Do you need an expensive home security system to keep your house safe? Not necessarily. Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries happen in broad daylight. Burglars are counting on you not being at home. They just want to grab what they can without opposition and make a run for it.
Alarms are great (in theory) but a lot of people don’t switch them on during the day, or burglars already know how to bypass them.
Here’s how to keep your home safer without signing up for an expensive security contract.
In this guide...
- Close doors and windows before leaving home
- Don’t make it obvious when you’re out of town
- Bright lights and bushes
- Alarm and armed response signage
- Your best friend
- Block sliding doors and windows
- Cheap window and door alarms
- Who’s there? Install a peephole
- Use longer screws on your locks
- Be responsible on social media
Close doors and windows before leaving home
Yes, it sounds incredibly obvious, but you’ll be amazed at how often an opportunistic thief gains access through sheer negligence.
Before going out, make sure that everything is closed and locked. Burglars will often ‘case’ a neighbourhood looking for easy targets. The less easy you make it for them, the better your chances of protecting yourself.
Don’t make it obvious when you’re out of town
You can get timer switches that will switch lights or TVs on and off at certain times of the night making it look like you’re at home.
If you have postal deliveries, ask a neighbour to clear you post box and stop things like newspaper deliveries while you’re away. Obvious signs that you’re out of town will turn your home into a target for burglars.
Bright lights and bushes
Outside lighting near entrances make suspicious activity more obvious to passers-by. Lights that are activated by motion sensors will save you electricity and might make intruders wonder if someone in the house switched on the lights.
But if your garden is very private and overgrown, you will provide intruders with the cover they need. Thorny shrubs clipped to a neat, dense form on the other hand, are an excellent deterrent. Plant them as a hedge and in front of windows to make things uncomfortable for potential intruders.
Alarm and armed response signage
This is a ‘cheat’, but if you can get your hands on signage that says you have an alarm system or armed response security, burglars may give your home the go-by even if you haven’t actually got the matching hardware.
Your best friend
Barking dogs, even small ones are off-putting for intruders. And big dogs are even scarier. Your dog doesn’t have to be vicious, he just has to be there. Some people like to have a little dog for its alertness and a large dog, for its intimidation-value.
And even if you don’t have a dog, there’s nothing to stop you from posting a ‘beware of the dog’ sign on your gate.
Block sliding doors and windows
Sliding doors and windows are a favourite for burglars. Make life difficult for them by getting cheap dowels at your local hardware and using to block the tracks. If your door can’t slide, it’s going to be a lot harder to slip open or even derail them.
Cheap window and door alarms
Monitored alarms are expensive, but you can get cheap noisemakers that will terrify burglars if they try to open doors or windows. Pop down to your local hardware and look at these low-cost devices.
They’re easy to install (double-sided tape does the trick and they have built-in batteries) and they kick up a huge racket if anyone opens a door or window.
Even if you aren’t home, thieves might make tracks for fear of having alerted neighbours. And of course, they don’t actually know that the alarm isn’t monitored.
Who’s there? Install a peephole
You should never open the door unless you know who is outside. If you have windows beside your doors, you can peep through them, but if not, you should install a peephole in your door.
If you don’t like what you see through a peephole or window, don’t keep quiet – and give the impression there’s are several people in the house. Teach kids to say “Go away, please. Daddy’s sleeping”.
Use longer screws on your locks
In the movies, burglars pick locks, but in reality, they usually just kick the door in. The screws that attach your locks to the door jamb are the weak point, so use longer, stainless steel screws to secure the lock and improve your home security.
For extra protection, you can get cheap reinforces to fit onto door jambs to strengthen the locks.
You love spending time on Facebook, Twitter and so on, but if you want to protect your home, only interact with a small group of people that you know and trust. This includes family members, friends and co-workers. Also, don’t post pictures or any other kind of information related to your valuables: an expensive car, a secret vault, money you have in the bank, not to mention your credit number!
And remember, you may not want to use the check-in button from now on since potential robbers could use it to see the time your home is left unguarded. Only share a minimal amount of information on social media and you should be fine!
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