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Luxury Home Security in London
“Are there more burglaries in the most affluent areas of London?”
by Virginie Roux, Head of Marketing
As the capital city of the United Kingdom, one could only instinctively assume that London would be more prone to crimes than any other cities in the country. And if we were to look more in depth into home burglary in particular, London is also the most burgled location in the UK. Thus, the ONS reveals that Londoners are three times more likely to become a victim of a burglary than the rest of the UK, reaching 60,000 reported cases of burglary in 2019. But are burglaries committed in the city more common in London’s richest boroughs?
Burglary rates in London’s richest boroughs
London is home to some of the richest people in the world with almost half of UK’s billionaires who took up residence in the city, including global magnates such as James Dyson, Leonard Blavatnik (owner of the Warner Music Group) or Roman Abramovich (owner of Chelsea F.C.). The boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham are where the homes of ultra-high-net-worth individuals are concentrated the most.
Conversely, the most expensive street, known as ‘Billionaire’s Boulevard’ can be found in Kensington Palace Gardens with jaw-dropping luxury properties, costing on average between £41 million and £200 million or more. Taking this into perspective, one can only imagine how essential it is for the richest homeowners to secure their properties against criminals.
1. Security in Westminster
Despite being the most surveilled borough in London, Westminster tops the charts of most burgled London boroughs. According to the Metropolitan Police, there are about 3,909 burgled dwellings per 1000 population, in the period between October 2019 to October 2020. However, wealth present in this area of London is most certainly not the main vehicle of crime. Hence, a survey conducted by NPC reveals that despite being one of the most prosperous boroughs of London, Westminster is a severely deprived area. Indeed, with high social and economic inequalities, Westminster is part of the top 10% most deprived area in England in terms of income, which accounts for 14% of the neighbourhood. So, poverty in Westminster has certainly exacerbated home burglary rate in this part of London.
2. Kensington and Chelsea Security
Unlike Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea are listed in 19th position with 1951 burgled residences per 1000 population and Camden can be found in 9th position with 2,721 burgled properties per 1000 population.
Neighbourhoods such as Kensington and Chelsea have a high security presence with security guards, making it harder for opportunistic thieves to break in inside one of these residences, as it is likely that unusual bypassers would get noticed in the blink of an eye. But, never say never, to some criminals the game can be worth the candle!
“In this world, everything is governed by balance. There’s what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. And when you think you’ve got nothing to lose, you become overconfident.” (The Profesor – Money Heist)
London’s luxury home burglary spree
In December 2019, different raids were conducted on three different townhouses by the same ring of suspected burglars in the space of 13 days in Kensington. Homeowners included Tamara Ecclestone, (the daughter of Bernie Ecclestone, former Chief Executive of the Formula 1 Group), the home of Frank Lampard, as well as the residence of the late Leicester City FC owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The burglary on Tamara Ecclestone’s residence is said to be the most prolific home breaking ever carried out in the UK with a £25 million worth booty, taken in the form of precious jewellery and hard cash. Although Tamara Ecclestone’s house was guarded by security operators at the time, it is alleged that the organised gang may have relied on an insider to get easy access inside the house and to valuables. The media relate that one of the security guards had gone to a shop when the intruders came in, security alarms had been deactivated by one of the security guards, the safe was left unlocked and other security guards claim that they had not noticed the intrusion; all elements that facilitated the heist.
How to secure a London luxury home
When you can afford a luxury home in voguish London boroughs, you certainly cannot spare the price of robust security to ensure that your house remain impenetrable, even to the slyest criminal. But securing a luxury home is no mean feat and it certainly is not cheap!
Thieves employ sophisticated means and techniques to gain intelligence, often relying on publicly available information to conduct their homework. The Land Registry, Google Maps and the wealth of information provided by social media render pre-reconnaissance of a property an easy task for burglars. For this reason, ultra-high-net-worth individuals ought to avoid disclosing their names when purchasing a residence in London as a rule of thumb.
Due to their high profile, ultra-high-net-worth individuals can face a number of threats including kidnapping, physical harm, theft and cyber-attacks.
