THE HOME is a place where people expect to feel safe and
secure and, statistically, the likelihood of a physical encounter with an intruder is very low. The
chances of such a situation occurring can be reduced by installing protection in the form of appropriate
This will increase the level of protection in the
home. Potential risks to personal safety can also be minimised by observing sensible security practices.
General security precautions.
It is unwise to leave door keys under a flower pot, mat,
in the letterbox or similar hiding places. These are very easily found by inquisitive burglars. Be
wary of leaving keys with tradespeople, as keys can be copied.
Items left lying around such as ladders, tools,
gardening implements, lawn mowers and bikes can attract a criminal onto the property, and some items may be used
to gain entry to your home.
Open garage doors and open windows can also be
attractive to criminals. Windows should have security fittings, particularly if left open during the day
when you are out.
If you are at home and leave any exterior doors
unlocked, consider that a prowler could take the opportunity to gain easy access.
When arriving home at night it can be a good idea to
carry your house keys in your hand for quick entry if needed.
It is important not to overlook fire hazards when
considering home security practices. The installation of smoke alarms and the availability of fire
extinguishers are ways in which you can reduce the risk of serious fire occurring in your home.
Be aware that large shrubs, plants or very high fencing
can provide a place for a prowler to hide. Thorny plants along the fence line can discourage prowlers from
climbing over, and having fully enclosed fencing with a gate creates a barrier. Prowlers are less likely
to target such property with restricted access and restricted escape routes.
Ensure your house number can be seen clearly from the
road at all times. Visibility of a house number at night is important for police and other emergency
services responding to a call.
Some people wish to display their names on
letterboxes. This can help a prowler or burglar gain information about who live, at the address.
Fitting exterior sensor lights can deter prowlers and,
if returning home late at night, can provide good visibility of the surrounding area for the home owner.
Here are some basic measures to increase home
• The fitting of deadlocks to outer doors and
internal access garage doors.
• The fitting of lockable bolts to ranch sliders and
• The fitting of door viewers and security chains.
Other measures can involve installing a burglar alarm,
having panic buttons for a burglar alarm in the bedroom, having light switches within reach of your bed and a
telephone list of emergency contacts also in your bedroom.
Responding to people at the door.
• Observe first. Always check through a window or a
• Only open the door partly with a security chain
• Refuse entry if in doubt and telephone the police
or a neighbour.
• Switch on outside lights when dark to see who is
• Think suspicious.
Strangers may be thieves trying to gain entry to your
home. Only open the door fully after examining identification and satisfying yourself that the person is
If you are alone you can create the impression that
someone else is present by shouting out that you will answer the door.
Different ways people may attempt to gain entry to your
• Asking to use your telephone.
• Asking for a glass of water.
• Asking for donations.
• Conducting a survey.
• Impersonating sales representatives, officials,
tradespeople or others, or simply asking if a fictitious person lives there.
If someone comes to your door asking to use the
telephone offer to make the call for them.
Prowlers on your property.
Prowlers are either potential burglars or peeping toms
who will attempt to peer through any window or curtain that has not been drawn.
Lingerie left on the washing line overnight may attract
this type of person onto your property.
Check all your doors and windows are secure when you go
out or before going to bed at night.
A woman by herself at home can place objects on the
porch or similar place suggesting the presence of another person at the address. A pair of large boots,
for example, may deter a prowler.
If a prowler is seen phone the police immediately and
your neighbours. Remember to get as good a description as possible of the person and the direction they
If you think a prowler is about to break in switch on
all your lights and make as much noise as possible.
It is best not to go outside even if you think the
prowler has run away A police dog team may have been called and needs an uncontaminated track. Going
outside could also expose you to danger if the person returns.
Remember - think suspicious, be suspicious. You
should not compromise your safety by opening the door to strangers and allowing them inside unless you have
established it is safe to do so.
For information on Neighbourhood Watch see