10 Essential Tips for Improving Your Home Security
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In 2020, 134,000 residential burglaries were reported. Putting aside the costs associated, this doesn’t factor in the feelings of anger and vulnerability of having your home broken into – on which you can’t attach an amount. Fortunately, the vast majority of these break-ins can be prevented, and it only requires a few simple adjustments to how you approach your home security.
With that goal in mind, here are 10 invaluable tips for improving your home security.
1. Secure The Front Door
Although it’s a little hard to believe, one of the most common ways for burglars to enter a property is through the front entrance of your home. In fact, a majority of burglars enter through the front door – and many of them simply stroll right in – all because the door hasn’t been properly secured.
For this reason, it’s crucial to secure your front door and there are a number of ways to do this:
- Simply locking it: a surprising amount of people fail to do this.
- Upgrade your locks, particularly by installing a deadbolt. Deadbolts are especially secure because they have a unique locking device built into the bolt, that can’t be forced back into the door, thus preventing unwanted entry. Be sure to add a strike plate along with the deadbolt. It also ensures if they break through a window, they cannot walk out the main door with your belongings or use this door as an escape route. Try and make it as difficult as possible.
- If you are moving into a new home – change the locks. You do not know how many sets of keys are floating around to your new home.
- Install a lock box in a secret location around the premise to store your spare key and stop hiding your keys in the garden pot, window ledge, under a rock or garden bed. Think of it this way; if you can think of a good place to hide it, a burglar can think of it too. A lock box is a pin coded box, like a safe, installed outdoors. Saves a costly locksmith exercise.
- If your front door has a mail slot, make sure that someone isn’t about to reach through it and unlock the door
- Inspect the door to determine if its frames and hinges are still stable, and replace them if they’re not
- Look at installing Crimsafe or security grills to main entrances for an added layer of protection. For security purposes make sure the door has a triple lock not a single locking system.
- Upgrade to smart locks with keypad or swipe card.
2. Secure the Back or Glass Sliding Garden Door
As well as the front door, the back or side entrances that lead in from your garden is a popular choice for burglars, so much so that close to a ¼ of break-ins occur through this location.
If like many homes your garden doors are sliding doors, it’s wise to take additional measures to make them more secure, as they tend to be vulnerable. This could include a door sensor such as a reed switch that will sound an alarm if someone enters or a glass break detector for high pitched glass breaking sounds.
Whilst we are on the subject of gardens, it’s a good idea to keep your bushes and hedges trimmed as you deprive criminals of places to hide and give yourself more visibility of the area.
3. Lock The Windows
After the front and back door, windows (22%), particularly those on the ground floor, are an intruder’s preferred method of entering your home. Off-street windows, like on the side of the house, are particularly appealing as there’s less chance of them being spotted by your neighbours or passers-by. To prevent them from succeeding, make sure you lock them at night and whenever you leave the house. You can opt to install reed switches on doors so when arming your alarm before leaving, the alarm will notify you of any windows left ajar. Another option is Crimsafe. Crimsafe looks like a neat fly screen application but with the added benefit of security proofing your entry points whilst letting the breeze through.
If Crimsafe is not an affordable option for your budget, inspect the latches and replace them if they seem flimsy and easy to compromise. Additionally, as with sliding garden doors, you could install glass break alarms as an added security measures to sound a siren should anyone enter the premise.
4. Check Interior Locks & Internal Door from the Garage
As well as securing all external entrances to your home, you could also look at getting into the habit of locking the interior doors within your home. Particularly the internal door from the garage to your home. The garage door can be a weak spot for easy entry and if your internal door is unlocked you’ve given them an easy job for the day. Criminals look for ways to ‘snatch and grab’ car keys left on kitchen and entrance tables and steal your car whilst you sleep.
If you have the option, another technique would be to lock of your main internal doors to rooms that store valuable items. The first advantage of this is that criminals won’t have free reign around your house in the event of a break-in. After realising the doors throughout your home are locked, they’re highly likely to cut their losses and leave. Worst case, without access to every room, they’ll only be able to make off with a limited number of your belongings.
5. Add Obstructions
As well as locks, you can add other obstructions in and around your home to make it more difficult for intruders to enter. Ways of achieving this include:
- Erecting a fence or wall around your home clearly demarcates your property and makes it clearer when someone has entered it. It also adds a gate that you can fit a door sensor or security camera to.
- Security Alarm Systems work a treat, as soon as the barrier is broken a pitching siren will alert neighbours, yourself or authorities of an event taking place. Alarms can be self-monitored or via a control room 24/7.
- CCTV Security Cameras are a great deterrent alongside an active alarm system. Clear images day or night can not only capture this evidence, but it also provides you with the tools to call the police and advise of a break and enter in action. Police want to catch criminals, so being advised of a confirmed live break and enter can give you more power to obtain help from authorities in the aim to catch them at play.
- What was once thought of as unsightly, installing burglar bars on the windows of your home is an effective way to prevent home invasions and the latest models look very modern. As well as being practical, they also demonstrate that you’re security conscious, which could cause burglars to dismiss your home as a potential target.