Security ideas for your luxury home
1. Luxury home security systems
With technology revolutionising our lives, home security systems have moved a long way from standard burglar alarms and home CCTV. There is a myriad of cutting-edge security systems available on the market today, but it would be difficult to list all of them. We will instead take a close look at some of the most revolutionary smart home security systems.
a) Door Access Control Systems
Biometric authentication systems
Relying on the use of house keys is a long-outdated concept and certainly not an option for a luxury house. The eventuality that keys could get lost or that malevolent household workers or visitors could make a copy of the keys represent too much risk that luxury homeowners simply cannot take.
Biometric authentication systems use technologies such as face recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, iris recognition to match human characteristics to a database of pre-authorised people; a concept that is used by airports for passport controls which employs face recognition systems. Further to this, biometric authentication systems enable to keep a log of who has been in the house and when.
Installing a security door powered by a facial recognition system provides the safest option to secure gates and doors, granting access to a limited number of people and alarming home occupants to the presence of an unknown visitor.
Adding to this, to prevent a break-in through one of the windows of the house, windows should be secured with suitable locks and feature toughened glass.
Access levels for household staff
London luxury homeowners will often employ the services of homeworkers such as housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, or cooks. Although trust is paramount when employing staff and screening should always be conducted prior to employment, prevention is better than cure!
Household workers should not have access to all rooms in a house. Sensitive parts of the house such as bedrooms or a private office must be protected as they contain valuables. In the course of their duty, homeworkers will only be using certain rooms, it is therefore good practice to only give them access to these areas of the house, opting for a programmable door access control system. Such system is configured with fingerprint verification to restrict entry to a room during a limited timeframe. When members of the personnel leave their employment, access can then be removed.
b) Deep Learning Video Surveillance
CCTV not only act as a deterrent for opportunistic thieves but will provide evidence to prosecute and recover properties. Needless to say, contemporary CCTV systems have moved on a great deal from live video cassette recordings CCTV!
Nowadays, video surveillance is high-tech and ultra-high-net-worth individuals are turning to complex deep learning CCTV systems. Deep learning CCTV uses artificial intelligence (AI) based on a set of algorithms that not only allow the recognition of a person (using face recognition) or an object such as a vehicle, but can also detect anomalies and abnormal activities, which can be useful to catch burglars red-handed.
c) Art Security
Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are often owners of high value artwork that could be worth millions. But storing precious antiques in a private London’s townhouse is very much different from displaying it in a highly secured museum, which has high-technology security systems in place. Relying on just home CCTV and a burglar alarm would not be appropriate means to secure highly valuable antiquities.
Asset Monitoring System
To secure artwork, private townhouse’s owners can opt for an asset monitoring system such as Fortecho. This type of system relies on invisible wireless sensors fitted onto a piece of artwork, which would alarm when moved. Some high-tech asset monitoring systems are even sensitive to change in temperature and humidity, and they can integrate with other security management systems including CCTV and intruder detection systems.
Should the worse occur despite having an asset monitoring system and to ensure better chance of recovery, property must be marked using a traceable liquid such as SmartWater technology. The liquid contains a unique DNA code that will be revealed under UV light. If thieves attempt to try selling a stolen item to an art dealer or an auction house, the marking will enable to trace the object back to its owner and to prosecute culprits.
Of course, home security systems provide different layers of security but should not be solely relied on. They should be used in conjunction with physical security to assist in triggering a quick response that will allow disruption or detention of perpetrators.
2. Residential Security in London
At Intelligent Protection International Limited, we adopt a layered approach to security, providing residential security teams to supplement luxury home security systems. Our residential security officers are cherry-picked amongst the best, from military or police background and are fully vetted. Our officers are not just simple security guards, but all have extensive experience in close protection and are qualified bodyguards.
Before deployment of our residential security teams, we carry out a security review of the premises to identify any vulnerability in the current security system. As a result of this, we make suitable recommendations that are in line with our clients’ personal situation, which will enable us to reduce the likelihood and impact of any threats including the threat of burglary.
To secure a London townhouse, our security officers control the access to the property and carry out regular patrols of the premises to detect any unusual activities, enabling them to respond quickly in the event of an intrusion. They also monitor the luxury home security systems that are in operation in the house to ensure fast response.
Our residential security teams are often supported by security dogs who are specifically trained to detect and help their handler apprehend intruders.
We provide a discreet service and give our clients full confidentiality assurance, signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to discussing their requirements; guaranteeing that their contracts will not be discussed with a third party.
If you live in London and are interested in our residential security services in London, we can supply you with a free quote. Contact us now!