Moving Home and Security

Crime and looking for a new home

Research conducted in 2003 by Dr Rachel Armitage and Dr Steve Everson (See A factual analysis below) indicated that a sizeable minority of 40% of first time buyers and 35% of other buyers rated a secure environment as being the most important feature of a new home.  This leaves about two thirds of home buyers in a category where they haven’t considered the security of the local neighbourhood or at least do not consider security as the most important feature.  It is interesting then to find that the British Crime Survey tells us that people who’ve been living in their new home for less than a year are almost twice as likely to be burgled as the average.  This strongly suggests that thinking about the security of the local neighbourhood and the security for the home when you’re looking for a new one is precisely the time to consider it.

As discussed in Burglary Risk the distribution of burglary and theft from the home is not random. They occur in geographical concentrations, because the opportunity for burglary and theft is different from place to place and some dwellings types and neighbourhoods are more likely to get burgled than others. In addition, your age, your marital status and your employment status all make a difference.

An estimated 600,000 burglaries took place in England and Wales during 2010/11; a burglary rate of 26 per 1000 households, but for those who had lived in their home for less than a year the rate was 46 per 1000 households.  The reasons for this heightened risk are many, but will probably relate to the disruption of your normal routine and the distraction caused by having to do so many things in your new home.

The House Moving Security Checklist

Now that you know that security is an important aspect of house moving, take a look at this check list for things to consider.  Print out the checklist and keep it with your house moving file so you can refer to it.

When you begin your search for a new home find out more about crime in the local neighbourhood

Visit these websites: or http://www.ukcrimestats.comThese sites will help you to establish a general picture of crime in the area (you’ll need a postcode for the neighbourhood you’re interested in). For data protection reasons the crimes you’ll see on the maps are not accurately plotted. This means that the data is only useful for gaining a general idea of the crime types and trends. Knowing that two burglaries occurred in December in a street that has 200 houses is not going to tell you a great deal, but these sites are useful for comparing neighbourhoods with one another.

Visit the local area and find out things for yourself. Visit during the day, but try and make a return visit after dark with your partner or friend and during both visits ask yourself these questions: Do I feel safe walking around here? How well is the local area maintained? Are there signs of anti-social behaviour, such as graffiti and lots of litter? Does the area feel safe after dark? Is the street lighting sufficient? Are the bus stops and or railway stations nearby and how safe are the routes from them? Is the local shopping parade well maintained? Would you use the local pub?

Speak with the current residents about their experiences of crime

Before you move

Check the security arrangements of the new dwelling you are thinking of moving to and take some notes

Carry out a home security survey using the facility of this website to give you some idea of what you will have to do once you’ve moved in

Change the locks You will never know for certain who has held copies of the house keys. Note the type of locks used in the doors and make arrangements for either you or a Master Locksmith to change them or their cylinders; preferably on the moving day. Consider a restricted key system, which only the locksmith can supply, and if there are several doors using similar locks you can ask the locksmith to key them alike to reduce the number of keys on your key ring.

Get the alarm details If you’ve inherited a security alarm make sure you get the code number and the operation manual from the sellers so you can operate it and then change the PIN. Contact the alarm company to arrange transfer of ownership or rental agreement and notify the local authority about changes to keyholders.

Check your home contents insurance is effective and provides sufficient cover for your needs and make sure you can comply with their security conditions

The day of the move

Look after your possessions when moving Your possessions should be moved directly from the removal vehicle into your home and should not be left on the footway or front garden. There should be someone in attendance with the removal vehicle at all times your possessions are not locked inside

Hide the fact that you’ve just moved in as best as you can. Hang curtains or blinds straightaway, don’t leave packing boxes in open view and introduce yourself to the neighbours as soon as you can

After you’ve moved

Install an alarm? If your new home doesn’t have an intruder alarm or it needs replacing consider having one installed. Interviews with burglars strongly suggest that the presence of an alarm is a major deterrent. Use a company that is a member of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB). If you want police response (which is desirable) tell the alarm company from the outset. Check out the Alarms section on this website for more information

Make the place look occupied when it’s not. Use timers and dusk to dawn sensors on some of your lights, leave a radio on and keep the blinds or curtains closed so potential thieves can’t see what there is to steal or notice that you’ve just moved in

Replacing the doors and windows? If you’re thinking about replacing the doors and windows the police recommend you purchase those that are certificated to the enhanced security standard PAS 24 2012 (Formally BS 7950 for windows and PAS 24:2007+A2:2011 for doors). These types of doors andwindows have been designed to keep out the burglars as well as the bad weather.


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