Home Security and Distraction Burglary

Although there are very few burglaries in the Tunbridge Wells borough, it’s important to protect your home against unwanted visitors. Here are some ideas for improving the security of your home:

  • Check that all doors and windows are locked before leaving and have deadlocks fitted to all your outside doors.
  • If you have a UPVC door, lift the handle to engage the locking points and then lock it securely with the key.
  • Make sure the windows have key locks fitted, and don’t leave the key in the lock.
  • Don’t keep your house keys, car keys or spare keys in an obvious place, and never leave keys near the front door.
  • Fit an alarm and, most importantly, switch it on when you go out.
  • Look like you’re in when you’re out – set timer switches to turn lights and radios on and off.
  • Make sure your valuables can’t be seen through the windows.
  • Cut back overgrown hedges that a burglar could use to hide behind.
  • Remove strong tree branches that could be climbed to reach upstairs windows.
  • Make sure all garden tools are locked away – burglars could use your own garden equipment to force open a door or window.
  • Lock gates, install high fences and grow prickly plants to deter intruders.
  • Install sensor lights.
  • If you’re going away on holiday, cancel milk and papers and ask someone you trust to pick up post and keep an eye on your home.
  • Mark all your valuables so that if your home is burgled you stand a better chance of getting your property back.
  • If windows and doors are at street level, don’t leave them open while you’re upstairs or in the garden.

Distraction Burglary

Most people that call at your door will have a genuine reason to do so. However, it is important to be aware of bogus callers.

Their aim is to get inside your home to steal from you or, in the case of rogue traders, overcharge you for work that they insist is necessary.

Do utility companies have right of entry?

No utility company or council employee has right of entry to you home. If there is a genuine emergency involving water, electricity or gas they still do not have right of entry.  Check the caller’s ID card, but DO NOT LET THEM IN if you feel uncomfortable and call your utility company to check if an emergency at your property has been reported.

What if a caller states it’s an emergency or somebody needs help?

Whether it’s a person in a suit, in overalls or a pregnant woman who was just passing and 'desperately needs some water', DO NOT LET THEM IN. If a caller claims they are from the Water Board, Gas Board or Electricity Board, DO NOT LET THEM IN. These 'boards' no longer exist.

A doorstep protocol you may find helpful:

Lock – Is your back door locked? Always check as soon as someone knocks at your front door. A bogus caller may have an accomplice who tries to enter your home by the back door while you are distracted.

Stop – Do not open the door until you first look through a window or use a door viewer to see who is on your doorstep. Remember, you do not have to open your door to anyone, especially someone you are not expecting or do not know. If the caller looks in any way suspicious or if you are frightened, do not open the door and alert the police.

Chain – If you wish to speak to the caller, use a door-chain. Do not open the door unless you put the chain on first so that you can see the person on your doorstep. Find out who they are and what they want.

Check – Check their identity. If they say they are from a water, gas or electricity company they will have photo ID. If they cannot produce a genuine ID card, send them away and close the door.

For comprehensive home security and distraction burglary advice try the Secured Home website (link below).

This page as a PDF leaflet - see the link below.