Unfortunately burglaries and car theft have reared their head in the media, both press and social, in recent days in what looks like a raising of the bar in the brazenness of home break-ins.
This morning I saw on Facebook a post where a home had been broken into by burglars, confronted the home owner for their keys whilst still in their home and drove off with their car. The fear and panic those poor people must have felt. Put yourselves in their position for a moment. I know we all think that we’d be brave and stupid enough to fight them off, but the reality is that we probably wouldn’t.
The method of break-in that is being used in this current wave is also concerning.
In that particular Facebook post the doors to this person’s home had been attacked with a blow torch. You could see the charred profile of the door, the handles snapped. Their aim is to get past the sacrificial snap point on the cylinder. You can figure out what they do next.
I have had this with a customer of my own recently. They tried to blow torch the door profile around the handle in the same way they did to the person’s doors in the Facebook post. They failed to get in to my own customer’s home which was good news. But it still resulted in a claim on their home insurance and them having to invest in even more home security measures.
It seems as though blow torching doors is now becoming a mainstream method of forced entry. It’s now appearing in the papers nationally. This Mirror article being a good example: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terrifying-new-technique-burglars-using-13983544
As with all things national media, industry folk know what’s been happening in the real world before it makes it’s way to mainstream media. So stories about the rise of blow torch attacks is nothing new to me and probably nothing new to you guys either. But with MSM now covering the story, this is going to be picked up by the general public much more quickly now.
This latest blitz of home break-ins, mainly to steal car keys, follows a more sustained upward trend of burglary which shows no signs of receding any time soon. I maintain that it was a major mistake by the Police to admit in public that they have very little in terms of resources to seek out these criminals and prosecute them. This was basically an open goal for thieves.
Here’s the sad thing. If you read that Mirror article it tells you that the person affected had been advised to leave the keys on the stairs so they don’t come in and threaten them. This is not the first I have heard of it, and plenty have said to me that they now leave the keys downstairs so that they don’t have to be confronted by the burglars. That is the current state of affairs, home owners practically presenting their keys on a night to potential criminals for fear of their own safety. A shameful situation.
So, what to do.
The Police aren’t going to be able to do much. I’m not slating them, but we have to face facts. They know, we know, the public knows that there is very little chance of burglars actually being caught. That leaves it to industry, our industry, to take the bull by the horns and say it loud and clear to home owners that we can help them make the burglar’s life harder.
The obvious first step is to make sure that the very best door cylinders are installed as standard on all new doors. But not only that, home owners should be offered to upgrade any existing door cylinders in their home even if they’re only looking at one door at that time. At least upgrading any current cylinders would be better than nothing.
Next, wipe off anything externally glazed. Bugger glazing tapes, clips or anything else. If scum bags see something they can try to prise off from the outside they will have a go. Don’t give them the chance, always do everything internally glazed.
Reinforce the frames of new windows and doors. Steel being the preferred material of choice. If you’re an installer genuinely serious about security and build quality of your windows and doors you’ll be offering this to home owners. Yes it will make your windows a few quid more expensive, but, if it means the home owner is safer and more secure at home then it has to be worth it. A bit of moral foresight costs nothing.
Composite doors. There are plenty of timber slab options out there, use them. There is no comparison between a foam slab and a timber slab when it comes to weight, strength and build quality. If a burglar is going to attack a composite door slab I know which one they will prefer.
Locking mechanisms for windows and doors. Actually put the better ones on. Don’t shave a few quid off here and there if you want to provide the home owner with a secure option, because you won’t get it.
Those are the obvious ones. A couple of left-field options would be to offer toughened or laminated glass throughout the house, not just the areas that might need it. This would be useful for home owners who are particularly keen on covering as many bases as possible. Toughened glass to every window wouldn’t be so much of a cost uplift, but laminated glass would. That being said, if a customer is anxious about break-ins, and lets face it the current trend is more than enough to do that, then they will go for it.
We have to own this and understand that no one else is going to be able to stop them. It’s going to get worse. Burglars are primarily after one thing and that is car keys. They will target any home with a half decent motor on the drive. They know the Police won’t come after them. Our industry however has a uniquely large connection to people’s homes as the products we make and install are the very first barriers to stop burglars in their tracks. We’re the ones who have to rally for the home owner. The products are there, we just have to use them.
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