- You could install a gate in front of your front door that works in a similar way to burglar bars on windows. As well as creating an obstacle for intruders to get past, it provides you with a second protective barrier.
- Plant thorny bushes under your ground floor windows to make it difficult for access. You could also place a few cactus plants on windowsills inside your house, to make it painful for an intruder if they manage to climb through a window.
- For pet lovers, it can be handy to have a dog on the premise as your sounder for intruders lurking in the area. A security alarm can accommodate pets up to 45kg so a double level of protection day and night.
6. Check The Garage
Garages and other external buildings such as sheds, barns, and other farmhouse buildings are often targeted by criminals due to the fact they’re often detached or isolated from your house. Worse still, they usually contain valuable items such as bicycles, garden toys, grills and BBQ equipment, power tools, sports equipment, and outdoor gear. Not to mention, for more daring, competent criminals, your car, and other motor vehicles.
The first and easiest step to better securing your garage is to cover the windows so contents aren’t visible to keen-eyed criminals. After that, check the locks and upgrade them if they’re not particularly strong or secure. Purchase a lock that reflects the value of the items inside your garage.
Also, if you have a smart lock on your garage, be sure to conceal the code if you have to enter it in front of delivery people, neighbours, etc.
Install a security alarm system and ensure this area is covered by a motion detector and a roller door reed switch for an immediate alert if opened without turning the alarm off first.
7. Install Security Cameras
Security cameras are one of the most effective ways to protect your home. In the event of a break-in, the footage recorded by your security cameras gives you a better chance of identifying the burglar and getting your belongings back. Tracking times on site, which direction they entered can help with the investigation. With so many CCTV systems in homes and businesses, you can track the criminal’s movement before and after the event. Best of all, cameras allow you to keep an eye on your property and/or your family in real-time, which is especially reassuring. Be anywhere in the world and view live activity from your smart phone, laptop, tablet, or PC.
Best places to install security cameras include:
- Front door (which could include a doorbell camera) with two-way audio
- Back or side doors
- Overview of front and backyard
- Garage entrance
Best of all, technology has progressed to the point where you can get high quality, multi-functional cameras for reasonable prices. It does not have to break the bank. Include audio so you can hear the perpetrators. The range of AI cameras now available give you options for a siren, a spotlight and/or a voice recorded message to switch on if a person enters the nominated “field of view” of the camera.
When combining a CCTV system and Alarm System with 24/7 Back to Base Monitoring, you have total control and peace of mind that you will know if there is an event, and you have a team of professionals assisting you.
8. Motion Sensor Lights
Motion-activated lights work great alongside cameras and are an effective security measure for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they act as a deterrent for anyone approaching your home, letting them know you are on top of your security, and, better still, that their presence has been detected and that you are now aware that someone is on your property.
Similarly, a well-lit house not only gives the impression that there are people at home, but it also makes any suspicious activity more visible to you and your neighbours. Speaking of which…
9. Know Your Neighbours
One of the most underrated ways of keeping your home safe and secure is getting to know your neighbours. When you know the people around you, they can look out for your property and, in turn, you can keep an eye on theirs. Ways that your neighbours can help improve your home security include:
- Calling you, and possibly even the authorities, if they notice any strange activity on your property
- Taking in each other’s packages when you’re not home for delivery (to protect against package thieves)
- Similarly, taking in mail and newspapers if you’re away (because nothing signals to burglars that you’re not there more than an overflowing mailbox or a pile of newspapers on your porch)
Also, as well as getting to know your immediate neighbours, you could also join your local neighbourhoods watch. Or, if there isn’t one in your area – start your own!
10. Install A Security System
Finally, there’s no better way to protect your home from invasion and theft than installing a security system. As well as a series of cameras, your home security system could include:
- Glass break alarms
- Door and window sensors known as reed switches.
- Doorstop alarms (great for short hotel stays too)
- Motion Detectors
- Timers or smart lightbulbs – for automatically turning your lights on and off, when you’re away, to make it appear that you’re at home
The good news, installing a comprehensive security system is nowhere near as expensive as a lot of homeowners think it is. Plus, if budget is a consideration, you can start by securing the more vulnerable areas of your home, like the main entrances, windows, and garage, for example, and add to it as you go. However, it’s also important to know that a security system will often reduce your home insurance premiums because you’re less likely to be broken into and make a claim. So, in addition to the extra peace of mind a security system provides, it’ll pay for itself in time.
As the tips shared in this post illustrate, there are plenty of ways to boost your homes security. Some won’t cost you a penny – just a little extra care and diligence each day, but before long, they’ll form part of your daily routine. Others may require an initial investment but are still a fraction of what a thief typically makes off with during a burglary. More importantly, however, is the extra peace of mind you’ll have knowing your family and home are even safer and secure – which is priceless.
If you’d like a free on-site inspection to identify the best ways to improve your home security, contact us and we’d be thrilled to help.