Home Security Tips
Guide to Home Security and 15 ways you can secure your home from burglary and theft.
While items of high value are often important to us, especially of those of high sentimental value, it is protecting our family and loved ones that is our top priority. A burglary or break-in can be a traumatic event, leaving your family distraught and anxious and you feeling helpless. After all, it’s not a pleasant feeling to come home to your door wide open and all your possessions upturned. Even after feelings of violation subside, worries can plague home-owners that a break-in will happen again.
Studies have shown that 1 in 10 homes that have been burgled are broken into again. The best thing you can do is completely secure your home to prevent a break-in. We have put together the ultimate guide to securing your home from potential thieves to reassure yourself and your loved ones and help you sleep easier at night.
Intruder alarms – without a doubt the most secure way to protect your home and family, but you might be amazed to discover that this is a step that some foolishly forgo. There are a range of alarms available to suit any budget and property from wireless to hardwired, monitored to audible. Although you may think that DIY installation is a good way to save yourself a bit of cash, this is one area of home security that no homeowner should scrimp on. Any money saved with a DIY installation would only be lost if your home is targeted by thieves who can recognise an easily-removable DIY system that is far less reliable than a professionally installed alarm system. Police have often warned that DIY systems are an unreliable way to secure your home – always choose a local alarm installer.
Use your alarm! – more amazing than the fact that some homeowners don’t bother with installing a home security system, is the number of those who forget or simply neglect to switch on their burglar alarms! Having a pet is no excuse, as there are many home burglar alarms available that are suitable for pet-owners. Be sure to switch on your alarm every time you leave the house and before going to bed at night.
Don’t advertise – probably the simplest of the measures, this step is one that goes a long way in deterring potential theft: Don’t give a burglar a reason to break in. This means hiding valuables like jewellry, small electrical goods and money out of sight. In the unfortunate event of an actual break-in, key spots go-to spots for burglars are dressers, drawers, nightstands, medicine cabinets and under mattresses. Try to store your valuables in unsuspecting places – perhaps in a children’s bedroom or an out of reach box in the attic. Most burglars want to be in and out as quickly as possible and won’t spend time searching every nook and cranny. If you’ve recently bought high value items, hide evidence of this, too. Don’t leave the box for your new flatscreen TV out next to your rubbish bin. If you’ve just had a big shop or birthday in the family, get rid of any visible packaging.
Redirect your post – if you know you will be away from your home for an extended period, redirect your post and cancel any regular deliveries for the duration of your absence. Piled up post or milk bottles are dead-giveaways.
Light switch timers – most people are aware of the fact that burglars won’t target a house if they think the residents are at home. While everyone knows that leaving your house with all the blinds drawn and the lights switched off while you go on holiday for two weeks is not a good idea, beware making matters worse. If a light is on at 11pm in a bedroom window, a potential thief might assume that the homeowner is getting ready for bed. However, light switch timers are a well known trick and if the downstairs light is on at 3am in a quiet neighbourhood, some burglars won’t be fooled. Similarly, a regular timer is also a giveaway, opt for a ‘random’ setting if you have the option. Also, whilst closing all the blinds would indicate that no one is at home, leaving the curtains wide open in an easy-to-spot place such as your front room would inform potential thieves that the area is vacant in not much time. Most televisions have a timer setting, but leaving the radio on will do if you know you are only going to be gone for a few hours.
Beware of the dog – dogs not only make a great pet, but they are also a great deterrent to theft. While it may seem extreme to fake having a dog, if you are going away for a while, a good way to put of burglars is to put up a ‘Beware The Dog’ sign by the door. Some thieves are wise to this however, so it’s a good idea to also leave a dog bowl and chain in a visible place. However, if you are the proud owner of a pedigree dog, do not advertise this with a sign that reveals your dog’s breed, such as a ‘Beware The Husky’ sign. Dog theft is more common than you might think, and frequently targeted dog breeds include huskies, pomeranians, pugs and bulldogs.
Bolt your safe – ultimately, there’s no point in having a safe in your home if you’re not going to bolt it down. Why place all your valuables in a single, convenient place that a burglar can just pick up and walk away with?
