The Security of Your Home - What You Can Do to Improve It
We all want to feel that our homes and property are safe from intruders. There are many things we can do ourselves to help to protect them. Here are a few of the simple, self-help measures we can all take to improve the security of our homes and property. They are all either free or low-cost.
Always use the existing security that is fitted to your home to best effect. It may not be perfect, but it’s far better than doing nothing.
Locks and Keys
When leaving the house unoccupied for any time, always lock all doors and windows. When locking the main door, always turn the key twice to make sure the locks are fully engaged. External cellar doors are especially important, as they are often out of sight.
When leaving the house unoccupied for any time, don’t leave ground floor windows or patio doors open in the tilt position, even if locked.
Don’t leave the keys in the lock or near to any window or any door that has a glass panel. This allows a burglar to smash the glass, reach through, and use the key to unlock the door or window (bear in mind that a burglar wants to get out quickly as well as in).
Don’t leave a key in an easily accessible place (under a plant pot etc). If you need to leave a spare key somewhere, leave it with a trusted neighbour.
Most SFA have external lights fitted. These are usually (but not always) fitted with switches to allow you to either:
- Switch them on yourself every night when it goes dark, or,
- Switch them on so that the movement detectors (if fitted) trigger them.
When you are away from home overnight, if you use the second option, the lights will come on anyway. If your switches only let you use the first option, then ask a neighbour to switch them on and off at relevant times for you when you are away from home.
Both of these options help to deter burglars, so one or the other should be used every night, whether you are at home or not. This is even more important if the lights are near a door or window. It is especially important for outside cellar doors which can’t be seen by passers-by, as they are usually at the bottom of a flight of steps.
If you leave the outside lights off completely at night, you give potential burglars what they need - COVER!
If you are concerned about the cost of your outside lights being on all night, change the bulbs for Energy Saving bulbs. Even though these are more expensive to buy, they last between 10 and 15 times longer, and are much more efficient.
If any of your external lights are defective, report the fault immediately, including the street lights.
When answering the door, apply the door limiter (the small chain which stops the door fully opening) so you can identify the caller before allowing them access to your home. If there isn’t one fitted to your home, ask your Housing Support Officer or Estate Manager to get one fitted.
Always ask for the ID of any callers such as workmen. If you are not happy that the caller is genuine, do NOT let them in, and report all details to the RMP immediately.
There are also a few simple things you can do to add to the security of your home.
Timers. Fit timers to any plug-in lights inside the home, so that they come on when you are away. You can also do this with a radio. Set the timers to come on at times such as the morning and evening. These simple things will give the impression of the home being occupied, which is a major deterrent to a burglar.
Dummy Alarm Boxes and Dummy CCTV Cameras. Both these items can cost as little as €5. The cameras should be sited at vulnerable points such above patio/back doors, and the alarm boxes in a place where they can easily be seen by a potential intruder. These are also major deterrents to a burglar.
Window / Patio Door Locks. If your ground floor windows or patio doors aren’t fitted with locks, ask your Housing Support Officer or Estate Manager if they can be fitted.
Property Marking. This is where you give your valuables an identifying mark, and record the details of the item so it can be easily identified. Full details of this are on the leaflet called ‘Coded for Keeps’, which is available either in hard copy from the RMP station, or to download from the BFGnet.
Gardens. Keep the foliage in your garden trimmed back so that vulnerable points, such as patio doors etc, can be seen by passers-by or police patrols. This is a further deterrent to burglars, as they don’t want to be seen.
Reporting Suspicious Activity
You should ALWAYS report anything suspicious to the police; no matter how trivial it may seem. It’s much better to report something that turns out to be harmless, than to not bother to report something that turns out to be important.
For a non-emergency call, you should call the RMP Station (Military - 94879 - 2223; or Civilian: 05254 982 2223). They will record the details, and if needed, they will liaise with the German Civil Police (GCP) on your behalf.
You can also contact the RMP in BFG via email:
Due to the distance between many SFA in BFG and the one remaining Military Police Station in Sennelager, the response time for an RMP patrol can be too long in the case of an emergency. Therefore, unless you live in the Sennelager/Paderborn area, emergency calls should always be made to the GCP (emergency telephone number - 110). If you are unable to make contact with the GCP due to language problems, then a call should be made to the RMP emergency number (05254 982 2222), when the duty interpreter will contact GCP on the your behalf.
A follow up call should also be made to the RMP to make sure that a record is kept by them of all incidents.
Crime Prevention Advice
Further Crime Prevention advice on any subject can be obtained from the RMP.
The golden rules of crime prevention are simple - you need to make criminals do three things.
Take more Time - Make more Noise - Be more Visible
Preventing crime is everyone's business.