With burglaries now commonplace, both law enforcement bodies and home insurance companies are encouraging home owners to make their homes more secure.
Home security is not about turning your house into a fortress. Taking simple precautions and making some inexpensive adjustments is often all that is required to discourage burglars.
Below are some tips that don’t cost a fortune and really work:
- Install quality locks (preferably deadlocks) on all doors. This might sound simplistic, but a lock that resists prying or picking may end a burglar’s break-in attempt before it starts.
- The latches on sliding glass doors and windows are easily forced, so laying dowel rods in the window tracks will prevent them from being opened.
- If you can’t afford an alarm system, you can certainly afford the warning sign. Placed prominently on windows, it can make a burglar think twice about attempting to break in.
- Good neighbours are the best burglar deterrent of all. Get to know your neighbours and tell them if you are going away. Ask them to park in your driveway and, rather than having your mail stopped (a sign that the house is vacant), ask your neighbours to collect it for you. Of course, you will be required to reciprocate when they go on holidays, but it is a small price to pay and makes the whole neighbourhood more secure.
- Rather than leaving a light on the entire time you are away, install an inexpensive timer, so that the light is switched on and off periodically to mimic occupancy.
- Install motion-sensor lighting around the exterior of your home. It is not expensive and will deter potential intruders from lurking outside.
- Prune back trees and other vegetation that screen your house from the street and may provide concealment for an intruder.
- Reinforcing a door jam with a heavy-duty strike plate will prevent a burglar from simply kicking the door in, as has been known to happen frequently with cheap pine door jams.
- Installing a remote garage door opener is very affordable and the high tension exerted by the system will prevent a burglar from forcing the garage door open from the outside.
- Make sure your sheds and outbuildings are securely locked, as tools and garden implements are often used by burglars to help them break in.
- Never leave spare keys under mats or flowerpots or in meter boxes, as these are the first places burglars look.
- Always lock your house, even if you’ve just popped out for a minute. Many burglaries are opportunistic and occur in broad daylight.
- Similarly, if you are working out the back or in the garden, lock the front part of your house.
- Never leave notes for friends or family telling them when you will be back. Burglars can read too.
If, despite all your best efforts, your house is broken into one day, it will pay you to have a detailed inventory of your possessions when claiming on your contents insurance. Photographing and marking valuables can also assist in getting some of your possessions back at a later date.
Simple precautions such as these will not make you burglar-proof, but in combination, they can be enough of a deterrent to make all but the most determined intruder think twice about targeting your home.