The Regents Canal and surrounding area is experiencing increased robberies and burglaries and the Bow West Safer Neighbourhood Team, CRT and the Metropolitan Police have issued the following advice to boaters, which is applicable in any urban area:
Don’t make your boat attractive to thieves
Thieves are always on the lookout for easy targets.
- Never leave anything valuable on display, however small and insignificant it may seem; thieves steal first and think about the value later.
- Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on deck.
- Don’t leave your engine key in the ignition.
- Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys.
- Always keep your boat locked when no-one is on board, even for a short time. A padlock on the outside means nobody is in, so consider fitting a dead-lock,
- Use strong padlocks, rimlocks and good quality hasps on all your hatches and cockpit lockers.
Improve your security
- Fit an alarm and use a visible sticker to say that one is fitted.
- Doors should be made from strong solid timber or have steel skins if you need extra strength.
- A wireless DIY boat alarm is easy to fit.
- Consider fitting a small CCTV camera to capture images of possible suspects.
- Fit passive infrared activated security lighting to help deter someone from proceeding further.
- Wooden interior shutters can increase your security and privacy.
- Consider having a strongbox down below.
- At night remain vigilant; walk in well lit areas and only use a mobile phone if absolutely necessary (mobile phones are sought after by thieves).
- Familiarise yourself with the area; know important contact points (i.e. nearest roads or iconic sites for emergency dispatch purposes). Familiarise yourself with helpful establishments, such as public house, a late shop or garage, to turn to in an emergency.
Keep a list of serial numbers
- Consider registering your property with a data website like ‘immobolise.com’. Any property with a serial number can be registered (e.g. phone, TV, bicycles).
- Keep a list of all the serial numbers of valuables, including navigation equipment or an outboard motor. Keep a copy of the list at home and on your boat. This can help you, the police and your insurance company if you experience a burglary.
Before you go ashore
Always do a quick security check before going ashore:
- Lock anything valuable out of sight in a strong locker secured by a strong padlock.
- Lock up emergency money away from other valuables.
- Keep your curtains/shutters closed so that no-one can look in.
- Keep unused ropes, fenders and other items in locked cockpit lockers and cupboards. Make sure that any other property stored outside the boat is made secure.
Be a good neighbour
Get to know other boat owners in your vicinity and work together to keep yourselves secure:
- Keep an eye on other boats, as well as your own.
- Report any suspicious persons or antisocial behaviour to the Police or local Safer Neighbourhood Team. Consider following them via Twitter.
- Don’t let strangers into your boat, however genuine they may seem.
- Keep in contact with one another via email, social media, or meet and greets.
And finally, remember to:
- Mark everything that you buy for your boat with your home postcode.
- Keep your list of serial numbers up to date.
- Take your personal papers with you – don’t leave them on board.
- Don’t leave your home address on show.
- Keep everything securely locked away because your insurance company may not pay out if you don’t.
- Lock up. Look out. Stay safe!
If you have a break-in
Report it to the police (if it’s not reported the Police are unaware) using 999 for an emergency and 101 for non-emergency calls. Check that your boat is still seaworthy and hasn’t been badly damaged. If you can, check that neighbouring boats haven’t been broken into as well.