Crime Prevention & Reduction Advice
Guernsey Police produces an Annual Policing Plan which sets out our priorities; Crime Prevention and Reduction form an integral part of this plan. Andy Goodall is the Crime Reduction Officer for Guernsey Police.
Crime Prevention in Guernsey
Guernsey is one of the safest islands in the world, with one of the lowest levels of burglary. Although the reality of becoming a victim of burglary in the island is low, there are some simple measures that can help stop the would-be intruder from choosing your home.
Reduce the risk of burglary
When you go out, make your home look occupied, for example:
Park a car in your drive.
Leave a radio or television on or side table lights when it is dark so that while you are out any potential burglar will hear a noise or see a light and be deterred. Use a timer switch to set and control times if necessary.
Lock up to keep crime down
A third of all burglars break into houses through unlocked doors and windows, so lock them securely to keep the intruders out.
Always lock doors and windows even if you go out for a short time or if you spend time upstairs.
Leave any keys well away from doors and windows and put them out of sight.
ALWAYS double-lock any UPVC doors by lifting the handle and locking it with the key to fully engage the lock mechanism.
Think before you go to bed or go out, have you locked all your doors and side doors.
Fit good locks, appropriate to the type of door which complies with the current LPS (Loss Prevention Society) standards.
When moving into an older home, consider changing the locks on your doors to make sure that you have the only keys.
Consider fitting a letterbox cage that prevents access through the letterbox and the offender releasing the locks.
Make sure that your doors and frames are strong, in good condition and are fit for the purpose.
Glass panels on or around the door are especially vulnerable, so you should replace them with laminated glass which gives added protection.
If you have a door entry system, make sure that it is used properly.
Window locks which are visible from the outside may deter thieves because the lock forces the thief to break the glass and risk attracting attention. Thieves are reluctant to climb over broken glass.
Don't forget window locks for both sashed and hinged windows are available from DIY shops at a small cost. Get advice for the right lock for your style of window.
Pay particular attention to making sure that ground floor windows and windows that are accessible above flat roofs, close to drain pipes or in reach of fire escapes, are secure.
If you need advice, the names of local locksmiths who are members of the Master Locksmiths' Association can be found in the telephone directory.
Good external lighting will help to deter the thief when it is dark. Lighting should be placed to cover external doors and vulnerable areas such as rear gardens and sheds. Lighting can be controlled by automatic switches which react to movement, or dawn until dusk sensitive or timer-switched. Install the lights so they are out of reach.
The use of low consumption lamps is recommended with the units fitted to reduce the light glare and light pollution. Go for good quality rather than quantity.
Use timers to switch on internal lights if you return home late at night, particularly in the winter months when it becomes dark mid-afternoon.
When you go out, leave lights on in rooms that are usually occupied to give the impression that someone is in the house.
Look at your garden as the first step that a burglar may take on the way to getting into your home.
Remember to lock away gardening tools etc in your shed or garage, so they can't be used to break in. Keep ladders securely locked with a substantial chain and padlock.
Keep garden fences in good repair and consider having trellising on the top.
Make sure that you have a strong garden gate and always lock it. Paths giving access at the side of houses should have lockable gates placed as near to the front building line as possible.
Roses, a thorny hedge and spiky plants can act as green-leafed deterrents to stop would-be intruders climbing walls or fences.
Keep hedges, trees and shrubs in your front garden below windowsill height to stop the burglar having a screen to work behind.
Use additional locks for garages, shed doors and outside storage areas.
Don't store valuable items, such as golf clubs or fishing gear, in a garden shed unless it has additional security.
Be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for unusual callers in your neighbourhood. Call the police if you see anyone acting suspiciously. Don't be fooled by stories, criminals can be very plausible. You can make contact with your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme to find out what's happening in your area and get useful help. Don't be afraid to call the police at your local station or in an emergency dial 999. Keep a pen and some paper handy. The car number you jot down may be just what the police need to catch a burglar.
Out of sight
Make sure that expensive items e.g. stereo, CD player, laptops etc are not easily visible from the road, attracting unwanted attention.
Keep special property such as sentimental or expensive jewellery well out of the way by either wearing it or keeping it in a well-hidden place ideally under lock and key.
Try not to keep important or very valuable property at home. Items such as house deeds should be placed with a bank. Remember, burglars will look through drawers and under mattresses.
Keep cash or credit cards with you or in a safe place at home.
Consider an alarm
Visible burglar alarms may make burglars think twice.
If you can afford it, have an alarm professionally installed and make sure that you get a number of estimates before making your final choice. To get effective police response, the installer must be a member of an approved inspectorate body. Your insurance company should be able to recommend installers.
Alternatively Guernsey Police have an approved list of installers.
While you're away
When you go on holiday avoid drawing attention to the fact that your house is unoccupied.
Fit timers to lighting and radios to go on and off to make the house appear lived-in.
Don't forget to cancel deliveries of milk, newspapers etc.
Park a car in your drive way, perhaps your neighbour's.
Consider moving enticing items, such as videos and television, so that they are out of sight.
If you are away for a longer period of time in the summer months, ask your neighbour to cut your grass. This helps to show that the house may be occupied.
Ask someone you can trust to keep an eye on your home while you are away. Ask them to make the house look as if it is occupied by closing and drawing the curtains daily and taking in the mail, leaflets and free newspapers from the doorstep.
Postcode your property
Marking your property can deter burglars. And if it is ever lost or stolen, it will be easier to identify and you will stand a much better chance of getting it back.
Property can be marked in a number of ways including UV security marker pens, which leaves a mark that is not visible to the naked eye. These pens are available from good stationary stores at a reasonable cost or from Police HQ.
Take specialist advice before marking expensive or irreplaceable items.
Photograph valuable and smaller items on a plain back ground and use a ruler to show the size of small objects. If there is a distinguishing mark, take a photograph that shows it. Video footage of items is also useful.
Keep a list of all valuable property in a safe place, including make, model, serial numbers, description and value.
Consider forming or joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, which may deter criminals from being active within your area.
Advice and assistance
For advice and assistance on any of the above Crime Prevention issues please contact the Guernsey Police Crime Reduction Advisor on 725111 or direct line 719468.