Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Fig­ures for burglary and house­break­ing (there is a le­gal dif­fer­ence but that doesn’t mat­ter if some­one steals from your home) have been fall­ing for 20 years.

It’s due to bet­ter se­cu­rity – we’re more con­scious of lock­ing doors, and fit­ting ex­tra bolts while it’s harder now to re­move win­dow panes with ra­zor blades.

It’s also down to fall­ing val­ues of one time theft favourites. DVD play­ers are now vir­tu­ally worth­less sec­ond hand, lap­tops may need work be­fore a sale to un­ques­tion­ing buy­ers, and tele­vi­sion sets are too big to carry away eas­ily and are of­ten bolted to walls.

But while this fall is wel­come, there is an­other, more dis­turb­ing trend – the tar­geted burglary.

Thieves look for out­ward signs of wealth – jew­ellery, ex­pen­sive watches and pricey cars – and then bur­gle those homes hop­ing to find some­thing easy to move and easy to sell. Rings and neck­laces and time­pieces all fit the bill.

In some cases, thieves by-pass elec­tronic good­ies and go straight to bed­rooms where they ex­pect to find draw­ers or safes con­tain­ing valu­ables. They may re­move safes to smash open later.

One an­swer is in­stalling closed cir­cuit tele­vi­sion. While some sug­gest that cam­eras are an ad­vert that you have valu­ables, and they are lit­tle help if thieves wear masks or hoods, they can help po­lice in find­ing bur­glars – in­clud­ing those who break into neigh­bour­ing premises – and, more im­por­tantly, serve as a good de­ter­rent.

Be­sides wor­ry­ing about po­lice look­ing at footage later on, house­break­ers also fear that home own­ers with a cam­era might have spent more money on other safe­guards – thieves al­ways want a fast in and out.

Which? has been look­ing into CCTV for the se­cu­rity-con­scious home­owner. How much you spend on a sys­tem can vary widely.

At the very ba­sic end, you can spend a ten­ner or so on a dummy cam­era, which may fool bur­glars, es­pe­cially at night.

After that, your out­lay could be as lit­tle as £20 for one wired cam­era all the way up to nearly £500 for a top of the range van­dal and weath­er­proof de­vice. You’ll also need to buy wiring, and a recorder to cap­ture the images.

You can buy wire­less cam­eras but Which? sug­gests that these are vul­ner­a­ble to in­ter­fer­ence from other de­vices such as routers, mi­crowaves and cord­less phones. They stop work­ing if your in­ter­net con­nec­tion is lost.

Is it worth in­vest­ing in cam­eras to keep your home se­cure?

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