If, like many people, you’re concerned about the security of your home, or if you’ve been burgled before and want to stop it happening again, worry not. The following steps will act as a guide to how you can protect your home from break-ins.
1. Create Deterrents to Burglars
Deterring burglars is actually simpler than it sounds. All you need to do is make it difficult for a burglar to enter your home unnoticed.
Burglars don’t like anything noisy, so consider putting gravel under windows. If you have a dog, alert burglars to this fact with a “Beware of the Dog” sign. Try hanging wind chimes in your window, ensuring that they are visible.
You should also think about installing a motion-activated security light, especially if you are in an area that’s badly lit at night, or if you have a large garden. Anyone trying to sneak in is going to get a nasty shock when that lights them up for all the world to see!
2. Don’t Give Burglars an Opportunity
Burglars are often opportunistic. An open window, an abandoned ladder, or an unlocked door can be all the incentive they need.
Keep your house and garden clean and tidy. If you have a shed or outhouse, you should lock gardening tools and ladders safely away. Do not leave anything outside that will help a burglar climb in through any high-up windows.
Make sure you close any open windows when you leave a room, don’t be fooled into thinking that a thief won’t strike just because you’re in the house. Your windows themselves might be a weak point, so make sure they are all tight in their frames and that the locks work. You might also consider security bars for your windows, securing them to the inside so that a thief can’t get through the gap.
Lastly, keep the back door locked at all times – it’s much easier than trying to remember to lock it every time you leave the house. Keep front door, back door and car keys in a drawer. Don’t leave them in the lock, or within reach of your letterbox or any open windows. If you have a spare key, don’t leave it under the doormat or under a flower pot, give it to a neighbour you trust.
3. Hide Your Valuables
If you’ve got expensive items clearly on display within your home, it doesn’t matter how vigilant you are and how well you secure your home, the likelihood is that thieves will find a way in.
Keep electronic equipment such as laptops and digital cameras out of sight. Store CDs, DVDs and computer games inside cupboards or drawers. If you have valuable jewellery, or tend to keep cash in your home, you should think about buying a small safe to keep these in.
4. Don’t Leave Criminals Clues
Would-be burglars love it when you’re away from home. It makes their job so much easier. If you’re going out for the evening, or going away for a few days, you can buy timer switches for your lights. These will switch on and off at different times, giving the impression that someone is at home.
You can also attach timers to your television and radio, reinforcing the impression that you are in the house.
Also, don’t leave your calendar or family planner anywhere in clear view of a window. A smart thief can look through the window and see at a glance that you’re going to be in Tenerife for two weeks. Or that you’ve got an evening out planned with your friends. Put your planner safely away when you’re not using it.
5. Consider Installing Security Systems
The first four items on this list have all been minor changes you can make, either for free, or for a relatively small cost. However, for optimum security, you should consider installing a security system.
There are various security solutions available, from burglar alarms and window barriers to full CCTV systems. If nothing else, you should install a burglar alarm. And remember to set it whenever you leave the house. There’s a range of options for burglar alarms, from ones that simply make a loud noise to scare the intruder and alert passers-by, to those that actually alert the police.
You can also protect your windows further than simply by closing and locking them. Unbreakable windows, window bars or barriers, are good if you’re in an area that’s prone to vandalism. These are also good if you’re in an area with lots of children playing ball games.
As mentioned before, security lights are an excellent deterrent, perhaps not as effective as an alarm, but effective nonetheless. Other than that, you can get CCTV systems, but these are not usually necessary unless you’re recording harassment, or if you’ve got particularly expensive items in your home. You’ll need to decide on the level of security you’re comfortable with, before you splash out.
Of course, you can never be 100% sure that your home is safe from burglars, but by following the guidelines above, and simply changing your behaviour slightly, you’ll be keeping your property and your family safer than before.
Helen Laird writes for Crimeshield Manufacturing Ltd, providers of security window grilles and window barriers to stop burglars breaking into your home. Find out more at http://crimeshieldmanufacturing.co.uk/