Have you ever had your home broken into? It’s a horrible experience. The knowledge and feeling of your personal space being violated and knowing that strangers had rifled through your personal belongings is nauseating.
However, in my line of work I see this kind of heartache all the time. The worst thing is these scary circumstances could have been avoided with a few simple security measures.
Here are my top 10 tips to protecting you family from intruders.
1. Secure Your Front And Back Doors
Your front and back doors and your first line of defense against intruders. It makes sense to ensure they are the most secure.
The first thing you can do to make sure your door secure is to install a deadbolt. Double cylinder deadbolts are one of the best residential locks you can get for your home. Don’t go with the cheap $5 option you find in your local hardware store. These are often flimsy and easy to break into. Choose a quality deadbolt which usually starts around $40 and make sure it is installed correctly by a professional.
I recommend your door is made of solid wood or metal. This makes it incredibly hard for intruders to break down your door. Often I see people with a solid front door but they forget about the back door. All entrances to your home should have a solid door.
Also, make sure that any glass you may have near your door is not near the door handle. Criminals can easily break the window, reach in and open the door from the inside.
For added safety, consider installing a peephole. This makes it easy for you or the kids to see who is at the door. A good tip for kids is if mum and dad aren’t with you, then don’t open the door.
And the best tip of all is to make sure you lock your doors when you leave. You can have the security of Fort Knox, but if you leave the door unlocked then it is easy pickings for thieves.
2. Install An Alarm
Alarms are a great deterrent. The last thing a thief wants is their activities alerted to. If you haven’t got an alarm yet, seriously consider getting one.
If you already have an alarm, check that it is working and that the battery is charged. Make sure that all the sensors are working and not obstructed by anything.
And just like the door, make sure you use it when you leave home or go to bed.
A good routine for the kids if you are leaving the house is to get them to ask themselves “Doors locked? Windows Locked? Alarm on? Yep? Ok, let’s go!” Getting them into the habit now will help when they get older.
3. Install Some Security Lighting
Ever seen a prison break movie where the prisoner is sneaking around in the dark and suddenly the spotlight lands on him? Not the position he wants to be in.
It’s the same for criminals sneaking around your home.
Security lighting is a great deterrent for would-be thieves. The last thing a burglar wants is attention drawn to them and being seen.
Security lighting works when movement is detected and a light switches on, often illuminating an area. The sudden change from darkness to light can startle intruders and alert you or your neighbours.
Use security lighting to illuminate every access door and entry into your property. If you are on a budget, I recommend at least getting the front and back entryways covered.
Another tip is to get a cheaper timer when you are away on holidays. You can connect these to lights, TV’s, radios and other electronics to give the illusion that someone is home.
4. Advertise That You Home Is Secure
This is another good deterrent for burglars. The idea is if they can see that your home is secure then they may reconsider breaking in.
Post security signs, stating that your home is secure, in obvious places like at the front door, or driveway.
Keep the sign generic. Don’t mention the make, model or manufacturer of your security system. This information can be used by thieves to bypass your security system.
5. Remove All Potential Hiding Places
The easier it is for criminals to hide in your yard, the easier it is for them to sneak into your home.
Remove any trees or shrubs from window and entry ways. If you do have shrubs, make sure you regularly trim them.
Avoid any privacy fences you may have. Whilst they are great at keeping your activity, it also means the burglar has free reign of your yard without being seen from the road.
Make sure you keep tools and equipment such as ladders locked up in a shed or garage. These can be used by burglars to access the roof or a second story window.
6. Get To Know You Neighbours
Do you have a good relationship with your neighbours? Neighbours can keep an eye on your home and alert you or the authorities if there is any strange activity happening around your home.
You can also ask them to put your garbage out while you are holidays, collect your mail or park their car in your driveway. This can give the impression that someone is home, even if you are not.
It is a great idea to have their number on speed dial. Your child can easily call them if they need help from another adult and you are not available.
Join the local neighbourhood watch in your area. If there is not a neighbourhood watch active nearby you can always start one up with your fellow neighbours.
7. Don’t Attach Your Person Details On Your Keys
I know I use to do this. I would leave my contact details on my keys so if I lost them they could be returned. However, details such as your name, address or phone number can be used by criminals. Using the details attached to your keys they can easily find your home and let themselves in.
So don’t put your personal details on your keys.
8. Keep Things Of Value Out Of Sight
Most thieves scope out a house to see if there is anything worth stealing. By keeping your blinds closed when you are asleep or not home stops a would-be thief from discovering what you have. This means they likely will not risk it and move onto someone else.
Another good idea is to not keep valuables in your car and park your car in a closed garage. Valuables in an unattended car are an easy target for thieves. By parking your car in a garage, it makes it harder for burglars to determine your patterns when you are or aren’t home.
If you have bought something nice for yourself or you family, make sure you don’t leave the box outside in a noticeable and visible location. A new flat screen television, video game system, laptop or other expensive home electronics box on the curb is a great indicator to would be thieves that you have valuables in your home.
And finally, keep any valuables such as car keys, money and jewellery away from the windows where it can be seen.
9. Get A Safe
Looking for the final layer of security? A small safe is excellent at keeping small valuables and documents such as jewellery, cash, and your children’s birth certificates secure from thieves.
If you have a safe, make sure it is bolted down and secure so intruders can’t remove it and open it later.
10. Get Your Home Security Checked By A Professional
A lot of police stations and locksmiths offer free home security check services. When you call them they can send someone around to your home to make sure it is safe and secure.
Locksmiths and police are up to date on local crime trends and will be able to give you expert advice on how to secure your home against break-ins.
Contact a locksmith to help you with your home security