Don’t let your own possessions be used against you – a broom propped up against the back door, for example, could be used by an opportunist thief to break into a window. Don’t leave tools in an unlocked shed in your garden that could also be used to assist a break-in. Ladders propped up against walls, even in your back garden, are also of great assistance to a thief who wants to get in through that bedroom window that you forgot to close.
Invest in shatterproof glass – shatterproof glass, or laminated glass, is a type of glass that incorporates a sheet of vinyl, plastic or resin between two plates of glass so that it will hold together when shattered. Breaking a window is one of the most common ways of unauthorised access, so shatterproof glass is a smart precaution.
Mark your things with a UV pen – this way, if the thief is caught it is easier to identify and get your things back. Mark objects with your post code or phone number, you could even engrave it onto tools with an electric pen to prevent the removal of this information. If you are a member of Peaceforapound, a service which allows your to register your valuable goods with your local police force, then you should mark objects with your Peaceforapound number. If such a service isn’t available in your area, keep a list of your valuable items and store photos of them.
Rubbish giveaway – an easy way for a thief to find out if anyone is at home is to check the wheelie bin. If it remains empty for days, that is a clear sign. Ask a neighbour to put some of their rubbish in your bin while you are away.
Common sense – there are many ways to deter theft by simply making some changes to your garden and the outside of your house. Here are some suggestions suitable for some homes, but it’s a good idea to come up with some ways to adapt these suggestions to suit your individual security needs. Anything that makes a noise, such as gravel will put off a burglar that doesn’t want to draw attention to themselves. Likewise, avoid anything that a thief could use for cover, such as high walls, tall fences and trees. If you have a tree that grows close to your house, employ the services of a tree surgeon to ensure that branches don’t pass near any windows – this is another easy route into your home. While these measures will deter opportunist thefts and gangs that operate at night, a more seasoned thief could just adopt a disguise to fool any suspicious neighbours, such as a hi-vis vest. Be sure to combine these techniques with a professionally installed burglar alarm to be doubly sure.
Home CCTV – while it may seem like an expensive and unnecessary precaution for some, if your house is a prime target (dark and quiet rural area, not likely for thieves to be spotted by neighbours or passers-by, expensive cars etc.) or there have been frequent break-ins or attempted break-ins, CCTV is a reliable measure.
Security lights – security lights are a way to further remove any potential hiding places, and a burglar may well avoid a house if they see it has lights. However, beware making access easier for a thief. Don’t light up obscured places that can’t be seen by yourself or a neighbour anyway, especially if this place is next to a potential point of entry – it only makes it easier for the burglar to see what he is doing.
Monitored alarms – most homes employ the use of a audible, or ‘bells-only’ alarm. If you live nearby other houses, in a housing estate, for example – you know how many times you have assumed the sound of an alarm is a false alarm, especially if it’s one of those houses that always seems to have alarms going off. Can you be sure that your neighbours will call the police in the event of your alarm sirens sounding? Perhaps you live in a rural area, where your house is the only one for miles? Monitored alarms are a foolproof way to secure your home without the limitations of an audible-only alarm. We can offer you two monitored alarm options to secure the safety of your home and family. The first option is a police-response monitored alarm – this means that when the alarm is triggered, not only are the sirens activated, the police are contacted. This is, without the doubt, the most secure and foolproof way to safeguard your home. If you would prefer, you could also opt for the second option. This is a keyholder-response alarm, which is the same as a police-response monitored alarm, except in the event of a break in or activation of the sensors, we contact you or a keyholder of your choice.
The latest technology in monitored alarms allows us to provide our customers with the technology to view real-time images of intruders. When your monitored alarm is activated, a special camera will send an image of the cause of this activation via our smartphone app. Whether you are on holiday, at work, or in bed, you will receive a notification with this image. This allows you to determine whether the cause is a real threat, such as an unauthorised intruder, or a false alarm such as a family pet.
If you would like to find out more about our monitored alarm services, please call us now on 0800 511 8410. Our friendly team of security consultants will be happy to answer any of your questions.