In the not so perfect world that we live in, protecting our homes and valuables is now sadly part of everyday life. Home Security is something we all have to be aware of to keep our families and possessions as safe and secure as possible. Long gone are the days of knowing all your neighbours, leaving windows and doors unlocked and leaving your spare key under the doormat or flowerpot. With an estimated 500,000 forced entry burglaries reported in the UK every year (that means one occurs every minute or so), home security is definitely not something we can take lightly or leave to chance. The mindset of it won’t happen around here or to us has to go. And these days, home security doesn’t have to be expensive, require costly professional fitting or even have you tied into lengthy contracts.
DIY home security and smart technology really do make it much easier and budget friendly to keep your home and belongings safer. And these days there are plenty of really cool gadgets, devices and alarms that do an excellent job of securing your home.
Whether you just want to keep your home safe whilst popping to the shops, out at work all day, a weekend break away from the stresses and strains of life or even a well-deserved holiday for a week or two, the last thing you want to worry about is that your home isn’t safe and secure.
Proactive prevention is the key. Whilst securing your home AFTER a burglary is essential, it is better to secure it beforehand and deter or stop burglars from targeting your home whilst you are not there. Burglars want easy pickings and don’t want to spend too much time breaking into your home – it increases the risk of being caught.
Good home security isn’t just about stopping burglars or installing better locks on your doors and windows. There are a whole range of home security options to consider – from new locks, letterbox defenders/restrictors, better lighting, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, internal and external cameras, safes, patio door locks, video doorbells, personal attack alarms, and even security on your laptop and phone to stop things like identity theft. And then there are things that everybody forgets about like keeping hedges and bushes trimmed (reducing hiding places for burglars), making sure fences are in good repair, not leaving tools and ladders in the garden that can be used to gain entry and so much more.
In the event of a burglary home security video cameras are excellent for recording evidence and do act as a deterrent. Video doorbells also provide the same function as well as letting you see who is at the door without having to answer it. Smart door locks that require pin codes or fingerprints to unlock doors reduce the need for keys (these can get lost or stolen) and also let you see who comes in and out (and even at what times). Remote and timed lighting lets you turn lights on/off without having to be at home (or even in the same country). Smart alarms notify you straightaway if someone enters your home and with video cameras linked to them even let you see right there on your smart phone who has entered (and depending on your camera even talk to people so you can tell them that the police have been notified). There are plenty of smart tech devices available for inside and outside of the home. And then there are the “low-tech” options such as patio door locks, key safes and safes to protect money, jewellery, valuable documents and even laptops.
Protecting our home and belongings is a must, see below for some tips (not an exhaustive list) for keeping your home secure:
- Fit key operated locks to all your windows.
- Lock all door and windows when leaving the house or even when you’re just out in the garden. Make sure that you double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn the key).
- If you have to leave a spare key outside (e.g., for carers, kids coming home from school) then make sure that you use a Police Preferred key safe that is safely and securely anchored to the wall.
- Have visible security devices such as a burglar alarm and make sure that you set it every time you leave the house.
- Install a video doorbell.
- Upgrade locks on doors to prevent lock snapping.
- Install a strike plate to doors if you don’t already have it.
- Have internal lights and a radio or television on timer switches (or Hive or other smart home systems), making sure that the timings are random so that a pattern cannot be established easily.
- Install exterior security lighting.
- Don’t leave any keys, including car keys, near the letterbox and in view (burglars are very good are using hooks through the letterbox).
- Don’t leave valuables on display that can be seen through the downstairs windows (e.g., don’t leave your laptop on the coffee table).
- Secure any small or high-value items in a safe (secured properly to the floor) or in a bank vault.
- Mark all your property with your postcode and house number. You can register your property for free with Immobilise.
- Photograph any valuable items.
- Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition.
- Ensure bushes and hedges and trimmed to limit hiding spaces.
- Make sure any gates to your garden are always locked and in good repair.
- Keep ladders and tools stored away so that cannot be used to gain access to your home (a lot of burglars are opportunistic and don’t carry tools, they will just use what they find around your garden).
- Make sure any external buildings, such as sheds, are secure.
- Secure any bikes at home by locking them in the shed or garage (if you have one), preferably to an immoveable object.
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property when you are not there.
- Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
There is no guarantee that following any of these tips or any professional advice that you won’t be a victim of burglary, but they will make your home a less appealing prospect to the opportunistic burglar and increase their chances of being caught. And a majority of home security improvements can be installed or completed by you without the need for expert knowledge or bringing in the professionals, reducing the cost and making home security a much more affordable and hassle-free task.
And whilst you are thinking about your home security, home security isn’t just about securing your home against burglars and theft – don’t forget the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as they could just save your life and are a must have for any home security and protection considerations.
Whilst making sure that your doors and windows are locked up when leaving the house is a way of securing your home without spending any money, if you do want to add extra security or shore up the security you already have in place then we have been trying out a few items that might make a difference to secure your home, property and even identity. Read our Home Security reviews by clicking on the link below and see if any of items we have tried will make a difference to your security and give you peace of mind.