Home security is something all of us are concerned about. We work hard to have a home and the precious things that are inside the four walls, but are you doing all you can to ensure that it is as secure as it can be? A recent study showed the top ten burglary hotspots in the UK, and whilst it’s a relief not to see our postcode listed, it doesn’t mean we should get complacent.
Growing up, I lived in a pub, which I’ve written about several times on my blog, but there was a short period where I actually lived in a regular house; around the age of 16. One weekend, while were were out, the house was burgled, and I was the one to discover the crime. It freaked me out, and I was never comfortable living there after that. Fortunately, we moved not long after due to my dad’s job, but having your home violated by a burglar is at the top of my fear list. As much as I would love to live in a world that is all happiness and rainbows, and doors left open like the good old days, I take home security very seriously. It’s not about the possessions, which can all be replaced, it’s the violation that is felt after a stranger has ransacked your home, the place that you should feel very safe… here are several ways to secure your home.
Windows are an easy entry point for burglars, so don’t make it easy for them to get in.
Make sure you shut them when you leave the house – even if it’s just for a quick nipping to the shops, and even if you are living above the ground floor. In my old flat, my neighbour saw a would-be-burglar shimmying up the drain pipe to our upstairs neighbour’s flat, fortunately, he scared him away. Similarly, you may think a small window is okay to leave open, because no one could possibly fit through. Well, if you had seen the size of my parent’s window that was prised open to gain entry you would be shocked.
If your windows have locks, make sure you use them! When you are away from your house for an extended period of time, lock all the windows, and keep the keys with you.
Doors are a primary point of entry for burglars, so make sure you have secure front doors and composite doors which are some of the most secure, thermally retentive and energy efficient doors available. If it’s time you upgraded your external doors, it is the type of door you should be looking at for your property. We recently had a new front door put in, and it gives me peace of mind knowing we have the most secure door that we can. Front doors should have a 5 lever mortice deadlock, an internal plate over the letterbox and for added security a spy hole and door chain. Ensure that you double lock your front door with this type of door. In my old flat there was a spate of burglaries where residents were not doing this, thinking they would be okay, but the criminal would reach inside the letterbox and be able to open the handle because the door wasn’t locked. Shocking right?
Doors that lead out to the garden should also be secured. With gardens often at the back of the house, it is an easy entry point. Make sure that any windows and panels are fitted from the inside, so that there is no beading on the outside that can be jimmied open. Do not leave keys for doors in the key hole, or hanging near to the doors.
Don’t make things easy for a burglar. Whilst a 2m high fence is nice and secure, it can still be climbed. Consider trellising along the top of the fence that is weak and can’t support the weight of a person, or add plants along the top. We have a huge bramble bush growing across ours! Lock away ladders and tools securely, so that they can’t be used against your house. Keep gardens tidy so that an intruder cannot hide. Consider gravel paths close to the house as they are impossible to walk on without making a noise.
Seeing an alarm bell on the outside of your property can be deterrent enough for a would-be burglar. They won’t want to take the risk of setting the alarm off and being discovered. You can install them yourself, or go to an alarm specialist, which can also provide security monitoring. It goes without saying, if you have an alarm, make sure you set it. It is the number one thing that I feel keeps my family home safe.
Add motion sensor lights to the front and back. These are also good for you and your family, lighting the way when returning home when it’s dark. You can also buy timer switches for your internal lights to give the impression that someone is home.
Other Security Measures
Lock valuables – documents, jewellery etc in a safe. Mark your possessions and gadgets with a UV pen and take photos of things that can’t be marked (such as jewellery) so you have a visual record of them. Don’t hang keys near a door, as they could be reached through a letter box. If you’re going away for an extended period of time, let a friendly neighbour know so that they can keep an eye on things for you; ask a family member or friend to visit your property and have some movement around the house, like curtains being opened and closed; have someone take in your mail, or you can have it kept at the sorting office until you return; cancel newspaper/milk deliveries.
Like at the end of the Watchdog programme, I don’t want you to walk away from this post having nightmares! You may well be doing some or all of these ways to secure your home already, but if you’re not, it is something for you to consider, after all, prevention is better than cure!