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Burglary Free: Strategies for the community

Burglary prevention tips

Locks, bolts and security devices

  • Lock your car and your garage.
  • Keep the doors locked, even when you are at home.
  • Keep your spare key in a safe place. Burglars know all the usual places.
  • Generally, the more expensive the lock, the more effective it will be.
  • Consider installing burglar alarms.
  • Sensor lights act as a deterrent.

Recording details of valuables

  • Record the serial numbers of your possessions and keep the record in a safe place. 
  • Keep valuables in a safe place, such as a safe or at the bank.

Reporting crime

  • Report any suspicious activity you see to the Police.
  • Always report a break-in.
  • If your house gets burgled, leave things as they are until the Police have been.
  • If you come home and you notice an intruder in your house, go and ring the Police. Do not enter the house.
  • If you are at home and you notice an intruder in your house, endeavour to leave the house without alerting the intruder and ring the Police. Do not reenter the house. If you can 't leave without alerting the intruder: keep calm,  dont block their exit, and try to memorise what they look like.

Other crime prevention tips

  • Make your house looked lived in while you are away.
  • Most burglars are opportunists. Don’t leave your keys, wallet, purse or credit cards in obvious places or near windows.
  • Work out an emergency exit plan with your family.
  • The Fire Service can give you help on emergency exit plans and installing smoke alarms.
  • Keep tools and ladders locked away when not in use.
  • Ensure your house visible from the road.
  • Keep trees and shrubs near windows trimmed back.
  • Check that your insurance policy is up to date.

Receiving stolen property

Receiving stolen goods is a crime. People who receive or buy stolen goods can be arrested.

A person becomes involved in receiving when they take possession of any property that they think has been stolen or illegally obtained.

Some indications that goods may be stolen include:

  • serial numbers or distinguishing marks have been removed or defaced
  • goods are being sold at well below market prices
  • goods are being sold in unusual places, such as hotels or flea markets
  • the seller doesn’t give their name and/or won’t give a receipt
  • the seller can’t or won’t give any information about when or where they bought the property, or how much they paid.

A parent/community meeting

It is sometimes hard to get large numbers of people to a community meeting however this is an effective way of sharing information with a large group of people. The burglary topic should in itself be a draw-card, and other enticements could be added to the programme. Follow these steps for a successful meeting.

Form a committee

The meeting should not be the responsibility of the school alone. The organising committee should be a small group made up of people such as the School Community Officer, community constable or other police officer, a school representative, a member of the Board of Trustees, and a representative from the Safer Community Council.

The committee makes decisions


  • the date of the meeting – it could be before, during or after the students have started lessons about burglary
  • time – what time suits most people
  • venue
  • child care
  • invitations – who will be invited and how this will be done
  • publicity – this should be before and after the event, to ensure that as many people as possible in the community receive the important messages
  • special guests and speakers – this could include the Area Controller, detectives, Victim Support, Neighbourhood or Rural Support, security firms, locksmiths, local government representatives
  • role of students – they could demonstrate work they have done as part of Road Safe, such as role plays, art work, brochures or posters
  • support – local firms and businesses may wish to support this initiative – for example, insurance companies might provide free marking pens and security firms could offer special deals on security equipment
  • agenda –plan a programme that is entertaining, informative, provides for interaction and questioning, and is not too long!

Sample agenda

5.00 pm - Teacher–student netball game

5.45 pm - Sausage sizzle –display of students’ Burglary Free material

6.30 pm - Welcome by the principal

6.45 pm - Presentation of local burglary statistics by Police staff

7.15 pm - Group discussion and formulation of questions on burglary for panel

7.45 pm - Students role play from Burglary Free

8.00 pm - School Community Officer discusses the classroom component of Burglary Free

8.30 pm - Panel of invited guests (Police, Neighbourhood Support, local council, Victim Support, Community Patrols, and security firms) to answer audience questions

9.15 pm - Cup of tea and personal questioning time

Note: Victim Support is an important participant, particularly in areas where there has been a lot of repeat victimisation and people are fearful of repeat burglaries.