Anyone who has ever been burgled knows how much pain, inconvenience and disruption can be caused. While we all lock our doors, shut our windows, and check before opening the front door, there are some steps we can take to make ourselves more secure. Read on for some tips from security experts.
Start with your front door
As the main entrance to your home, your front door is really important. Ideally a door should be strong, without large panes of glass which can be easily broken. To stop your door being kicked open, a heavy-duty four-screw deadbolt strike plate (the piece of metal where the deadbolt latch goes into the door’s frame) is a good investment and can be found at a good hardware store. Ensure the plate is strongly attached to the door frame.
Make your home look occupied
Even the most hardened criminal will take the easy option – most will leave an occupied home alone. Most burglaries occur when most people are away at work or away on holiday. If your lights, tv and radio have a timer function, use it (include at various times during the day) to fool intruders into thinking your home is occupied when it’s really not. Remember to vary the timer, so that anyone watching your area will not detect a pattern.
Check your windows
Older horizontal sliding windows or sliding glass doors can be lifted off of their tracks. If your home has these, they may need extra security protection; put a broom handle or shower curtain rod in the track, so intruders won’t be able to slide the window or door open even if they get past the lock.
A window sensor alarm is also a good idea – you can get text or email notifications when a window in your home has been opened. Depending on your security system, you can respond by turning on the lights remotely or accessing a video feed of the location.
Dogs are great deterrents. Even if you don’t have a dog, consider putting a “beware of dog” sign on your fence or leaving a dog bowl by your side door.
If you have a monitored alarm, let potential burglars know – companies have stickers or signs you can put in obvious places.
Be light and bright
If others can’t see suspicious activity, you make it easy for burglars. Security lights with motion sensors alert you or your neighbours to unusual activity in the night, and are not attractive to burglars. They also make it safer for you if you need to go and put rubbish out at night for example – you are less likely to trip on a well-lit path.
Don’t promote your holiday
Intruders look for small signs that someone is away on holiday, such as flyers and ads piled up by your front gate or porch. Have your mail collected or redirected and take care with your social media activity – you never know who will see your post that you are off overseas for a week. Addresses are alarmingly easy to find online, you don’t want to tempt a potential burglar with the promise of an empty home.
Don’t display your valuables
If a burglar does manage to get inside your home, they will grab the most valuable stuff they can find quickly. Instead of keeping your valuables in the usual hiding places, get creative. Cereal boxes, faux tin cans and safes are a good idea for storing valuables – or even the freezer!
The biggest threat to anyone is complacency. Be attentive to new people walking or driving through your area. If you notice that someone is loitering by your home or seems to be following you, take notice. If you’re aware of your surroundings, you can more easily spot something that’s awry, like a broken window or a suspicious car.