Despite the good news that burglary figures are falling with every passing year, the fact remains that break-ins are still a very real threat. There are, however, one or two things you can do that will improve home security and lessen the chances of your property being preyed upon.
Most residential burglaries are carried out by opportunists. Therefore, it stands to reason that the more you secure your property is, the less appealing it will be to anyone on the prowl in your area. Following the tips below will help deter would-be thieves and protect your precious belongings.
Check your locks
The first line of defense when it comes to home security is to improve the locks on both your doors and windows. The quickest way to make certain your locks are up to scratch is to ask a qualified locksmith to come round and take a look. The Master Locksmiths Association is the industry’s governing body, and they will be able to recommend a reputable firm in your area.
How old are your keys?
While we’re on the subject of locks, it can be worth thinking about how old your keys are and how many hands they have been in since you had your current locks fitted. This is a key (excuse the pun) point for landlords in particular who may have handed their keys across to dozens of different people over the years, but the same can apply to homeowners, too.
Previous owners, lodgers, neighbours, and even exes, could all have had keys cut in the past. So, if you want to review your home security properly and make sure your property is protected, give serious thought to who has previously handled your keys.
Install a home security alarm
This may be an obvious point to make, but the vast majority of homes are still without alarm systems fitted. A key point here is to opt for a name you can trust, as many home security alarm manufacturers fall short when independently tested. Keep an eye out for the British Standard kitemark when purchasing your home security system.
While home security alarms can be an extremely good deterrent in and of themselves, for them to work to their fullest potential it’s important to remember to change the security code regularly in order to get the most from your unit.
Well-lit homes are less attractive
Both indoor timed lighting systems and exterior lights equipped with sensors will help improve your property’s security. Putting yourself in the shoes of a burglar makes this glaringly obvious.
Which home would you prefer to take your chances on? One shrouded in darkness, or a house that has lights coming on and going off at random times as well being extremely well-lit outside? Easy choice, isn’t it?
Keep car keys out of sight
Car theft to order is a crime that has been in the news a lot more over recent years, and one of the quickest ways for thieves to fulfil such orders is to scour neighbourhood driveways looking for the cars that are on their lists. Should yours be one of those, it’s likely that the thieves will do a quick ‘recce’ of your home to see if they fancy their chances.
Obviously, if you’ve followed the above advice, you will be well on your way to deterring them from considering your home and vehicle, but there is one thing that a lot of us do that proves irresistible to car thieves - leaving our keys by the front door.
Whether they be on a hallway table or hanging on a hook by the door, if they are on view they are going to be extremely tempting for anyone looking to steal your car. Keep it safe, and keep your car keys out of sight.
Consider buying a safe
Should the worst happen and burglars do manage to enter your home, the likelihood of them finding your valuables is, believe it or not, pretty high. Even your most cunning hiding place will be on their list of places to look for the spoils, so you really are wasting your time if you think putting that favourite gold necklace in the bottom drawer of the freezer is going to keep it safe.
Instead, it might be worth considering a valuables safe for your home. While the break in itself will obviously be traumatic enough, at least you’ll have a fighting chance of keeping your most precious items secure should the ne’er-do-wells get into your property.
Secure your shed
Another crime that has grown recently is the amount of break-ins that are happening outside of the home. Sheds are enticing prospects for the opportunist, as they are generally unprotected and can contain a sizeable amount of goods - power tools, garden equipment, etc. - that are both valuable and easy to sell on.
Again, the lighting that you have installed outside of your home will help prevent your shed from being broken into at night, but some decent external locks will also add to the deterrent too. A sturdy hasp and staple that has been installed with coach bolts is far better than the standard locking system on most sheds, so think about adding that. Once fitted, a good quality padlock will finish off the job and make your shed infinitely more secure.
Join a neighbourhood watch scheme (or start one)
Finding your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is visit their website, then perform a postcode search and check out the results. Should you not have one in your area, the site also offers helpful advice on how to set up your very own scheme. Nice.
Think about your habits
Are you prone to leaving keys in window locks or letting mail build up in your letterbox while you’re away? If you are, you should really start to think carefully about how things like this look to anyone who may be considering breaking into your home.
Even your online habits can cause you heartache. A ‘Three more sleeps to holiday’ post on Facebook may well be seen by people who can easily identify you and your home. That seemingly innocent post means you’ve just given them vital information on the fact that your property is going to be empty for a while, so don’t do it. Think before you act!