The aim for this home security self-assessment is to answer ‘yes’ to most of the statements. Where the answer is ‘no’, you should take appropriate action to address issues where possible and practical.

Remember, most burglaries are committed by ‘opportunist’ criminals who may be passing by and notice a window left open, a house that looks unoccupied or has little obvious security, or where there is natural ‘cover’ so they think they won’t be seen.

Alarms
Consider fitting a monitored burglar alarm to your premises as this is the only type of alarm that police will respond to. Other types of alarm include ‘bells only’ that will draw attention to your property in the event of a burglary.

Audible alarms rely to some extent on there being someone in the vicinity to hear them, so in remote areas these alarms become less effective. [Yes] [No]

The alarm sounder box itself should be fixed to a prominent position on the front of your home to act as a visual deterrent. [Yes] [No]

Consult your insurance company for the type of alarm they recommend to comply with their policy. [Yes] [No]

The alarm system should be regularly maintained, as false activations can become an annoyance for your neighbours and a waste of police resources. [Yes] [No]

Lighting
Please ensure the exterior of the home is well lit during the hours of darkness, avoid fitting sensor operated lights as these can be easily defeated. Consider fitting lights on timer switches inside your home with a fake TV light to give the impression that the home is occupied. The following lighting advice for your home applies:

Use ‘Dusk to Dawn’ lighting. Lighting your home sends a message to a potential thief that the householder has put in place security measures. [Yes] [No]

Use timer switches on internal lights so they switch on and off automatically and make it look like there is someone at home. [Yes] [No]

A simulated TV and/or radio used on a timer switch during the dark evenings is an inexpensive way to give the appearance that someone is home. [Yes] [No]

Doors and Windows
Installing ‘Secured by Design’ doors and windows can greatly enhance the security of a property. The strongest doors and windows can still be overcome if you do not ensure that they are double locked whenever necessary. A sound routine should be established to prevent a burglar taking advantage of an open window or insecure door:

All external doors should be fitted with at least one lock. For uPVC or composite doors, this should be a Euro profile lock to TS007 standard (‘Three Star’ for full protection). External wooden doors should be fitted with at least two mortice locks that meet British Standard BS3621. [Yes] [No]

If locks need to be replaced, consider the condition of the door and frame as it may be more beneficial to replace it with a PAS 24-2012 door and frame that will be more robust in construction. [Yes] [No]

For uPVC doors, you must lift the handle and turn the lock to double lock it. [Yes] [No]

Patio doors are potentially vulnerable. An anti-lift device could be installed to prevent sliding patio doors being lifted out of their tracks. Locks fitted to patio doors should also meet the standards highlighted above. [Yes] [No]

Window locks are strongly recommended for all windows to secure your property. [Yes] [No]

If you do not have a window in your front door, or some other way of checking who’s calling, fit a ‘spy hole’ or electronic door viewer. Remember ‘Not sure? Don’t open the door!’ [Yes] [No]

Consider fitting a letterbox restrictor or deflector plate to prevent thieves from using the letterbox to open the door from the inside and/or steal items. [Yes] [No]

It is a good idea to display a ‘no cold callers’ sticker on your front door to deter bogus callers. [Yes] [No]

Alert Systems
Camera alert systems are can be installed to notify you via your smartphone to potential criminal activity in or around your home. These systems can provide police with photographic evidence of offenders.

A doorbell camera with a motion sensor alerts you to activity and enables you to view, hear and speak to anyone at or near your front door via your smartphone, tablet or PC from anywhere. [Yes] [No]

An interior camera, activated via motion sensor, alerts your smartphone to activity in your home when you are out. [Yes] [No]

Valuables
It is important you hide and secure your valuable items in your home. If these are visible, they can attract intruders.

