Physical Barriers

Fences & Walls

It may seem that the best way to avoid being burgled is to make sure that burglars cannot get anywhere near the property, especially for people living in semi-detached and detached houses. Placing barbed wire, broken glass, nails or carpet gripper on the wall surrounding a property may seem like a good solution. Although not strictly illegal, there are restrictions on what householders can do.

Careful consideration should be given to the legal position before any of these deterrent methods are used. Anyone who owns, or controls, property has a legal duty of care to protect people on the property from foreseeable harm. This duty extends to people on the property without permission  including burglars and vandals. A householder could be sued for damages under the Occupier's Liability Act 1984 if a burglar is injured whilst on their property. The test will be whether the householder could have predicted that a trespasser was likely to be injured. If broken glass has deliberately been placed at a likely entry-point, any subsequent injury suffered will have been entirely foreseeable.


Covered on a seperate page.


Wooden or metal gates provide a physical barrier. Sliding bolts provide extra security but are simply a delay tactic. A locked or padlocked gate is a much more significant barrier but this very much depends on the installation environment and the size/height of the gate.


These are covered in the locks section.


A securely fixed down, quality safe may not always guarantee that your valuables are not stolen but, it is certainly going to make it harder and impossible for a casual thief.

Fire Safes

Fire safe
A fire safe provides an extra level of protection for valuables over an ordinary safe. It is pretty much essential for data protection, to protect backup media from the excessive temperatures encountered in a typical house fire. A fire safe needs to be large enough to store all of the items you need to protect from a fire. If in doubt, buy a bigger one than you need.

Fire safes also have physical security in the form of a key lock or an electronic keypad. The latter is more convenient in a modern home as all house members can gain access with a shared access code. The cheaper fire safes are not as physically secure as a normal safe but most offer adequate protection and all are rated. Fire safes are also rated in terms of how much fire protection they offer.

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