Vigilance. You should never underestimate its importance.

In regard to crime prevention and security, this cannot be stressed enough.

Be aware. Be prepared.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

You might recall that, last autumn, we mentioned on our blog a method being used to mark properties considered vulnerable as targets for future crimes.

In London (and beyond), intruders had been attaching stickers to doors, walls and gates. These stickers purported to advertise a locksmith service but the business was, in fact, bogus. Rather, this turned out to be a system used for identifying homes thought to be susceptible to a break in. Those whose homes were so marked could expect a visit from those intent on stealing their valuables. The vigilant were quick to remove the stickers, in the process reducing the risk. But as always, when it comes to crime, those responsible are enterprising and their methods are ever changing.

The sticker method is one that hasn’t seemed quite so prevalent in recent times (although there are bound to be burglars still putting their faith in this system).

Just this week, we heard about an alternative approach that is a little more sophisticated . . .

It is a code that uses eight signs and symbols (chalked on pavements, walls and lampposts) that provide important information to potential intruders.

Translated, the symbols have been found to mean Good Target, Vulnerable Occupant, Occupants Afraid, Wealthy, Alarmed House, Previously Burgled, Nothing Worth Stealing and Too Risky.

Police in Scotland have, in recent days, even gone as far as to ask anyone who spots a suspicious sign or symbol to contact them. This is thought to be a nationwide trend . . .

It has been dubbed the Da Pinci Code – an amusing aside, for sure – but for those on the receiving end, this is anything but a laughing matter.

In 2014, a 78-year-old dementia sufferer from Bedfordshire was burgled. Police later discovered four chalk crosses on a wall outside her home. For her, the finding came too late.

Have YOU noticed strange markings? Don’t ignore them. Remove them at once – stickers too – and make sure that all is secure in and around the home.

Is there a weakness? Do something about it. Make sure locks are up to date and fit for purpose and, if there’s ANY doubt at all, consult an expert.

Crime prevention is, in the main, about common sense . . .

Vigilance is where it all starts.