January saw the “Night Watcher” hit the press. The burglar was reported by Police to operate alone, armed and has successfully conducted 7 burglaries over three years stealing up to a reported £7M in valuables with victims including the Duke and Duchess of Richmond at Goodwood House.
The Night Watcher is believed to use long periods of surveillance, entering the home on occasions before the burglary to locate safes and valuables. When conducting the actions, the burglar is armed, uses force to make victims comply and has been reported to behave as if they knew the layout of the property.
These tactics and knowledge may appear to make crimes like these unpreventable and have led Police and press to suggest the possibility that the burglar may be from a military background.
So, what can you do to prevent this happening to you, short of utilising a 24 hour a day residential security team?
Ultimately it can prove very difficult to prevent a highly skilled and determined individual from conducting this type of action. You may not want to protect your valuables and may be of the opinion that these are just objects, expendable and covered by insurance. They may on the other hand be precious, to be protected for future generations and be the fruits of your labours. I think you would have to be a very resilient individual to suffer this type of ordeal without some degree of psychological impact.
How can you and how do BluSkills look to prevent a difficult to prevent action such as this? We take a look at a few steps you can take.
No crime can occur without trace, look out for small signs and tells which are out of the normal. In this instance, the burglar employs a long period of surveillance and this will most likely involve close reconnaissance. Picking up on these activities is your chance to take control and quickly escalate your security measures. Vehicles in the area which don’t belong, signs of activity on your grounds such as depressions in grass, disrupted gravel or foreign objects such as wrappings, batteries or equipment are all good indicators. Review your CCTV regularly, using motion incident recording can help make this a much easier process.
Good security procedure is another critical area, both a deterrent and denying opportunity. Most operators and certainly at this level, don’t want to get caught. Your job is to make your home look much harder to target and therefore the chance of being caught much more likely. By security procedure we mean a set of rules for all, designed to make life hard for the criminal. Things that ultimately people don’t do, such as locking doors and windows, setting alarms, reporting suspicious behaviours, controlling keys and so on. It’s no surprise for Goodwood House to be targeted, open to the public, I’ve been on many occasions, wandered the grounds, the perimeter of the house and could quite easily have gone in to the home, this close target reconnaissance is invaluable. Think who is coming to your home and what access you are giving them, staff, trades and services.
Finally we look at your routine. In this instance “bad routine” As humans we seem drawn to setting patterns, things like work can dictate this to a certain extent but you still have the opportunity to be less predictable. It is this predictability that can provide the advantage to a criminal. Consider what you do and how you behave. Would someone watching your home quickly be able to establish when your home is occupied or not? Where you will park before entering your home, which entrance you will take, when you will let the dog out? The list is endless, but varying routine and avoiding patterns is good practice.
In summary the signs will be there. By raising your awareness and picking up on things that aren’t natural you can get a head start. Make life hostile for those acting suspiciously, talk to them, ask if they need help, why they are in the area? Report them to the Police with good descriptions and footage where possible, make your neighbours aware. Once you think you’ve identified suspicious activity, act, ensure your security measures are being used and deny the opportunity.
BluSkills offer expert security guidance and security services for individuals and business. If you have any questions or would like more information get in touch with us today here. We look forward to hearing from you.