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The Top 5 Tools to Secure a Property Against Unauthorised Entry.

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Building being occupied by squatters in Bristol city centre
Squatters occupying building in Bristol City centre. Credit: Bristol Live

Vacant properties are increasingly being targeted by opportunist thieves, vandals and squatters. As winter approaches and the cost-of-living bites, we can expect to see a dramatic increase in incidents of this nature. Already the past 12-months have witnessed a level of activity I have not seen for many years.

How can property owners and landlords protect their property?

The first step in protecting property is to identify what assets would be attractive to potential adversaries, such as copper cabling, lead, assets left within the property and of course the property itself. The next step is to try and reduce potential risk by:

A - Avoid the risk by removing materials and assets

S - Spread the risk by storing assets around the property rather than in one location

T - Transfer the risk by appointing a security provider to safeguard the property

R - Reduce the risk by adopting a defence in depth security posture

A - Accept the risk (never ideal - although increasingly the preferred option for many)

Risk reduction is my preferred strategy and one that can be achieved relatively easily and cost effectively. By adopting a defence in depth posture consisting of multiple layers of controls, you can make your property less attractive to potential trespassers, encouraging them to seek softer targets elsewhere.

The Top 5 Tools to Secure a Vacant Property Against Unauthorised Entry

Secure the property boundary through the installation of fencing, gates and anti-climb measures. This is the most basic type of security measure and can be an effective deterrent for would-be thieves, trespassers and squatters. Fencing provides a strong psychological message that the property is protected.

Steel security screen should be installed in all doors and windows to harden the building against attempts at forced entry. The majority of squatters gain entry through unsecured windows. Screens provide an effective deterrence against those that can be deterred and an important delaying mechanism for those that can't.

CCTV footage can help identify any suspicious activity around your property, which could lead to the early identification of intruders (if remotely monitored) providing time to initiate a response.

CCTV Cameras are also effective in providing evidence of forced entry and criminal damage, which should encourage the Police to be more proactive when attending, they are also a great deterrent. If the property is de-energised, video verification systems such as the Reconeyez system are an effective alternative.

4. Motion activated lighting systems:

These lights will activate automatically when there is movement near them, making it easier for intruders to be detected. There are an increasing number of battery / solar systems available, such the NEXSUN 5000 which emits an impressive 5000 lumens. Lighting is incredibly effective in deterring intruders, rough sleepers and those engaging in criminal activity, as they often prefer the concealment of darkness.

If the empty property has power, then the AJAX system is a great piece of kit, which also comes with flood detection. Alternatively, if the property has been de-energised, the RSI video verification system is an ideal choice, especially if linked to the Webeye monitoring platform.


The above 5 tools to help you to protect your vacant property will deter all except the most determined adversaries.

For more information or to arrange a no obligation vulnerability assessment for your property please contact one of our security specialist today on 01293 804781

Propertysec are specialists in the protection of vacant property.

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