Place your car keys in a secure metal box as far away as possible from the front door, to prevent the interception of radio signals from the key. Cars can be stolen using this method. [Yes] [No]

Handbags and wallets should never be left in sight of windows and doors. [Yes] [No]

Any jewellery or high value items should be kept locked in a substantial safe that is secure by raw bolts to the floor or wall. [Yes] [No]

Do not leave charger cables plugged in or in view of windows as this alerts burglars to the possibility of high value electrical items inside the home. [Yes] [No]

Consider the security of your post. Theft of mail can lead to identity theft and fraud. External letterboxes should be lockable. [Yes] [No]

Always be present for the delivery of high value items or collect them from the distribution point yourself where you can provide ID to retrieve your items. [Yes] [No]

Have you photographed your valuable items next to a scale that will indicate their size to allow possible identification? [Yes] [No]

Security Marking Property
Security marking is one way to help ensure that the police can return your property to you if it has been lost or stolen or to prove an offence has occurred, which may lead to a successful arrest and prosecution.

Why not register and mark your property free of charge on www.immobilise.com? Immobilise informs the police, insurers and the second hand trade and helps in the recovery of your property.

Property should be marked on the back or underside of the item with an ultra violet pen or by engraving your postcode with your house number or the first two letters of your house name in brackets. If you move home, security mark all your items again. [Yes] [No]

Items which cannot be marked by conventional means, such as jewellery, should be photographed and keep the photographs in a safe place. Please use enclosed scale to indicate the size of the items. [Yes] [No]

Garages & Sheds
Garages and sheds are often full of expensive tools, which thieves may use to break into your home!

Never leave a garage or garden shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house. A thief could get in and work on the door inside without being seen. [Yes] [No]

Fit close shackle security padlocks to shed and garage doors and ensure substantial doors are fitted to withstand attack. [Yes] [No]

Lock up and chain ladders together to ensure a thief could not use them to gain access to your home. [Yes] [No]

Place tools in locked steel boxes that are raw bolted to the floor or wall. Fit ground anchor posts to secure larger tools and equipment. [Yes] [No]

Visibly and permanently mark all property you keep in sheds and garages. [Yes] [No]

Consider purchasing a low cost shed/ garage alarm, on a separate circuit to the home alarm system. [Yes] [No]

Gardens & Fencing
Fencing is often the first line of defence when it comes to deterring a thief. It can offer a barrier which is either difficult to climb or helps define your property. Garden equipment can often aid a burglar to access your home. Please consider the following:

Low level planting or fence and gate (approx. 1m high) at the front of your house will allow a potential burglar to be seen by you and/or your neighbours. [Yes] [No]

Burglars don’t like gravel, it’s noisy to walk on. [Yes] [No]

Position your wheelie bins where they cannot be climbed on to gain access. [Yes] [No]

Gates leading to the rear of the house should ideally be in line with the front of your property. This increases the chances of you or a neighbour seeing someone trying to access them. [Yes] [No]

A thorny hedge along the boundary of your property deters thieves. Consider planting spiky plants or prickly bushes. Ensure that passers-by can see the front of your home so a burglar would be seen. [Yes] [No]

At the rear of your house a fence approximately 1.8m high with an open trellis provides good security and is difficult to climb. [Yes] [No]

Do not build pergolas, gazebos or other structures too near to the house, they can help thieves reach upper windows. [Yes] [No]

When you are away…

If you can, get a friend or neighbour to look after your home while you are away. Ask them to collect your post, draw your curtains at night and open them in the mornings, and generally make the place look lived in. Be prepared to do the same for them. [Yes] [No]

Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries to avoid indicting that the property is empty. [Yes] [No]

Cut the lawn before you go away. If possible, ask someone to cut it again if you are away for some time. [Yes] [No]

Do not publish your absence on the internet or social media. Comments and photos can indicate that you are away from home. [Yes] [No]

Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members or a bank, or lock them in a safe. [Yes] [No]

If you normally leave valuable pedal cycles or similar items in your shed, consider putting them in the house for extra security while you are away. [Yes] [No]

Avoid discussing holiday plans where strangers may hear details of your absence from home. [Yes] [No]

For further advice, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team at Hertfordshire Constabulary on the non-emergency number: 101.

This guide was provided by Hertfordshire Constabulary, you can download the Home Security Survey
Self Assessment Checklist.