Surveying Your Property - The Onion Peeling Principle

There is never a bad time to stand back and take a good look at your security. Often the motivation for this will be news of a crime in the local area, or the experience of a neighbour. Sadly, you may have been the victim of a crime yourself, or security may simply be something you have always been meaning to 'look into'. Delay it no further! The good news is that anyone can carry out a basic survey - the key is to be systematic and to 'think like a criminal'! Be honest with yourself (is the lock on that shed really up to the job?) and make notes as you go along. 

Trained Crime Reduction Officers will always use the Onion Peeling Principle when conducting surveys. Put simply, this means examining each layer, from the outside to the centre. The outer layer will be the perimeter of your land (fences, hedges, gates). The next layer may include the shell of the building (windows and doors). Right at the centre may be targets within the home (TVs, jewellery, cash). At every layer you should give consideration to the following

1) TARGETS - the items at risk of theft or damage
2) PROTECTIVE items - such as fences, locks, alarms, safes, lighting
3) CRIMINALS - what can you do to deter them, obstruct them, or increase the chances of them being caught?

There are no golden rules for preventing crime, but as a rule of thumb all criminals want to act as quickly as possible, and to avoid being witnessed or confronted. Any obstacles you can put in their way to slow them down, to create noise, or to attract attention will be a strong deterrent to them. The old adage holds true 'don't give them an easy ride'. At all stages of the crime, the criminal is weighing up the 'risk' versus the 'reward', with enough obstacles in place he (or she) may give up and go elsewhere.

In addition to investing in security products, don't forget low-cost strategies. Keep greenery to sensible heights (remember - criminals don't want to be seen). Use the security products you already own (we all get into bad habits and leaves things unlocked. It is also a good idea to permanently mark items where possible with your postcode and building number - a thief knows that such marks are incriminating, and is much more likely leave empty-handed. One important point, overlooked by many people, is 'don't provide the means for committing the crime'. If an item could be useful to a criminal then it should be locked away securely, regardless of its monetary value. Old garden tools may be worth nothing to you, but will be surprisingly useful to a burglar.

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