant pot. It’s invariably the first place someone wanting to get into your home will look. Again, don’t leave keys within sight of the letterbox either.
While you’re in the garden, make sure your fences are well maintained and hedges are cut low. Rather than preventing people peering in, they actually mean that your neighbours can’t see if someone is acting suspiciously on your property.
Talk to your local Crime Prevention Officer and start a neighbourhood watch. You’ll get lots of really helpful advice and there’s no better security than people watching out for one another.
Let your trusted neighbours know if you’re going on holiday. If they can just keep an eye out you’ll have less to worry about, and if you’re going away for a long time, they can collect your mail and cut your grass, as these are really strong ‘tells’ to someone looking for clues that you’re not at home. And don’t forget to cancel the milk and papers.
Keep everything locked. If you keep bikes and tools in a shed or garage, lock them down. You should especially keep things like ladders and tools that could be used to break into your house securely locked away.
Install a visible alarm and security lights on the exterior of your house. Lights that come on whenever anyone passes by your house can be a real pain but well installed lamps and sensors will deter anyone from trying to get in at night.
Make sure side gates are locked. If someone can just walk into your back garden they will and it’s often the rear of the house that is least secure. Keeping all windows, doors and gates locked will mean that they can’t get into you home without attracting attention to themselves, and attention is what burglars fear most.