Tag Archives: security survey

Alarming an Outdoor Area

ALARMING AN OUTDOOR AREA

Over the past few years we have tried alarming outdoor areas with a number of different types of alarm and alert system.  Many of these were inexpensive and the main problem was always far too many false alarms particularly at dawn when the birds became active.

Over the past month we have been trialling this new system which offers a whole new level of reliability if properly installed.

DETECTORS

This particular detector is an outdoor PIR detector packed with tech to help minimise false alarms, this one also has a camera that when it detects movement, takes a short video burst of whatever activated it which can be viewed remotely from anywhere in the world via its accompanying app.

The detector above is a slightly cheaper version of the first one, it has identical tech but just doesn’t have a camera.

In the month we have been putting this system through its paces, it hasn’t given a single false alarm but has reliably detected each test scenario we put it through.

These detectors don’t require a power source as they have a long life battery, they are tamper resistant and will detect and notify all forms of physical tampering including attempts to mask them.

These detectors can be included as part of our bespoke comprehensive internal alarm system as additional detours on the system covering the interior of your premises or they can be installed as a standalone independent outdoor system.

These are ideal for external parts of commercial premises, such as garden centres, secured car parks or to protect particular valuable assets outside any domestic or commercial premises such as overnight protection of your vehicles.  They are also ideally suited to outbuildings where they should minimise false alarms caused by animals.

We can also add magnetic sensors for external doors or gates into these systems.

NOTIFICATIONS

Detections can be handled in a number of flexible ways, the system can dial up to four mobile or landline numbers via traditional phone line or mobile GSM network of your choice.  It can be linked to professional 24 hour alarm monitoring services (currently offered free for the first year).  If connected via a broadband router, it can also be monitored and controlled and send notifications via an app on our phone or tablet.

For more information give us a call or visit our website at www.alarms.safeandsecure247.co.uk

Have a look also at the alarms page of our main website www.safeandsecure247.co.uk

Questions To Ask When You Phone A Locksmith

There are a few questions you ought to consider asking when you phone a locksmith;  Why? because it could save you lots of money and some locksmiths are simply better than others.

So,  questions you should ask when you phone a locksmith whether it is an emergency lock out or for some routine work.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Ask for an estimate of how much the work will cost,  personally, I always give callers an estimate of how much any given job is likely to cost them and will if at all possible give either a fixed price or maximum cost;  always ask if any estimate quoted includes VAT.

I am surprised that the vast majority of people never ask about cost, don’t ever by too shy to ask because any reputable locksmith will provide an estimate based on the average time it takes to do a particular job.

Most locksmiths charge by the hour and will estimate how long the job is likely to take, if you are given the hourly rate check that if they run into a new hour whether they will charge the whole hour or just the actual time taken.

Depending on they type of job, they may in some circumstances be able to provide a fixed quote although this could work out slightly more costly than the hourly rate as it is necessary to allow for unknown variables that might lengthen the time taken.

Clearly any estimate is just that, based on a customers’s telephone description it is impossible to determine all the variables that could cause delay but when the locksmith is working on site they regularly update you, explaining any issues and also provide you options based on what they find to enable you to make properly informed decisions.

WHERE IS THE ACTUAL ATTENDING LOCKSMITH BASED?

There are many so called locksmiths that advertise National coverage.  Whilst I can’t comment on their actual coverage they do not cover all areas and some sub-contract to anyone they can get, others might travel large distance which of course adds to the costs. Many of these companies charge considerably more than your local reputable locksmith some considerably more.

If possible check out the website which should have the address from which the locksmith operates.

HOW WILL THEY GO ABOUT THE JOB

If you are telephoning a local reputable locksmith, you are likely to speak to the locksmith that will be attending, if this is not the case then ask to speak to them.  You don’t need to know the full technical details but they ought to be able to reassure you they are not going to just get the drill straight out and cause damage that might not be necessary.  Drilling locks is usually the last resort.

WHAT ASSOCIATIONS DOES THE LOCKSMITH BELONG TO

Anyone can become a locksmith with no training, whilst some very good locksmiths choose not to belong to any of the associations, you have to be wary of potential “cowboys” too.  There are a number of locksmith associations for example the Master Locksmiths Association which ensure a level of good workmanship and reasonable charges etc, check out the association webpages if you have time and the locksmith attending should have identification or certification proving their membership.

IS YOUR LOCKSMITH CRB CHECKED?

As previously stated, anyone can set up as a locksmith, and you are going to trust them with keys to your property, or safe etc etc, if they are CRB checked this ought to prove they have no previous criminal convictions for dishonesty, once agin they ought to be able to show you documentation ort certification proving the CRB check.

