Safer Homes and N. H. W.

A connected community is a safer community.

On this website there are many suggestions for you, and also, other useful local and general sources of information, advise and handy tips for you. Things like advise on home security and safety, and much more.

If you want to get more actively involved in promoting a safer community in your street then....

Any one interested in being part of Castle Point Neighbourhood Watch

please contact Clive Stewart, Chairman Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association

email essexcountynwassoc@btinternet.com

Clive Stewart is the Castle Point District Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator and he will be in direct contact with you on any Neighbourhood Watch information that relates to Castle Point District. The Essex neighbourhood watch website is www.essexnwa.co.uk which includes a page for Castle point Neighbourhood Watch.


Home Security

Most burglaries are opportunistic, not planned, so they’re easy to prevent:

Lock up

Deadlock doors and close and secure lockable windows if you go out or upstairs. Unlocked UPVC units can be sprung. Keep keys away from doors and windows in a place where they are not visible to anyone looking in, and don’t hide them outside.

Get a strong door with insurance company-approved locks.

Fit an entry viewer and/or a good door chain or door bar. A letterbox cage will prevent lock release or theft via the letterbox. Change locks in new houses so only you have keys. Don't give keys to anyone you do not know well.

The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) licenses its approved locksmiths through a process of vetting and checking. Visit the MLA website to search for an MLA-approved and registered locksmith.

Windows

Visible window locks may deter thieves. Secure easily accessible windows. Draw the curtains in the evening.

Lighting

Lighting with timers, movement or night sensitive switches on external doors, gardens etc. will deter thieves. Neighbours get used to movement sensors being set off by cats etc. so don’t rely on them alone.

Did you know that leaving an upstairs light on is a much better deterrent than a downstairs light? Burglars can quickly work out that no one is in downstairs, but if someone might be upstairs they will probably not risk it. The majority of burglars do not want to be seen or heard and certainly don’t want a confrontation. Specialist light boxes that flicker like a TV can be purchased quite cheaply and make a good deterrent too.

Valuables

Keep valuables hidden out of sight and not viewable from windows. Keep jewellery and credit cards secure and house deeds and other important legal documents in banks. Burglars look in ‘safe’ spots such as under mattresses and in shoeboxes and tins. Never keep large amounts of cash at home. Never leave packaging from new valuables such as computers and televisions visible with your general rubbish. Secure bikes by locking them to an immovable object inside a locked shed or garage. If possible, use a property marking service - your local Neighbourhood Policing Team should be able to tell you where you can get property marking from.

It's worth remembering that an expensive car parked on the driveway or outside the house can be a clue that there are valuables inside the house. What more incentive do you need to clear the clutter out of your garage and use it to keep your car?

Alarms

Visible alarms can deter burglars. Insurance companies, your local Neighbourhood/Home Watch or Crime Prevention Officers can recommend approved local alarm companies who can offer you quotations. Always seek at least three like-for-like quotations before making any decisions, and think carefully before buying any goods or services from cold callers at your door or over the telephone.

Gardens

These can be routes into homes. Secure yours with lockable gates and good quality fences, with 12 inch/300mm trellising and/or thorny plants. Lock away tools and ladders so thieves can’t use them to access your home. Lock outbuildings. Don’t store valuables in sheds unless well secured, e.g. with anchor bolts for large items, and use electronic shed alarms or padlock alarms to deter thieves.

Don't give clues to burglars!

This might sound obvious, but it's actually very easy to accidentally give away clues about your location on social media, like a holiday photo while you are actually still on holiday. It might be via 'checking in' somewhere or even something as simple as leaving your phone's GPS service turned on when uploading a photo to social media.

While you’re away

Don’t make it obvious that your home is empty. Use timer switches for lights (preferably upstairs), radios (tuned to talk stations), and a 'fake TV' flickering light box. Ask a neighbour to keep a car parked in the driveway. Ask someone to take in mail, milk, dustbins etc. If you have a trusted neighbour, friend or relative with a key, ask them to close the curtains at night and open them in the morning.

Example 1: Londonderry Road Neighbourhood Watch, Stockton-on-Tees

The group operates a service where members visit each others’ properties when they’re away to make them look occupied.

Example 2: Beeches Neighbourhood Watch, Uppingham, Rutland

Residents responded to a slight burglary increase by looking after people’s properties when they were away.

Watch out! Keep watch for unusual callers, call the police if you see anyone suspicious and keep pens and paper ready to jot down number plates. If you return to your house and think you might have been broken into, don't go into the house - the burglar might still be inside. Call the police.

Useful resources

The Sainsbury's Bank Blog has a useful infographic about how to improve your home security.

Car security at home

Most vehicle crime is preventable. Don’t leave valuables on show - not even a coat or an empty carrier bag. Park somewhere open and lock up. Use your garage if you have one or a car park, especially one with a ‘Park Mark’, showing it meets recognised security levels. Keep car keys away from your front door and out of sight in the home.

Remember to close the windows and the sunroof when you leave your car. Try not to store things in the boot, particularly overnight; take them with you if possible. Store car ownership information in your home, not your car. When you leave the car, especially overnight, take removable stereos, radios and satnav equipment with you.

Number plates are often stolen for criminal use. Use Secure Plates or plates secured with anti-theft screws available from car accessory stores or your local police.

Check with your local force for upcoming car crime prevention events.

Choosing the right security products for your home

When looking to improve or upgrade your home security we work with ACPO Secured by Designand promote their recognised security standards for all home security products such as windows, locks and doors.

Owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers, Secured by Design is the official UK Police initiative that focuses on crime prevention for homes and commercial premises. SBD works with the industry creating security standards that are proven to reduce burglary by 75%.

A not for profit organisation, Secured by Design run a licensing scheme that awards companies that meet its high level security standards; these companies are entitled to use the Secured by Design logo and promote the term 'Police Preferred Specification'. These products have been tested to higher security standards and so will withstand a higher level of attack then other products.

For further information of how to protect your home against burglars and for SBD member companies please visit: www.securedbydesign.com

Designing out Crime

Being inherently linked to the government's planning objective of creating secure, quality places where people wish to live and work, Secured by Design has been cited as a key model in the guide 'Safer Places - The Planning System & Crime Prevention' and in the Home Office's 'Crime Reduction Strategy '.