August sees the start of a month-long anti-burglary campaign in Lancashire.
Lancashire Police will be sending out key messages aimed at raising awareness and reducing and preventing offences of burglary across Lancashire.
In a two-pronged approach, the general public, residents considered to live in vulnerable areas and vulnerable individuals will be given information and advice aimed at target hardening and risk reduction.
Known and suspected offenders will also be targeted. This will take the form of a cooperated education strategy and a ‘catch and convict’ strategy for those offenders who are unwilling to cooperate.
The Police will rely on the public to propagate messages and information and also to increase and improve reporting to the Police.
Information from the public is crucial and key to the success of the operation.
Here’s a little background:-
Every year, when the weather starts to warm up, the police will start to see a rise in burglary reports. This is because, in an attempt to stay cool, we start to leave a few windows open. In the UK these spikes in what are termed 'unforced burglaries' begin around May and carry on until the end of September, depending on the weather, of course. A large number of these burglaries will occur with the victims asleep in bed.
Remember: Open windows and doors are opportunities and opportunity is one of the main drivers for crime.
There is nothing wrong with opening a window at night, but there are ways of doing it that won’t increase your risk of becoming a victim of night-time burglary.
If you can, only open windows that are inaccessible from outside. By definition this will exclude windows in the basement, ground floor and those on floors which are accessible by climbing. Accessible windows by climbing would include those next to a soil or rainwater pipe and those onto a flat or climbable pitched roof. It might also include windows that can be climbed up to via a garden structure or perhaps a climbing shrub growing against a wall. If you leave an insecure ladder in the garden then many other windows will be at risk
If the window you want to open is accessible then follow the guidance below. You will have to determine the level of extra security you might need bearing in mind that if the window is onto a flat roof then the thief will be able to exert the same forces as if he or she were standing on the ground
Some casement windows are fitted with a secondary locking point, enabling you to have them slightly open for a little ventilation. Lock them fully when you go out
You can fit sliding sash windows with additional lockable sash stops to allow a 10cm ventilation gap. Lock them fully when you go out
If it’s a child’s bedroom then there should be child safety locks (for ventilation) on the windows anyway and most times these will be sufficient enough for night-time security where climbing up to that window is going to be difficult or simply not possible. Lock them fully when you go out
To ensure maximum security for an open-at-night accessible window fit a security grille on the inside. A grille can be used during the day too, so long as the home is occupied. If you go out these grilled windows should still be closed and locked
Locked door gates fitted on the outside or inside of an external door (depending on the opening direction of the latter) are also sometimes used and are a common sight in some Mediterranean countries. This allows you to leave a door open for air, but maintain the security, although you should fully lock the door at night when you go to bed or when you go out. Remember your means of escape in a fire. It would be prudent not to lock the gate at night, so that you only have the final exit door to unlock. Delays cost lives!
Some other thoughts:
Stick a sign on your final exit door to remind yourself to close and lock the windows when you go out!
Follow the KOPCAR locking up routine when you go to bed at night
Do you open the windows in hot weather because you are simply in the habit of doing so? I’ve found with my well-insulated house that keeping the windows closed with the vertical blinds shut keeps the inside of my house a couple of degrees cooler compared with when I have opened the windows and let in the extra warm air (34°C in the shade of my back garden one day in July 2015!). This is especially true when there is no breeze. Try it for yourself by experiment. Take two days on the trot with the same outside shade temperature and use a thermometer to measure the temperature at the same spot in a room on both days, one day with the windows open and one day with them closed and the curtains/blinds drawn. See the difference and decide. You won’t know what to do unless you experiment and you could be needlessly opening the windows – just a thought!
Portable air conditioners are normally only effective if they are used in a small room with the doors and windows closed. Some people don’t realise that! Non-condensing types need to expel hot air out of a window, so you’ll have to ensure that window is secured.
Moving air is cooler than still air so think about getting a standing fan or having a ceiling fan fitted. Both this and the previous point may negate the need for you to open a window. And the fewer windows open the lower the chance of burglary.
If there is a climbable rainwater pipe close to a first (or above) window that you like to leave open at night you might like to consider making the rainwater pipe un-climbable. This can be achieved by fitting a device known as a 'Kelly Coupling'. A Kelly Coupling incorporates a stainless steel compression spring within a long lasting rubber sleeve, which replaces a small section of an existing or new rainwater pipe. When a thief attempts to climb up the pipe the spring compresses and the pipe to which it is attached decouples from the joint above. After a failed attempt to climb the pipe, the pipe can be easily refitted. Warning notices (supplied) must be displayed.