WHAT DO OTHER CUSTOMERS SAY

If you are able to do so, have a look at the website, and see if there are any customer testimonials.  (Be slightly wary because some unscrupulous individuals can just make these up)  Have a good look at the website to see if it seems genuine and that your locksmith is a member of the local community if possible

SECURITY ADVICE

Many local reputable locksmiths over time become security experts, some have other previous security expertise to add weight to that expertise an can offer other services for example free no obligation security surveys so that you can be made aware of any security vulnerabilities you may have.

You have to put a lot of of trust in any locksmith you employ so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions including price estimates to help build that trust.

If you don’t ask a few questions, you might end up paying far too much or having a door that looks like this:

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Ten Simple Tips To Make your Shed or Outbuilding More Secure

Shed and Outbuilding burglary is a continuing to be a problem in the areas we cover on the whole, they tend to make easy targets and it needn’t cost the earth to make them more secure.

Below are ten simple tips to make your shed or outbuilding more secure. There are a couple of issues with sheds and outdoor buildings that many people may not realise; the total value of everything they contain is likely to be far higher than you might at first think and secondly, it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.

1. Consider the approach to your shed or outbuilding, do you shut/lock access gates?

2. Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what you need to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush, these can be extremely effective when planted around perimeter areas. Don’t go for height particularly at the front as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight. A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.

3. There are many forms of driveway alert that sound in the house when someone enters your drive these start from as little as £30.

4. Consider motion sensitive outdoor lighting. During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbours houses so as to cause a nuisance.

5. Starting with the outside of each shed or building, ensure the walls are as secure as they can be, mend any holes that someone could crawl through or make bigger etc.

6. Install the best security locking devices possible, ensure that padlocks and fittings are sturdy and function properly, and if an outbuilding leads directly into your home make sure that the connecting door is especially secure. Replace and properly secure any cracked windows, and consider adding wire mesh or grilles.

7. Secure any particularly valuable items with padlocks and chains to ground or wall anchors. If you use high quality security it would necessitate a thief having to use a noisy angle grinder rather than relatively silent bolt croppers.

8. Consider locking other smaller valuable tools items such as chainsaws etc to the same ground or wall anchors at least locking lots of items together to make them very difficult to move.

9. Consider CCTV or if that is beyond your budget, you could consider a high quality dummy CCTV camera.

10. Consider an alarm, these can range from a simple shed alarm which sell for less than £10 through to a properly installed alarm system either as part of or separate to the house alarm.

 

Just in case the worst does happen despite your best efforts, check that you have sufficient insurance cover for your sheds and outbuildings and that tools and equipment of significant value is covered. Ensure you comply with your insurers minimum requirements, such as locking ATVs to ground anchors as otherwise your insurance may not pay out. Make a note of the serial numbers of valuable tools and equipment, Mark them in some way either with a property marketing solution or by putting your postcode in a way that cannot be easily removed. Always consider asking the advice of your local reputable locksmith who should be able to assist with general security advice as well as product specific advice and will offer an installation service should you require it.

Do You Leave Windows Open at Night in the Summer?

Do you leave your windows open at night in the summer?  

If the answer is yes, it might not have crossed your mind that many burglaries take place with burglars entering through open windows whilst the occupants sleep.  Even if they are first floor windows it may be surprisingly easy to climb using drainpipes or items in your or a neighbour’s garden.

Luckily it is an easy problem to resolve and at the same time will alleviate any concerns you might have about the hazard of open windows if you have small children.

Below are a couple of devices available to prevent your windows from being opened wide enough to climb in or fall out.

Child Safety Lock
Child Safety LockCable restrictor

 If you live in Mid Wales or Shropshire, we’ll be happy to advise on the best type of device that suits your window type and specific requirements otherwise your local reputable locksmith should be able to assist.

How to Beat the Burglars this Winter

How to beat the burglars this winter by Christopher Middleton appeared recently in the Telegraph, below are some interesting excerpts:

Who better than a burglar to point out the weaknesses in your home security? Christopher Middleton meets a reformed criminal to get the inside track on locking up this winter.

Winter is peak time for break-ins, with longer nights providing more cover. The recession hasn’t helped, either. Burglaries are up from 651,000 in 2009/10 to 701,000 in 2011/12. Now the Metropolitan Police has launched an Autumn Nights awareness campaign, alerting people to the increased risk of burglary in the run-up to Christmas.

This is a subject Michael Fraser is intimately familiar with, having experienced it from the other side of the fence. He spent his childhood breaking into houses, stealing everything from cash to credit cards to televisions (small ones only, burglars like to travel light).

He was saved when a factory owner gave him a job to keep him out of prison. Michael turned his back on a profitable life of crime (one burglar was recently reported to have stolen £75,000 worth of goods in one year). He now earns an honest living as a security adviser for burglar alarm and insurance firms.
“Trust me, the last thing a burglar wants is a confrontation with the owner,” says Michael. “But if he is forced into one, he may well panic, then all hell can break loose.

