Your home is your castle and place of rest and relaxation, so it’s important that you take extra care to ensure that it is secure while you are in the home and while you are away. We have put together a guide with some useful home security tips to deter unwanted intruders.
For many people their homes are the biggest investment they have made thus far,so it’s likely they have worked really hard to arrive at this point. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have someone break into your home, you will know how upsetting and unsettling it can be.Whether you are an owner or just renting the home, here’s some tips to keep your home as secure as it can be.
Home burglaries are an unfortunate fact of life and are more common than you think, every home presents an opportunity for a burglar. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the most common location (2014 figures) for “unlawful entry with intent” to occur was a residential location (71% or 129,941 victims) and that almost seven in ten victims of unlawful entry with intent had property taken (68% or 122,952 victims). Figures released by the FBI in the USA show that a burglary occurs somewhere in that country every 15.4 seconds which is a shocking statistic in itself, and emphasises the importance of being mindful of burglary prevention. Below we have compiled our top tips for home security which we think will help to give you peace of mind and keep those burglars out!
Home Security Tip #1: Invest in High Quality Windows & Doors
Tip one means that you need to make your home difficult to access for a burglar, which might sound obvious but is worth considering for your home all the same. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of entry, followed by the back door, so homeowners would be foolish not to take note of this fact. Find a reliable supplier of security doors, screens and windows and ensure that they can display their security credentials, such as industry awards and security rating etc. If you are limited on budget and your home has inadequate security, there are DIY measures you can take to boost security in your home – most of which can be found in your local hardware store. For example, a quality deadbolt lock will have a bevelled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used by some burglars to cut off lock cylinder pins. Or a quality door knob-in-lock set will have a ‘dead latch’ mechanism to prevent burglars slipping the lock with something like a credit card.
Home Security Tip #2: Secure Sliding Patio Doors
If you have tackled the other main access doors, you cannot exclude the sliding patio door. This door provides access to your home for many burglars due to their expertise at opening the type of latch mechanism that sliding doors have, as opposed to lock mechanisms. Again, speak to your local hardware expert who can assist you to add extra security to the door. Access can be easily prevented by inserting a wooden peg or stick into the track, which will limit movement or prevent it altogether. There are other blocking devices available including a metal fold-down blocking device called a “charley bar” and various other track-blockers that can be screwed down. It will of course depend on the type of sliding door that you have already in your home.
Home Security Tip #3: Be Vigilant
Carelessness is a factor in some home burglaries, where homeowners leave a door or window opened or unlocked which presents an easy access opportunity for the burglar. If there are a number of people living in your home, the chances of his happening are high.It’s a good idea to have some sort of system in place that ensures that someone checks that all windows and doors are closed and locked where relevant – this is especially important if you are leaving the house empty. Have a family meeting and explain the importance of being vigilant and ask that everyone take responsibility for locking up when they leave the home. This can be done quickly and easily and it creates a sense that it’s a family responsibility rather than just one individual’s job.
Home Security Tip #4: Tools Lying Around
Put yourself in the shoes of the burglar and consider your home a target – do you see areas that could be made more secure? Do you see items lying around the house that could be used as a tool to gain access to your home? Crates can be used as a stepping tool to access a high window for example. Tools like hatchets for cutting firewood left lying around can be used by a burglar to break down a door. Keep anything that you think could be used by a burglar to help them gain access well out of sight and locked up in a tool shed for example.
Home Security Tip #5: Get to Know Your Neighbours
Establish a relationship with those neighbours closest to you. This will work in your favour especially when you are not at home or on holiday for example as the neighbour will keep an eye on your home and any suspicious activity surrounding it. If you establish trust with the neighbour, you can even leave a key with them rather than being tempted to leave one out in case you’re ever locked out. You can also ask the neighbour if they can park their car in your driveway when you’re away for extended spells for example as this can act as a deterrent to opportunist burglars.
Home Security Tip #6: Importance of Lighting
Light timers are relatively inexpensive and are a great addition to the interior of the home – especially when you aren’t there. They can mimic ‘regular’ occupancy levels and so it will appear that there is ‘activity’ within the home. It’s important that you set them up so that they appear natural and that they don’t switch on and off too often or intrepid intruders will notice the pattern. It’s also a good idea to fit the exterior of your home, specifically the front and rear of the building with sensor lights as they can not only act as a deterrent to burglars but they also make you feel more secure when you arrive home at night. In general, it is a good idea to invest in good quality and extensive lighting for the exterior of the home, as dimly lit areas are ideal places for burglars to lie in wait as they assess your property.
Home Security Tip #7: Security Alarm
Basic home security systems, or home alarm systems, work by being wired to a central control panel in the home that activates when windows or doors are opened while the system is armed. Installing a home alarm definitely gives peace of mind to a homeowner and the occupiers, but there are many things to consider when selecting the correct one for your home. With so much choice, it is easy to get confused and with the general high cost of these systems, it shouldn’t be a decision that you take lightly. 80% of homeowners do report that their home alarm is effective for its purpose so that is a strong case toward installing one. It is important to remember that once you have the system installed that for some types at least, the onus is on you to ‘arm’ the device so it’s vital that you get into this routine or it will negate the whole purchase. In terms of choosing your alarm supplier, get several price quotes for both system installation and monitoring. Base your choices on those that you have read or heard reliable reviews on – you will need to do some research. You’ll obviously also need to decide if you want to incur ongoing monitoring costs – if your home is usually occupied and you live in a built up and well populated area, this might not even be necessary. Also in terms of costs, you should factor in that many home insurance companies offer a discount for homeowners who have a working alarm system installed. You should also take into account the ease of use of the alarm system that you choose. Ask the supplier for a full explanation on using the system, as some vary in terms of how complicated they can be to operate.