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Staying safe in your own home is especially important if you or someone you live with struggles with a health problem which can make you more vulnerable to crime. Unfortunately there are some people out there who are only too happy to take advantage of a person who is less able to defend themselves.
There are a number of things you can do to keep your home safe, such as:
- Fit external lights - Having external lights fitted that turn on when someone walks by will allow you to see who is around your property and can deter any trespassers.
- Fit locks to your windows, and make sure that they are closed and locked when you go out and before you go to bed. Some windows can lock in a partially-open position to let fresh air in while keeping possible intruders out.
- Keep front and back doors locked even when you are at home.
- Check who is at the door before opening and check the ID of visitors where necessary (see our page on Scams, rogue Traders and Bogus Callers for more detailed advice)
- Buy a fire extinguisher - this is especially important if you (or someone you live with) have memory problems or if the tenant's mental capacity is otherwise impaired.
- Don't keep lots of cash in your home - keep your money in a bank account. If necessary, ask a friend or family member to drive you to a cash machine once or twice a week to withdraw cash as you need it.
- Install security systems and alarms - If possible, install a security system that will alert you if someone is in the house.
- Install gadgets such Telecare and emergency alarms - you may be able to install an alarm system in your home which can quickly alert someone who will be able to assist you in an emergency.
- Find out if there is a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area, and how to get involved.
- Put a door viewer or peephole in the front door so you can see visitors before opening the door. If you do not recognise a visitor, keep the chain on the door until they have identified themselves - they should be able to produce an ID card with a photograph and the contact details of the company they work for.
- Be wary of sales people offering 'special deals' or putting pressure on you to give them money or a cheque at the door.
Depending on where you live you may be able to get assistance in paying for and carrying out work on your home which will make it more secure.
The Home Improvement Agency will provide a home safety assessment for anyone who is over 60 years old , or who has a disability, or who has been burgled in the last 12 months.
As a result of the assessment you may be entitled to claim a Safe and Secure Grant to cover the cost of equipment (e.g. window locks, door chains , door viewers, smoke alarms, gas detectors etc) to improve your home security.
Tel 0207 641 8959
Kensington and Chelsea
The Community Safety Team carry out necessary and appropriate security work on the homes of victims of crime and vulnerable residents, including victims of domestic violence, to keep them safe in their homes and reduce burglary.
Contact them on tel 020 7361 3000 or using email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Community Safety Team have produced the following leaflets on home security:
Hammersmith and Fulham
The Safer Homes Scheme from Bishop Creighton House offers home security checks for people in Hammersmith and Fulham, and for a small fee can then instal any necessary equipment to make your home more secure. This service is for people aged over 65, those with a disability and victims of hate crime, burglary and domestic violence who live in H&F.
You can get practical help and advice from local crime prevention officers on how to make your home more secure. For more information, contact your local police Safer Neighbourhood team, and someone will discuss your concerns with you:-
Victim Support is the national independent charity that offers support to victims of crime including women, men and children experiencing domestic abuse.
They will help by providing you with information, practical help and emotional support, and do this by:
- Always prioritising your safety
- Giving you time to think and to make decisions
- Offering continued support whatever decisions you make
- Putting you in touch with other agencies that can help, for example with housing, benefits and legal advice
- Helping you to explore your options for dealing with the abuse
Their services are confidential, free and available to everyone.
Victim Support accepts referrals from official and other organisations as well as self-referrals from individuals themselves, whether or not you want to report the crime to the police and regardless of when it happened.
You can contact Victim Support as follows:-
- Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster
tel 020 7259 2424 from 9am to 5pm weekdays
- The national support line - tel 08 08 16 89 111 9am to 9pm weekdays and 9am to 7pm weekends. OR using email email@example.com
The Crimestoppers website has information on crime prevention and how to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
There is advice and information on dealing with scams and bogus callers on the Citizens' Advice Bureau website.
Neighbourhood & Home Watch is a voluntary network of schemes where neighbours come together, along with the police and local partners, to build safe and friendly communities.
The website offers safety and security advice and can put you in touch with your local scheme.
The Easy Health website has gathered various easy-to-read leaflets which gives tips on how live more safely within your home, including on dealing with possible criminals, and may be of particular use to people with learning disabilities.