Making your home safer: The Quick Guide

green wooden door with padlock

Make sure entry points are more secure than this set up. Image licensed under Creative Commons.

Our homes are our sanctuaries, a place where we feel safe and relaxed, removed from the world. So the thought of someone being able to permanently shatter that peace is repulsive. But if you fall victim to a burglary, that is exactly the consequence. Far beyond losing the belongings you hold dear – which is bad enough in itself – it’s the loss of your peace of mind, and the feeling of violation when a stranger has entered your home and rifled through everything that victims report being most traumatised by. Burglaries are on the rise, so the likelihood of having to experience such an event is a real danger. What can you do to keep your property more secure and you and your loved ones safer?

Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, committed because the thief sees an easy win in front of them, so a lot of the proactive solutions you can take are about making things seem harder. That means there are plenty of low-cost steps which can minimise your chances of falling prey to an opportunistic criminal. Making your home a hundred per cent secure is never going to be possible, but you can take a few steps that will reduce the risk of this awful occurrence befalling you.

Make Home Security A Habit

Many of us are compromising the security of our homes simply through a few lazy bad habits which can quickly and easily be corrected. It is also important to make sure that other members of your household are doing these things, as it only takes one person not covering them off to create that opportunity a burglar needs. Start by always ensuring that doors and windows are locked. You need to coach yourself so that it becomes a habit to lock doors after entering, when leaving and also before you go to bed at night. It’s also a good idea to stop opening the door to uninvited callers, and certainly warn any children against doing so. The benefits of a security system are also considerable if it’s used properly. Any home alarm cost is worth it if it keeps you safe – but many of us don’t use our alarm systems properly. Make sure that you always activate it, even if you’re just nipping to the shops. The key is to train yourself to do these steps.automatically.

Hide Your Keys Better

You’d be surprised how many people still keep a spare key ‘hidden’ in an extremely obvious place! Under the front door mat or beneath a conveniently placed rock- you may think it’s subtle, but it’s the first place a potential burglar will look. Too many people still use the same tried and tested places. It’s far better to give your spare key to a neighbour you trust or a family member – but definitely not labelled with your address! Similarly, be careful where you put your door keys and car keys when you come in. Leaving them in the hallway on or on the kitchen counter is inviting trouble. Far better to use a cabinet or drawer elsewhere in the house where it’s not obvious.

Light Up

Darkness is the perfect cover for an opportunist thief, so deter them with lots of light – outdoor lights that work with motion sensors are ideal for scaring people off with a sudden burst of light. Place them overlooking driveways and at any entry points. Thieves won’t like their break-in attempts to be bathed in a flood light, so they work as a really effective deterrent. Check them regularly to replace any bulbs which have burned out. You can also use timers really effectively in the house, especially if there is regularly no one home in the evening or if you’re going away on holiday. Set them in advance to switch the lights on and off at random times to give the effect of someone being at home. You can also use timer plugs on the TV for a similar effect.

Check Your Outdoor Space

Have a quick check of your outdoor space as well. Make sure that any fencing is whole and undamaged without any obvious gaps and when it comes to shrubbery, prune it back. Anything too high and overgrown creates a perfect hiding place for a thief to stand and check out your house. Take a look at doors and windows from the outside as well. Anything in bad repair or that is made of  hollow material in terms of doors is bad news – go for solid core entry doors that provide more reinforcement.

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