Our top tips for easy home security solutions to keep your home safe and sound.
Home security is becoming more mainstream than ever and a quick trot along most urban residential streets will now show a hoard of smartphone-linked doorbells and flashing burglar alarms along the route. OK, so most of us don’t need a fleet of guard dogs and security officers but there are lots of little actions that homeowners can take to help keep their house safe and secure – with no need to break the bank. Read on for our top tips on home security; you may be surprised just how easy they are!
While it seems as though just about every new-build through the 1980s and 1990s had a burglar alarm installed, the popularity of functioning alarms has decreased in recent times. While there are certainly less dedicated security companies to the maintenance and servicing of such systems than there were before, there are lots of higher-tech security solutions that require little intervention – and they’re more affordable than ever. The same systems as before still exist (wired up with a PIN number to be triggered and sound to scare off would-be intruders should they enter when the system is turned on) but there are also now motion-triggered CCTV cameras and the smartphone-linked doorbells that show who’s entering or outside. There is some ongoing debate as to the safety of these latter (particularly if you speak through it to make an excuse about not answering the door in person) but for the most part, they are considered to be safer than having nothing at all.
Garages and sheds are rarely used just for their intended purpose and often house lots of pricy tools, equipment and other items; despite the fact they’re not often protected by standard home security systems! Outbuildings can be fairly easily protected without the need for additional alarms or products through the strengthening of their entrances. Any external-facing doors should be tough enough to put off easy entrance and automatic remote door openers allow for further reassurance of belongings security.
While most homes do have at least one outdoor light around their doors, how often are they actually turned on? Lighting has been proven to act as a deterrent for would-be intruders as they give away too easily their presence. Ideally, opt for motion-sensitive options – these are not only more energy efficient than lights switched on all the time but also will have any uninvited visitors quickly retreat. Outside lights on also act as a great safety feature for returning home in the dark.
A surprising amount of homeowners still leave a set of spare keys under the doormat or a plant pot near the front entrance, but this is an approach that’s only staggeringly unsafe in most instances but also will invalidate any would-be claims on your insurance should the worst happen. Every household should have a spare key – preferably held by a trusted confidante who lives nearby or friendly neighbour so it can be sought out swiftly in times of need – but if one is to be left outside, it should only be done in a secure key safe. These are usually code-protected and so only those with the set number code will be able to open it and access the keys. A favourite with those sub-letting or short-term letting, be sure that you change the code between each user otherwise you risk previous tenants holding on the PIN. As for the keys in your front door, don’t leave them in there – instead, lock the door securely and store them nearby somewhere you won’t forget.
Many homeowners are moving away from traditional home CCTV systems
Windows are an often underestimated security weak spot and are frequently targeted by burglars. Older windows with broken locks or keylocks that remain undone should be fixed as a matter of urgency. Old locks can also be picked easier than more modern ones and so where possible, should be replaced. Window restrictors that impede them opening fully are inexpensive and provide a great curb on anyone being able to climb through.
For periods where you do have to leave your home for more than a day or so, there are lots of automation tricks than can be installed to give the impression of people still being resident. This includes lamps and lights set on a timer so that the place is illuminated in the dark and automatic blinds that close to restrict views in. Even televisions and stereos can be remotely controlled by smart devices so that those outside of the home believe others are within. All of these things are signs that intruders look for to glean whether or not anyone is home but beware of timing everything exactly the same every day; such patterns can be easily recognised.
Not everyone’s a dog person but if you are, a canine pet could prove an outstanding security feature. The unpredictability of dogs mean that they’re frequently mentioned as the most off-putting feature of any home for burglars. Dogs are likely to raise the alarm of anyone they don’t recognise entering the property by barking and there’s no way of knowing how they’ll react to strangers until they do – and not many intruders are willing to put their own health or safety at risk of bites or scratches. Even smaller dogs are considered a risk; but there’s no harm in having a “Beware the Rottweiler” sticker by the door even if your furry friend is a little more terrier than bull!
Your home should be your sanctuary and everyone has the right to feel safe in their own four walls. There’s lots of actions that can be taken to help protect your family and property without having to invest heavily or worry too much. These small tips and tricks can all put off would-be burglars; boosting your safety and your peace of mind for many years to come.
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