The last Sunday of October brings with it two things – the official end of our British Summer Time (BST) and the start of prolonged hours of darkness. In light of this change to our daily routines, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is reiterating to homeowners and businesses the importance of staying safe during this winter season.
Since properties are left in darkness for longer, they can become more vulnerable to opportunistic crime. However, by simply ensuring that effective security measures are in place, the risk of our festive spirits being dampened can be reduced significantly.
“Preparing your properties for the winter months does not have to be a lengthy or expensive process” explains James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA. “In fact, ensuring that the security measures you already have in place are still effective can considerably reduce the risk of break-ins.”
For instance, check that your gates, doors and windows are properly locked at all times, whether the premises is vacant or occupied. However, just having your locks in place is not enough, be sure that they still are still effective, taking the time to replace them if necessary.
Other traditional methods can also help deter intruders. If you are leaving your property to travel during the festive season, keep your curtains closed but leave a light on, or ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your estate.
“If your property utilises electronic security measures, such as CCTV, it is also important to adjust the settings to match the change in natural lighting” continues Mr Kelly. “For example, if your remote monitoring and lighting systems are controlled separately, the timer on the lighting must be adjusted once British Summer Time ends. If these systems are out of sync, an unwanted gap can be created in the footage before the lighting switches on, possibly allowing for an intruder to take advantage.”
Lighting in itself is a useful security measure. Be sure that adequate lighting is in place, particularly in vital areas of a property. That being said, too much lighting in the wrong area can also lead to issues; for instance, a light that shines directly into a CCTV camera can subsequently impair the recordings.
Lone workers should also be particularly careful during the winter months, as the risks can greaten this time of year, especially for those working remotely and frequently outdoors. Rob Harris, of BSIA member company Connexion2, urges lone workers “to request monitoring if they feel at risk – the isolated car park you wouldn’t think twice about walking through alone in June can feel like a totally different proposition in November.”
There are an array of different security measures available on the market that will ensure properties, and people, are adequately protected during these darker nights.
“Before choosing a solution” adds Mr Kelly, “take the time to think about how a burglar could infiltrate your property and seek expert advise where necessary in order to prevent this from happening. Ultimately, regardless of the solution you decide upon, it is important that you choose a professional security provider who meets the appropriate standards.”
The BSIA website provides details of member companies that comply with relevant British and European Standards. Search for a member at www.bsia.co.uk/companyfinder.