There are many simple practices that you can implement to beef up your home security without spending a fortune, in fact most are completely free. Most aspects of securing your home can be applied without any cost to you at all, just simple changes in your everyday habits and routines. In this article I am going to help you apply the necessary changes that could not only save you money but also help you feel confident that you are doing everything needed to keep your most precious place in the world safe and secure.
Start with Outside
A good place to begin with is to have a very thorough tidy of your garden and front/side areas of your home. You would be surprised how small things lying around your front garden can aide an unscrupulous individual. Make sure that you do not have any ladders in the garden or standing up alongside the house.
These can be useful for thieves to gain access to upstairs windows that may not be secured. Also, pieces of rubbish like old brooms or mop handles could help with jamming open a window or door. So, it is a good rule of thumb to keep gardens and surrounding areas free of old bits and bobs you’ve been meaning to chuck out that can be used against you.
Another area to consider is if you have any trees, bushes or hedges in front of your door and windows. It is advised to keep them trimmed back and tidy as they can provide the perfect cover of darkness to a burglar when trying to gain access to your property. They are more likely to steer clear if they are on show for neighbours and passers-by.
Speaking of neighbours, they are a wonderful resource and you should always maintain good friendly relations with those living around you as they will be more willing to step in and provide assistance if they know you and your family members, should they spot an unfamiliar face gaining access via your garden or front door they can raise an alarm on your behalf. Lots of areas operate good neighbourhood watch schemes and they are a great idea to join and provide your community with support and vice versa.
Lock doors and windows even when at home
There are simple habits you should always employ around the house to ensure optimum security. We are very much aware of locking windows and doors when we go out, many of us tend to be more relaxed when the house is occupied.
Always make sure that you lock doors even when you are at home as opportunists may quietly slip in via an open door when you are distracted in the garden or kitchen and have a quick chance to pilfer through your front room unnoticed, picking up small valuables, handbags or even car keys.
The same goes for back doors. Never leave garden doors unlocked as intruders often make this their first point of call, hopping through back gardens and trying the garden doors. This is even more important in the summer months as it is so easy to forget when everyone is going in and out of the garden.
Don’t let your guard down when the weather is good
It may sound obvious but just as important is the closure of windows. As the weather warms up it is our natural instinct to open up the windows to cool off. Firstly, I would make sure that all your windows are fitted with locks, check which type is suitable for your windows and always opt for key operated locks if possible. Having good strong window locks is so important as the window is the easiest access point for intruders.
On the ground floor I would only open the window fully if occupying the room, if I was in and out of the room, I would open the window with the barrel lock or sash blocker blocking the opening from more than a couple of inches.
That way you can get some breeze but still maintain security. The same goes for when going to sleep, if you are on the ground or first floors, never go to sleep with the window wide open, that is an open invitation to a thief. Always sleep with the lock barring the opening from more than a couple of inches.
On the subject of sleep and going to bed, it is an excellent idea to get into a night-time routine of ‘locking up the house’. By that I mean go from room to room and check windows are closed and locked, front and back doors are locked with keys removed and put out of sight in a safe place. Door chains or bolt locks applied if you have them.
By going though these checks each night you will adopt the good habit or securing all access points to your home and it becomes second nature like brushing your teeth. It also avoids the nagging ‘did I lock the backdoor??’ thoughts from popping in your head when trying to get to sleep.
It is not a good habit to leave keys indoors as this promotes ‘fishing’. By this, I am referring to people trying to gain access to your door keys with fishing rods and coat-hangers. It is advisable to always place keys in an accessible place, which never changes so all occupants know where to find them in an emergency. However, they must be away from the reach of the front door. There are letterbox plates that you can buy to fit over the letterbox which prevents this from occurring. These plates also prevent people from peeping through the letterbox.
Extra effort before your holidays
When your home is not occupied due to going on holiday there are lots of actions you can take to secure your house when you’re not there. If you have any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers, make sure that you cancel them for the duration of your time away. Be careful not to order parcels to be delivered whilst away as drivers may leave them on your doorstep.
Get a trusted neighbor or friend to pop in once a week to keep an eye on everything. If you have open profiles on your social media platforms, I would strongly advise being cautious about announcing you are at the airport about to jet off somewhere. If you can try to refrain from posting your holiday pics until you return home.
Social media is a lot of fun, but criminals are very aware of how to get the most out of it to aid them in their activities. Although we feel like we know our friends on Facebook etc.., we do not know who else may have access to our friend’s accounts and when posting personal information who knows where it can all end up?
If you want to take things a bit further there is a lot of low-cost gizmos and gadgets that you can invest in. There are hot deals on the internet if you make the effort to seek them out. If you are a shift worker that is often at work at dusk it may be a good idea to pop a timer on your lights, that way it will look as if you are at home due to the light s being turned on automatically at dusk. Door lights that work on a sensor are good as they illuminate your front door when people move around it.
Great for security and for finding your keys. A bright light will deter any intruder from accessing your property. A good old-fashioned peephole is great for checking who is at your door, but technology has moved on in a big way and you can now get devices that show you images of who is ringing your doorbell onto your smart phone.
Overall, we can all implement small changes to our daily routines in a quest to make our homes more secure. That is not to say that any of the tips I have mentioned should be in place of good strong locks approved by your home insurance provider, they are just extra steps to complement existing security measure that we must all employ. When we are in our homes we can be confident that the steps taken will aid in our relaxation and we can sleep soundly knowing our family and home are protected. Know more about home security.