|As British Summer Time (BST) officially comes to an end this Sunday (25th October) and the nights become longer, the British Security Industry Association reiterates the importance of effective security measures for homeowners and businesses.
Properties become more vulnerable to opportunistic crime during the winter months according to the Office for National Statistics’ analysis of seasonality in police recorded property crime, which identifies peaks during the winter quarter for both domestic and business properties. Indeed, according to insurance company Aviva, there is a 5% increase in claims for burglaries in the week the clocks go back alone. However, by simply ensuring that effective security measures are in place, this increased risk can be significantly reduced.
“Preparing your properties for the winter months does not have to be a lengthy or expensive process,” explains James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA. “In fact, by simply checking that the security measures you already have in place are still effective can considerably reduce the risk of a break-in.”
In the first instance, check that your gates, doors and windows are securely locked at all times and that the locks are in good condition. If locks are not in a good condition, it is a worthwhile investment to replace them as this is significantly cheaper than the damages that a break-in could cause.
If a property is likely to be vacant for any period of time during the winter months, taking simple steps such as keeping curtains closed but leaving a light on, or asking someone you trust to keep an eye on your property, can significantly deter intruders.
“If your property has electronic security measures installed, such as CCTV, it is also important to adjust the settings to match the change in natural lighting,” continues Mr Kelly. “For example, if your CCTV system and lighting are controlled independently, the timer on the lighting needs to be adjusted once British Summer Time ends. If the lighting timer is not adjusted, there may be an unwanted gap created in the footage before the lighting switches on.”
Those who work alone should also be particularly careful during the winter months, as the risks can be greater during this time of year, especially for those working remotely and frequently outdoors. Craig Swallow, Chairman of the BSIA’s Lone Worker Section, urges lone workers “to request monitoring if they feel at risk – places you might usually feel safe can feel very intimidating in the dark or during poor weather. It’s also important to remain vigilant and to try and stick to routes that are well lit when travelling at night.”
There is a wide variety of security measures available to help protect properties and people during these darker nights. Before choosing a solution, it is important to seek expert advice where necessary, to ensure that the solutions are suitable for your property.
“Ultimately, regardless of the solution you decide upon, it is important that you choose a professional security provider who meets the appropriate standards,” concludes Mr Kelly.
The BSIA website provides details of member companies that comply with relevant British and European standards.