Last updated on January 20th, 2016 at 01:37 pm
Feeling safe in your own home is a right that everybody is entitled to. Your home is your own space where you build your livelihood, keep your possessions and where your family lives; it’s only natural that you want to feel as safe as secure as possible.
Unfortunately house break-ins do occur, millions per years in fact, and the consequences can have a lasting effect on the home owners for many years after the event.
Using hints and advice from the police and neighbourhood safety groups, we’ve compiled a list of easy and actionable tips that you can use to make your home safer and help you when making your home more secure.
Make It Look Like Somebody’s at Home
Thieves will often wait until nobody’s in before they attempt to enter. Here are some simple tips on how to make it look like somebody is home, even when you’re out.
- Leave a light on when you’re out at night. (Install a low energy bulb to save electricity and money)
- Don’t leave any ‘I’m out all day’ notes on your door. Even if you’re expecting an important delivery, a note to the postman is an invitation to a burglar.
- Have a radio or TV on a timer switch to come on so it sounds like somebody is at home.
- If you’re going on holiday, ask a trustworthy neighbour or family member to go to your house and open/close curtains and turn lights on to make it look like your house is being lived in.
Don’t Display Your Expensive Items
- Keep expensive items out of view
Don’t leave items such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, money and watches etc in view or visible from outside. Your home windows can quickly become a shop window for burglars if you leave your possessions on display.
- Don’t post items on social media
As much as we like to show people our new toys and let our followers know what we’re up to, posting pictures and updates of expensive purchases on social media isn’t a good idea. A thief can see, or be informed, that you have recently purchased the latest gadget worth £500, and they can easily find out where you live. Also, if you’re away, don’t post live updates from your holiday and tell the world that nobody’s at home.
- Don’t leave doors open
If you need to go into your garage, close the door behind you. Often garages contain expensive tools, cars and many other costly items. If a thief walks past and your door is wide open, they can easily and quickly see if there’s anything inside they think is worth taking. Likewise, if you’re quickly going outside, don’t leave your front door open and let people see inside your house.
Close and Lock Doors and Windows
This might sound obvious, but many people still can be careless when leaving the house and not properly securing their doors and windows.
- Close and lock windows when you leave
Many people still leave windows open when they go out, especially on hot days when they want to keep the house cool. When nobody’s home, always close and lock your windows, it’s far better to be hot and slightly uncomfortable for a few minutes when you get home than coming back to a burgled home.
- Double Check You’ve Locked Up
If you ever think to yourself ‘did I lock the door?’ always go and double check. It’s better to take the extra few seconds to double check and ensure the doors are locked properly.
Keep Bushes and Shrubs Trimmed and Low
One piece of advice that the Police always offer is to ensure that there are as few hiding places for thieves as possible. If your trees, bushes and garden area in front of your house are over-grown that gives burglars a curtain to cover them when they’re inside, but also give them a hiding place once they’ve left the house.
Bushes, gates and fences are useful however, in the mindset of a burglar they are barriers that could potentially hinder their escape route, so keeping them is a good idea, but managing them is important.
Take Keys Out of the Door Lock When Unlocked
A common technique used by thieves is to quietly open a door and feel for any keys left in the lock on the other side. This makes your car vulnerable and then they can also get the keys cut and come back at a later date. If you lose your keys or they get stolen, make sure you change the locks on your house doors so the lost keys are ineffective.
If you’ve recently moved into a new house it is also recommended that you change the locks as you can’t be certain who has previously had a copy of the keys.
Install Motion-Detecting Lights Outside
A motion light is a great tool for home owners in keeping your property safe. They are highly useful for several reasons:
- They inform you that somebody’s outside. You know when your outer light comes on that somebody is outside and you can turn on more lights and make noise to let them know somebody’s in.
- They surprise the burglar. If the burglar isn’t aware you have a motion light, when it comes on they will be surprise and often startled and will feel it’s too risky to proceed.
- They expose the burglar. Thieves often wait until it’s dark to make their move so they’re hidden. The light takes that advantage away from them and lets them be seen.
Taking steps to increase home security to deter thieves and prevent break-ins will reduce the chances of your house being targeted and entered by burglars. However, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, break-ins do happen and if you see any suspicious activity around your own or your neighbour’s property contact the local authorities and make them aware of any potential danger.