“The best strategy is to keep them out of your house in the first place.”
Which is not as hard as it seems. We might like to think that we were unlucky to be burgled, that it was just a matter of our house being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the fact is that far from the sophisticated cat burglars depicted in films such as The Thomas Crown Affair or Entrapment, burglars are mostly opportunistic. Many homes give off blatant “burgle-me” messages to the passing thief and that message doesn’t have to be wide-open windows and unlocked doors.

“It may seem strange, but a burglar is far more likely to bypass a house where the front gate is shut and go for a house, where the front gate is open,” explains Michael.

“The average burglar is always looking for signs. If a front gate is shut, it is likely that the homeowner is security conscious. The same applies if you have two locks on your front door.

“But if your gate is left swinging wide open, or you only have one lock, you are probably a bit lax. And if that applies around the front, it is likely to apply doubly around the back of your house.”
You should also think outside the home, he adds: your garden can tempt criminals, too.

“I was always looking for houses which had lots of tall trees and bushes to conceal me. Or I would look for corner houses, where there weren’t any neighbours who might spot what I was up to.”

Nor should we kid ourselves that burglars will be put off by the presence of pets.

“For a start, a cat flap seriously weakens a door,” adds Michael. “On top of which, you know that people who have pets often don’t turn on their burglar alarms because they don’t want their cat or dog to set it off. So when you see a sign saying ‘Beware of the dog’, you don’t walk past. Instead you think, ‘This could be the one for me’.”

Other tell-tale signs are garden tables and chairs that you can stand on to climb through a window, plus tools that you can use to break in.

“Of paramount importance to any burglar is the ability to get in and out of the house as quickly as possible,” he says. “Two minutes in the house should be long enough. The first thing you do is to put a milk bottle on the inside of the front doorknob. Then if the owner comes into the house, the bottle smashes and alerts you.

“The key thing is to have your escape route worked out in advance. These days you can go online and look at maps to plan your entry and exit.”

What to do if you have been burgled:
Look for the spare keys It is the first thing you should do. Burglars often steal your spare keys, so they can come back in a few days’ time to really clear you out. If you even suspect the keys are missing, change the locks.

Contact the police they will give you a crime number to quote in an insurance claim. They should also arrange for a crime prevention officer to advise on future security measures and give you a contact at Victim Support.

Secure the property
Once the police have been, repair all the doors and windows. Call your insurance company to ask if they offer a 24-hour service.

Take precautions against a repeat
Once a burglar has been inside your home, and got the hang of the layout, it gives him the confidence to return. You need to upgrade your security measures to thwart him. Clearly, it can only pay to be prepared. So as the nights draw in, make sure you scrutinise your home as a burglar might. That way you can be sure to stay one step ahead of even the nimblest criminal.

An ex-burglar’s advice to homeowners on how to make the bad guys bypass your home:
Start with the front door because that is what burglars do. If your front door looks tatty, or if it only has one cylinder lock (e.g. Yale), instead of a cylinder lock plus deadlock (mortise), it will catch a thief’s eye.

Don’t skimp on the alarm – buy one from a reputable, well-known company, burglars bypass the cheap systems and spot dummy alarms a mile off. For maximum security, alarms fitted with cameras allow you to view your home from your computer.

Defend your alley – Make sure your side gate does not have a convenient handle for the thief to step onto and over. Put some trellis on top, too. Burglars hate it because it snaps.

Keep things hidden – To the passing burglar, your sitting room is like a shop window. Use curtains and blinds, so it is difficult to see in. At the same time, make sure your window locks are visible.

Cage your letterbox on the inside – It is standard practice for burglars to put a long stick through your letterbox and “fish” your keys off the hall table. Not only will they be able to break into your house, but they will be able to steal your car, then take away more of your possessions.

Lock up your tools – View your shed or garage as an extension of your house. Put at least a couple of locks on the outside, plus wire on the window, so thieves can’t use your garden spade or fork to prise a door open.

What Valuables have you got on display to Burglars?

The note below is an actual residential burglar’s research; discovered recently by police following a break in in Manchester it demonstrates the kind of attractive items openly on display to potential burglars, easy points of access to the houses and the research done by some burglars.

It is a good timely reminder to take a look at your house or commercial premises from a burglars perspective, what is easily on display particularly when you are out, walk around the outside of you house, how secure do you think it is, what valuables can you see. 

Safe and Secure 24/7 Locksmiths and Security have over 30 years police service experience and are currently offering free no obligation security surveys within the locality, just a few cost effective simple steps can make your house so much more secure.