Your home is your castle, a place where you should always feel comfortable and safe. However, many of us overestimate the trustworthiness of strangers, causing us to jeopardise the security of our homes. Criminals are getting more creative than ever, banking on your kindness, generosity or just plain gullibility as a way to gain access to your property.
In order to protect your family and home, use common sense in combination with defensive action. The most effective safety measures involve good habits, smart thinking and a few affordable precautions.
Invest in a home security system
Burglary is largely opportunistic, meaning if an individual sees a chance to get away with a crime, he/she will take it. If there are no obvious obstacles to catch a criminal red-handed, then your chances of being burgled are pretty high. Burglars will usually target homes that seem insecure and unoccupied - where your belongings are free for the taking.
So, it should come as no surprise that a home security system, complete with CCTV, is the best way to deter would-be criminals. A visible surveillance system will often encourage burglars to move along, in search of an easier target.
Place a camera directly above your door(s) to discourage burglars. Even if they’re feeling bold enough to try their luck, a quality security system will alert you when an unexpected visitor is sneaking around your property. Especially if you’ve got kids in the house, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel knowing your house is protected from intruders.
Light up your home
Proper indoor and outdoor lighting will deter criminals, as well. A well-lit exterior is an effective way to deter thieves - they’ll be easily visible to both the home’s occupants and police officers, increasing their chances of getting caught. Install motion sensored lighting as a budget-friendly option.
Inside, a house that’s well lit will signal to burglars that someone’s home. Because most thieves strive to avoid confrontation, they’re likely to bypass it in favour of a dimmer one which shows no sign of occupancy. Set your lights on timers so they create a more effective illusion. Thieves won’t be convinced by a bathroom light left on for hours. Instead, timed lights will make it look like someone’s about the house, turning lights on and off throughout the evening.
Well-placed hedges and thick blackout curtains will keep passers-by from peering into your home. You’re much better off if criminals can’t see all the valuables contained within your home.
Beware of cold callers
Be cautious of charity campaigners and cold call sales people. Always check that they have proper ID and verify they are with a reputable company before proceeding with any conversation.
If they do not appear to be legitimate or make you feel uncomfortable, a stern no should steer them clear. Do not invite callers into your home. Burglars are masters of deception. Although they may not take anything from you at the time, they may be scanning your house for easy access points and items of worth.
If you’re having some repairs done in your home, or having a big delivery dropped off, make sure workers are accompanied at all times. Note their behaviour and what they’re doing. Keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour. Some burglars will masquerade as legitimate blue-collar workers during the day, noting your home’s overall security while doing so, and return later to rob you.
Location is important
If you’re in the market for a new home, choose one with a neighbourhood watch programme. In addition, your home will be that much safer if you get acquainted with neighbours. Befriending them will ensure there’s always an extra pair of eyes on your property. This is especially valuable if you plan on going on holiday this summer.
Work with your neighbours to try and make your home look occupied while you’re away. For example, you could lend them a spare key and have them bring your post in once a day, assuming they’re trustworthy and responsible enough to keep your key safe.
Hide valuable possessions
Don’t leave valuables and packages strewn about your home. Keep them safely tucked out of sight. Keep wallets, keys and handbags out of easy reach.
Lock it up
It's easy to forget locking windows and doors behind you during summer-time or if you're just popping down the corner shop. Burglars will stake out areas to look for weak spots in the neighbourhood, going for the easiest opportunities. You’ll rest a little easier knowing you’re doing all you can to protect your possessions, family and property from opportunistic burglars.
Also, ensure your windows and doors have high standard locks fitted. Find out more about locks here.
Correct home insurance
Protect your home with a comprehensive buildings and contents insurance from Computerquote Insurance.