Crime prevention

Securing your home:

  • hide keys from sight
  • install a visual burglar alarm and good outside lighting
  • leave lights on in your house on a timer when you are out
  • ensure fences around your garden are in good condition
  • store valuable items (including passports, driving licences, cash, wallets and bank statements) out of view
  • secure bikes inside or in a locked garage or shed
  • keep ladders and tools stored away
  • never leave a spare key outside your house (such as under a flowerpot or doormat, or behind a loose brick)
  • if you live in a building with a shared entrance, be careful who you let in, and don't hold the door open for strangers when you walk in or out of your building
  • use the door chain, ask callers for identification, and check it before letting them in - don't let anyone in unless you are certain they are genuine


Personal safety when out and about:

  • plan your route in advance
  • avoid short-cuts that involve dark alleyways, parks or commons
  • if you're carrying a bag, try to have it across your chest and keep your hand over the fastening
  • be aware of your surroundings and what's going on around you
  • avoid advertising your electronics; talking on a mobile phone, listening to an MP3 player or carrying a laptop bag may make you a target to thieves
  • don't carry important documents or credit cards that you do not need
  • avoid using cash machines at night
  • only take your wallet out when you need to
  • if you think you are being followed, cross the road or go into a shop and stay there until you are sure you're safe
  • use licensed taxis only - to find a safe ride home, visit Transport for London
  • you can register any consumer product that has a serial number for free at Immobilise - in case of loss of theft, your property can easily be identified and returned to you
  • for comprehensive advice, visit the Home Office Identity Theft website


Using a cashpoint machine:

  • always be aware of people behind you, and cover the keypad with your hand
  • don’t get distracted - thieves often try and divert your attention away from the cash machine so that an accomplice can take your card
  • protect your PIN; cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN, and don’t let anyone persuade you to re-enter it
  • check the cashpoint machine before you use it; look out for anything out of place, and any signs of tampering, especially above the keypad and around the card slot where glue or sticky residue may be present
  • do not attempt to remove any device - if you suspect a cash machine has been tampered with, call the police on 101 or contact the bank immediately
  • where possible, use a cash machine inside the bank
  • check your statements regularly
  • notify your bank immediately if you suspect fraud
  • securely dispose of statements or slips which contain your card details


Vehicle safety:

  • don't leave items on display in your car - remove portable satellite navigation equipment when not in use
  • keep your car keys with you when you visit a petrol station or go shopping
  • don't leave your car keys on view at home where they can be reached via the letterbox or an open window
  • consider fitting anti-theft security systems
  • consider fitting good quality locking wheel nuts
  • park in your garage at home if you have one, and lock both your vehicle and your garage - if you don't have a garage, try to park in a well-lit, open place
  • park motorbikes and scooters in the designated bays and use good quality locks - don't leave helmets and accessories with your vehicle
  • use a secure motorcycle and scooter cover to reduce the temptation to steal your vehicle
  • mark your bike with marking stickers - these are available free from the police
  • register your bike online for free at Immobilise - this can help to return your bike to you if it is stolen
  • insure your bike on your home insurance (if it is particularly valuable you may need to insure it separately)
  • visit the Bikeminded website for more on bike safety
  • when you go away, if you have a residents' permit for your vehicle, you can park in the Town Hall car park on Hornton Street for a discounted fee with residents concessionary rates