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With the development of cheap home computing many companies have produced a diverse range of security products either connecting into existing home computer packages or incorporating a bespoke central unit. These are able to connect into a wide variety of device from door alarms to active-sensor activated CCTV systems.

While none of these devices is new, never before have they been available for the average home or small business. The pace of technological development means that state-of-the-art systems can now be available to anyone. Gone are the days of fuzzy, dim CCTV images, banks of video recorders capturing security footage and accompanying store room of cassettes or tempermental alarm systems going off at false alarms all night long.

Now your entire security system can be reliably left in the hands of computers. Self activating security cameras only record when they detect movement. Active sensors can trigger alarms or cameras and are more accurate and trustworthy than passive systems. Colour cameras with pan/tilt capabilities allow you keep wider areas of your perimetre under surveillance. 24 hours worth of clear footage from CCTVs camera can be stored on a hard disk and then selectively archived to disk. Meaning months worth of CCTV archive footage on a single shelf. IR lamps and floodlights allow the camera to record in total darkness.

Central systems allow your security devices to connect your to computer or television. Knock at the door? See who it is from your armchair with a click of your remote. Intruder or fire alarm activates while you're out? Have a message sent directly to your mobile phone and the police / fire brigade notified immediately and automatically.

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Neighbourhood Watch schemes can play an important part in creating safer communities by reducing crime and the fear of crime. Their main aims throughout Devon and across the country are:

  • To reduce opportunities for crime and to make it more difficult for the would-be thief, vandal or criminal to act in that neighbourhood;
  • To build up a community spirit so that neighbours work together for everybody's benefit, with particular attention to the needs of those who are especially vulnerable by reason of age, infirmity or isolation;
  • To pass on information to the Police about any suspicious incidents that occur.

  • Be a good neighbour
    If you see anyone acting suspiciously in your neighbourhood, call the police. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme – there are now over 130,000 in this country. Anyone can start up a Watch – call your police for details.

    If you are burgled
    A secure home will reduce the chance of you getting burgled. But, if you get home and notice signs of a break-in:

    • Don’t go in or call out – the intruder could still be inside.

    • Go to a neighbour’s to call the police.

    Crime Prevention advice
    All police forces throughout Devon have officers trained in crime prevention – contact your local Devon police station for advice.

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Exeter Security Specialists
Exeter security specialists offer helpful advice on how your garden appearance can influence thieves and also how to protect your garages from break-ins.

Landscaping can be an important part of a good home security plan in Devon and any other part of the country. Burglars will usually choose a house with tall shrubs and trees that provide hiding places. Homes with little or no outdoor lighting are preferred targets as well, as it means they will be less seen.

So, how can you landscape to protect against intruders while still creating an aesthetically pleasing garden? Here are a few tips:

Keep any trees well trimmed back from your house as it will open up the house entrance and deter thieves. Tree branches can be used as a ladder if they are next to a window or skylight so you must be careful that thieves do not gain access this way.

Next, mow your lawn regularly; an unkempt lawn can suggest that you are away on a trip or holiday and make your home more of a target.

Store ladders, picnic tables and other garden furniture out of sight as they can also be used as a means to reach high windows and subsequently gain access to your home.

Trim back shrubs growing near doors and walkways, keeping them 3 feet or shorter in height. Also, don't allow shrubs to block any of your windows.

Adding gravel under windows makes for noisy footing for would-be intruders.

Consider planting thorny bushes (of the low growing variety) around windows. These will deter any thieves as no is likely to want to fall in a prickle bush!

Keep your garden well lit. Motion-detecting lights make decent choices; body heat-triggered sensors are even better (less likely to be triggered by a waving branch or a passing animal). Both are widely available throughout the local Devon area.

Dogs can make good home protectors because they have keener hearing than humans, along with a propensity for barking at strangers. Dog training can help your dog learn exactly what you want him to do.

Protecting your garages

Is your garage protected from burglars? Garages are a favourite target for burglars because they contain such valuables as cars, bicycles, and tools that are easy to take. Also, garages are not likely to be occupied at night, so they make an enticing target. Once in the garage, it's easy for burglars to access the rest of the house, especially if there is a connecting doorway. If you have a door that leads from the garage into the house, make sure it is as secure as your front or rear door. A simple method of securing up and over garage doors from the inside is to drill a hole in the top channel above the wheels and insert a padlock into the hole. This prevents the wheel moving above the padlock and stops the door lifting even if it is being forced open.

For these reasons, it's important to secure your garage.

Start with your garage door opener. In general, it makes garage doors difficult to force open, but if you never changed the electronic combination from the factory setting, it might not be as secure as you think.

Also check the garage door itself. Make sure it is solid without loose panels or damaged corners that could make it easy for someone to pry their way in.

You'll want to similarly check any windows or entry doors to ensure they are secure. Make sure any windows are fitted with locks and doors should either be lockable or secured by padlocks.

Once you have done these things, apply common-sense in your day-to-day garage use. Don't leave windows and doors unsecured. Don't leave the garage door open, even if you're just driving down to the local shops. It only takes a moment for someone to run in and make off with your belongings. Also, an open garage door gives anybody walking or driving by a clear view into the interior, showing off any valuables you might have.

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