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Perimeter Security & Physical Security

There are two approaches to home security;

1. Intruder alarms and surveillance cameras try to deter criminals

2. Physical Security sets out to prevent unlawful entry to homes. Physical Security is the use of stronger windows and doors – generally considered to be the most vulnerable areas of the home.


In the case of alarms the major aim is to scare off the criminal and also notify the occupier when an intruder has already entered the home. Home surveillance systems have been devised mainly to enable later identification of intruders. However, intruders can come determined to enter and evade recognition. Physical security sets out to prevent unlawful entry and keep criminals safely outside the building.

The USA, Ireland and UK prioritises intruder alarms & surveillance cameras while Physical Security is preferred by most Continental EU Member States

The USA with a population of 321million in 2015 (US Census Bureau), and the European Union comprising 28 EU Member States with a population 511 million in 2016 (Eurostat), adopt different approaches to Home Security In the USA – intruder alarms and surveillance cameras tend to be prioritised, whereas twenty-six of the twenty-eight Continental EU Member states including, Poland, rely more on Physical security. Interestingly Ireland and the UK are the two EU Member States omitted here because both prioritise intruder alarms and surveillance cameras. In the same twenty-six Continental EU Member States most if not all windows open-inwards and the use of external shutters for thermal insulation and security purposes is extremely common as is also the use of security glass (laminated glass).



windows
Typical external shutters on windows used in most EU member states.

EU Member States introduce Burglary Resistance Security Standards for entrance doors


As break-ins to homes mainly occur on the ground floor, external shutters reduce exposure to unlawful entry. That’s why in Continental EU Member States criminals tend to focus on the entrance doors. To reduce the risk of break-ins occurring thru entrance doors Sweden led an important initiative in the 1980s. It successfully introduced national security standards for entrance doors – involving increased burglary resistance features including the use of galvanised steel door frames. Most Continental EU member states soon followed, resulting in the introduction of an EU Burglary Resistance Security Standard EN 1627 in 2011 for entrance doors. Today, many new build housing and apartment schemes in Continental EU Member States contain doors meeting this standard.


Eurostat Statistics



Eurostat main office in Luxembourg
Eurostat main office in Luxembourg

Eurostat main office in Luxembourg


Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU) published a 2017 Burglary of Private Residential Premises Report based on 2016 police-recorded offences per 100,000 inhabitants. Here Eurostat highlighted that complete accuracy is suspect because several states may have recorded a small proportion of burglary offences under different category headings. The report shows the following rates per 100,000 inhabitants;


Ireland .............................................380

UK .....................................................360

Average ............................................234

Poland ................................................30


To allow for burglary offences that may have been recorded under different or incorrect category headings we now increase all EU figures by twenty-per-cent;


Ireland .............................................456

UK .....................................................432

Average ............................................281

Poland ................................................36


The National Center for Victims of Crime USA


In the US Household Burglary is defined as gaining access to a dwelling by force in order to steal goods. Based on Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimisation Survey, Concatenated File, 1992-2015 (U.S. Department of Justice) the 2018 National Centre for Victims of Crime Report estimates the number of recorded law enforcement Household Burglaries in the US for 2015 as approx 490 per 100,000 inhabitants. (Note these statistics also correspond to those provided by FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR)).

USA 2015 – approx 490 per 100,000 inhabitants


Robbery is defined as stealing by force or threat of force and according to NCVS 284,722 offences were recorded in 2015. Household Robbery amounts to approx 17% of these offences and so 48,402 (approx 15 per 100,000 inhabitants) must be added to Household Burglary giving a total of 505 per 100,000 inhabitants. USA 2015 – approx 15 per 100,000 inhabitants


Total USA 2015 Household Burglary plus Household Robbery is approx 505 per 100,000 inhabitants.


Household Burglary

Summary

The above reveal that recorded home burglary offences in the USA, Ireland, and the UK are significantly higher than the EU average and all three are more than twelve times higher than Poland.

Statistics demonstrate the importance of Physical Security

These statistics reveal not only that alarms and surveillance cameras often fails to deter, but that emphasis on Physical Security is proving highly successful.


Learning from Poland

Poland with almost 38 million inhabitants recorded 36 residential burglaries (20% discrepancy included) per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016 (Eurostat) and was by far the best performer within the EU - where an average of 281 offences (20% discrepancy included) per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded. In Poland all windows in apartments and houses open inwards - enabling the extensive use of external shutters on all apartment and house windows. Secondly, almost all front and back entrance doors contain steel frames with most of these doors conform to the EU Burglary Resistance Security Standard EN 1627:2011. An extraordinary feature of this successful approach is that Poland’s residents seldom use alarms or surveillance video to secure their homes.


The truth about home security


The truth about home security

Opening-inwards French door

In the US, Ireland and the UK the intruder alarm and camera surveillance industry has for obvious reasons neglected to inform customers of the need for Physical Security, while the insurance industry has continued to offer premium reductions only to alarm and surveillance users. We can therefore conclude that during the past thirty years the phenomenal growth of the intruder alarm and surveillance industry in the English speaking world - mistakenly facilitated by the Insurance industry - has undermined the needs of millions of home owners and renters struggling to keep burglars out of

their homes. A major consequence is that these actions and activities have also significantly dwarfed the efforts of the police in Ireland and the UK who have for many years promoted Physical Security as the first step in preventing home burglaries.


The single most important security measure

Poland’s story reminds us of the importance of Physical Security and the fact that security hardening of vulnerable entry points (i.e. doors and windows) must now be considered the single most important security measure in the home.

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