David and Victoria Beckham live in a $50 million mansion in the posh Holland Park area of West London. They can easily afford to have the highest end security systems in place. And yet last month, while members of the family were at home downstairs, a burglar broke into an upper story guest room and stole thousands of dollars’ worth of loot and then luckily, ran off without further incident. When the Beckham’s son Cruz returned home around midnight, he found that the room had been ransacked. There was broken glass on the floor where the window had been smashed a few hours prior.
Getting in was apparently straight forward.
CCTV showed the burglar climbing over the gate at the front of the house. He then scaled scaffolding that covered the neighboring home which was under renovation. The scaffolding provided a convenient series of ladders and platforms to climb up to access the Beckham’s window.
It was reported that both physical and technical security at the house was very good. Yet it took this break-in to reveal flaws. Until a security system is really tested, one can never know how effective it is. This is why we so strongly recommend red teaming to quality assure security for our clients’ protected environments. The Beckhams are said to have ordered a security survey of their London home as a result of the burglary.
One source from the police department claimed that two other houses on their street were targeted that same night. One house was empty, and the other was just too difficult to get into. The Beckham home was the softer target. And the handy scaffolding was just a gift from the robbery gods.
It could have been different. Simple security technology like motion detectors or infrared perimeter beams could have alarmed at the activity at the front gate. Anti-shatter glass film could have made penetrating the window difficult. A glass breakage sensor would have sounded an alarm. More and better CCTV coverage could have helped. Any of these security precautions might have served as a deterrence.
Chameleon’s Home and Personal Safety online course was created to guide homeowners on thinking proactively about securing their homes and family. (We've let David Beckham know he can contact us for a free course .)