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Protect Your Home

Protect yourself and your family by improving the security at your home

Last Updated 15 April 2024

Introduction

Our homes are important for us to relax and escape from the outside world, but they are also where you and your family can be vulnerable. This is due to a range of factors that include: having a relaxed mindset, the predictability of your routines, the security of the dwelling and the security mindset of those close to you.

The security of your home environment is dependent on:

  • The behaviour of you and your family.
  • The physical security measures in place at your home.
  • The security of the environment outside of your property.
  • Cyber security devices inside your property.

When reviewing your security, you should ask yourself whether your measures:

  • Make it difficult for others to gather information about you/your family.
  • Improve your situational awareness and alert you to activity that is suspicious.
  • Physically protect you/your family – putting protective measures between you and those seeking to cause you harm.
  • Reduce your cyber vulnerability.
  • Assist you in responding to an incident - e.g. calling the police, administer first aid or tackling a small fire.
  • Capture information that will assist with taking criminal or legal action against those seeking to cause you harm.

If the answer is that there are shortfalls in your security arrangements, the following information can help you secure your home.

Your behaviour and routine

You and your family must take responsibility for each other's safety and security. Introducing simple routines into your home life will improve your security and increase the opportunity to spot unusual or suspicious behaviour. For example:

  • Establishing a routine for making sure your home is secure when you are in the house during the day, going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Checking for signs of a break-in before entering the property and looking out for suspicious behaviour as you come and go from your home.
  • Being aware of your surroundings and recognising situations where you may be more vulnerable.

For detailed advice, consult:

ProtectUK

A suite of advice options when implementing a personal security plan.

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The earlier you can spot the signs of a potential threat arising, the more choices you have to act to avoid risk.

Physical security measures in place at your home

General crime prevention advice will go a long way to secure your home and it is important to get the basics right.  As you consider the physical security of your home you should:

  1. Understand the security that is already in place and check it is operating effectively.
  2. Identify if and how the existing security measures need to be improved.
  3. Decide if any additional measures are required.

The physical security can be broken down into the following components and each should be considered in turn.

  • The outer perimeter of your home –  Consider how your property’s boundary is defined and what you can do to control it. Do you have fences, walls and gates? Are they in a good state and how much security do they provide? For more information see The Blue Book.
  • Internal and external lighting – Lighting outside will help protect you as you come and go from your home and help you spot suspicious behaviour. Internal lighting set up with timers can help you create an impression there are people at home by switching on and off at random times. For more information see The Blue Book.
  • Garages, outbuildings and sheds – These areas may provide weak points to gain entry to your home, hiding places or provide tools to help gain entry to your home. Check the security and look for signs of forced entry. For more information see The Blue Book.
  • Doors/widows – It is important to understand the level of security that is provided by your doors and windows and how you can take a range of steps to improve their security. For more information see The Blue Book.
  • Additional guidance is also provided by the NPSA on steps that can be taken to resist violent attacks focused on causing physical harm to the occupants, rather than burglary. Refer to NPSA guidance on Door Security and Window Security.
  • Key care – Make sure locks on doors and windows are correctly used. The increasing use of keyless technology creates an additional vulnerability to gaining entry unlawfully. All types of keys should be stored securely and not left outside. For more information see The Blue Book.
  • Home safes – Sensitive information and property should be securely stored in an approved safe. For more information look at Secured by Design - home safe.
  • Alarms & CCTV – Considerable advantage can be gained from fitting both alarms and CCTV. They will provide warning of a potential attack, deter attackers and improve situational awareness in the event of an incident. However, care must be taken to understand the vulnerabilities that can be created by using smart technology for this purpose.  For more information see:
  • Safer areas – Guidance is provided at Prepare for an Emergency as to how you can prepare for an incident by creating a safe place to hide.

The security of the environment around the outside of your home

You can improve the security provided to you in the area immediately outside the perimeter of your home by taking some simple measures. Consider the following:

  • Talk to your neighbours – Decide if you should speak to your neighbours to ask them to report ANY suspicious activity.
  • Lighting and vegetation – Contact the local authority or other landowners to make sure that street lighting is working and the bushes are cut back to remove hiding places.
  • Communal entry areas and entry points – Contact your landlord or residents' associations to make sure communal doors are working and that other residents don’t unwittingly provide access to attackers.
  • Neighbourhood Watch – Is your home included in a Neighbourhood Watch or could you start one? Increasing your neighbours’ understanding of when to report suspicious behaviour will help you. For more information go to Neighbourhood Watch.

Cyber security of devices inside your home

Many everyday items in the home are now connected to the internet. It is important that they are used securely and you are not unwittingly creating a vulnerability. Detailed information is provided in the section Protect Information About You.

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