Vox Prop: Your home: a fortress, or easy prey for a burglar?

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The Independent Online
In the year 2003/4 there were 943,000 burglaries in the UK, according to the Home Office

Paul Rogers, public relations consultant, lives in a gated community in south-west London:

"Three years after we moved in, all the residents decided to take up the option of putting in gates. There is no doubt we feel far more secure. Although we had alarm systems put in by the builders, people would take a short cut through the development on the way back from the pub, we had problems with graffiti and cars would be left blocking the driveway. We all contributed to the cost, with some help from the local authority."

Tom Selmes, maintenance engineer, lives in a flat in east London:

"There are people who have golf clubs and truncheons by their bed but you don't need any of that. There's a lot of damage you can do with a rolled up newspaper if you know what you're doing. Our only security is a lock on the door. I know that I would react from instinct and I wouldn't stop to think what was reasonable force. If you find a guy with a knife standing in your home, you do what you have to."

Rupert Sweeting, country department, Knight Frank, estate agents:

"Some of our international buyers have armed guards and security bills of as much as pounds 100,000. Technology makes it possible to sit in New York, click on a PC and see what is going on in your home thousands of miles away. But it is not just the rich who are worried. Gangs operate in the country who tie up the occupants and help themselves to furniture."

Francais Miller, marketing executive, living in a one-bedroom, ground- floor flat in south London:

"I used to feel safe but recently there's been a surge of burglary and I am keen to move out as soon as possible. I'm looking for an apartment in a newly built scheme.I want somewhere which has a secure entry system and is set back from the road."

Elisabeth Guidot, a teacher, living in a detached house in Devon:

"We thought we were safe until someone broke in while we were asleep and stole our keys. We feared they would come back and they did - a week later. But we had changed all the locks. We now have better security, but gadgets we rushed to buy, such as a light sensor that triggers an alarm, proved nothing but a nuisance. The best thing we did was get a dog."

Adrian Owen, director of the development division, Hamptons International:

"Developers must take account of people's fears. They want 24-hour security, closed-circuit television and panic buttons. We are even seeing some developers putting in fingerprint recognition pads, rather than locks."

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