Broken Windows Theory is an academic idea based around low-level crime in neighbourhoods, and has a lot of impact on crime and anti-social behaviour. It was first coined in 1982 by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling and although the theory is dated, it continues to have relevance today.
The original theory states: Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Criminologists have used this theory to tackle crime from the ground up. In other words, improving the look and feel of a neighbourhood has been found to reduce crime such as vandalism and burglary. This makes sense when you consider that a broken window may tempt an opportunist thief – it leaves your home vulnerable.
Your Neighbourhood Safety
Take a walk around your neighbourhood and consider the general look and feel. Are there houses with broken windows or fencing? The broken windows theory doesn’t have to apply to very run down areas – even a residential area which is considered well-kept can suffer. Obviously, if there are homes within your neighbourhood which are run down, there’s not a lot you can personally do about it, but you can improve your own home security in order to protect your home and lead by example.
The number of burglary offenses in the UK is dropping. It’s now around the same rate as it was in 1981, and around half of what it was in 1991. Improved home security and knowledge of how thieves work has played a large part in this drop. We know that certain factors around property can make it more likely you’re broken into, such as high hedges or fencing blocking out neighbour’s views (burglars tend to target homes where they won’t be seen) and broken doors/windows/locks as these make a quick in-and-out burglary possible.
Top 5 Areas Where You’re Most Likely to be Burgled in UK
- Postcode RM8 – Dagenham – Greater London
- Postcode IG2 – Gants Hill – Greater London
- Postcode M21 – Chorlton-cum-Hardy – Manchester
- Postcode DN2 – Wheatley – South Yorkshire
- Postcode E18 – Woodford – London
Top 5 Areas Where You’re Least Likely to be Burgled in UK
- Postcode DD2 – Lochee – Dundee, Scotland
- Postcode DG1 – Dumfries – Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
- Postcode G83 – Aldochlay – Bute, Scotland
- Postcode IP11 – Felixstowe – Suffolk
- Postcode LL57 – Bangor – Gwynedd, Wales
What Can I Do To Protect My Home?
Firstly, if you’ve got broken fencing or windows, then you should get these repaired as a matter of urgency. Broken windows not only leave your home vulnerable, but they also advertise to opportunist thieves that the rest of your home may not be secure either. Broken glazing can also be a danger to people and pets, so it’s important to get this sorted straight away. Even if you can’t afford to replace the window pane itself, getting an emergency board-up service will ensure the security and safety of your home and those in it.
Secondly, you should consider the strength and security of your doors and windows. If you’ve got a door where you need to lift the handle up in order to lock the door, then it’s likely that you have a euro cylinder lock. If the door was fitted before 2008 then your lock may not be 100% secure. Unfortunately, there is a design weakness in euro cylinder locks installed before this time. The lock can be compromised very quickly by using a piece of piping or a wrench and applying short, sharp force. You can change your lock to an anti-snap version very easily and it doesn’t cost the earth.
Keep an eye on your garden and other outside areas. Don’t make it easy for thieves to enter (repair broken fencing and ensure gate locks are secure) and don’t leave tools or ladders lying around, even in a garden which you believe to be completely enclosed. These can be used against your own home and may render your home insurance invalid. Instead, lock up tools and ladders in a secure garden shed or other outbuilding, such as your garage.
If you’re worried about the security of your home, then why not call us to arrange a free survey? Evander can audit your home and give you no obligation advice on what you may need to do in order to keep your home as safe as possible. Call us on 0345 145 0130 or use our contact form.