How can you make your home extra secure from would-be burglars? These 12 tips are a great starting point.
You don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money to keep your family and valuables safe at home. These 12 tips give you some easy, practical pointers on tightening up your home security so that you have a secure home:
1 – Install a key box
It can be useful to have a spare key hidden somewhere outside your house, especially if you have guests coming and going. However, leaving a spare house key in a classic location like under a flower pot or doormat is a very predictable thing to do, and a burglar is likely to check there. Instead, get a secure key box or key safe. You fix it to the outside of your house, and it requires a code to open. They’re often used by holiday homes and needn’t be expensive. See our collection here.
2 – Lock sliding doors
It’s easy to forget to lock your sliding glass patio doors properly. Make sure you don’t just close them when you go out or go to bed, but use the keys too. Some sliding doors can be quite easy to force open even if locked – a simple security trick is to put a piece of wooden doweling rod into the tracks. This will only allow the door to slide open a small amount (or not at all), preventing a burglar getting inside even if they do manage to force the lock.
3 – Secure your shed and garage
Don’t forget to securely lock any sheds or garages where you store anything worth stealing. A lawnmower full of petrol, some bikes or a store of heating oil can be quite a valuable prize – well worth a thief’s time if they are easy to access. Invest in some good padlocks (at least) and remember to use them. If you are a tradesman and have a collection of expensive tools, we’d highly recommend investing in a secure van or truck box that can’t be broken into or carried off.
4 – Consider purchasing a security alarm
A house alarm is an obvious security measure that’s worth the cost. You can set the alarm when you go out, or cover only the downstairs of the house while you’re asleep upstairs. Just the presence of an alarm box on the outside of your house can be enough to deter opportunist burglars.
5 – Install CCTV or dummy cameras
If you want to go one better than an alarm system, consider installing some simple CCTV. No thief wants to be caught on camera, so the sight of your CCTV system is likely to put them off. With that in mind, installing some dummy cameras is a cheaper and easier option which may be almost as effective. One possible downside of getting cameras is that it does imply that there’s something in your house worth stealing. You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around filming and keeping footage of people – see these government guidelines.
6 – Keep outdoor areas well lit
Dark corners in your garden make it easier for a burglar to take their time breaking into your house without your neighbours noticing. Consider getting some charming solar-powered lighting that comes on automatically at night and doesn’t affect your electricity bill. (Here are some examples.) Motion-activated security lights are another option – these are startling and off-putting, and also give you or your neighbours a heads-up that someone’s outside.
7 – Plant thorny shrubs
Here’s a simple and often overlooked security measure – get a rose bush! Planting something seriously prickly like a rose bush under a window can deter a burglar from trying gain access that way. Some other prickly but attractive shrubs include blackthorn (very thorny and you’ll get sloes from it), holly (also provides free Christmas decorations), and firethorn, which can make a good dense, prickly hedge. Another attractive and protective suggestions are the shrub rose, which only grows to about a meter tall and yields beautiful pink flowers amongst the thorns.
8 – Gravel your driveway
If you have a driveway, putting fresh gravel down is another simple action that can give your security a boost. You’re likely to hear any intruders scrunching up the driveway while you’re at home, especially at night.
9 – Buy or build a decoy safe
A decoy safe is an excellent way to hide valuable objects in plain sight. If you have jewellery, a large amount of cash, or just some car keys that you leave at home, you could buy or make your decoy safe – a small safe that’s disguised as an everyday object like a baked bean tin or a book. Thieves are very unlikely to find a hiding place like this amongst your kitchen cupboards or bookcases.
If you have larger items like important paperwork or laptops, we’d suggest locking them in a fully tested hidden safe. Meanwhile, you could buy an inexpensive, portable safe or security box and place some fake jewellery inside. Leave this somewhere quite easy to find when you go out – perhaps under your bed or on a desk. Burglars want to be as quick as possible, so they are likely to grab this and go without looking for anything else, leaving your true valuables safely behind.
10 – Use social media wisely
What to do when you go away on holiday? Firstly, don’t advertise to the world on social media that you are going away for two weeks, especially if your accounts aren’t locked down. If you want to post holiday photos, check-ins, etc. while you’re away, look at your privacy settings and ensure that only your trusted friends can see what you’re posting.
11 – Automate your lights
Automating your house lights is another great holiday idea. Would-be burglars may keep a lookout for a house that’s dark all week – a good indication that the owners have gone away. It’s easy to buy plug socket timers and plug lamps into these. Time the lamps to turn on and off at times that you would realistically be using them if you were home. The impression from the street is that someone’s there.
Several systems are now available that allow you to programme and control house lights and appliances remotely using your smartphone. ‘Smart plugs’ and other devices give you the flexibility to override your automation and switch some lights or the TV on if you have to stay away from home unexpectedly. Some of the more advanced systems also allow you to monitor security cameras via your smartphone or be notified of any alarms or other activity in your home while you’re out.
12 – Know your neighbours
Finally, get to know your neighbours. It’s free, and it’s your best weapon against thieves. Get to know who lives where and any regular guests they have, let each other know when you’re going away, and they’ll be able to spot anyone suspicious hanging around your property. Maybe they’ll even pick up your post or water your plants for you to keep your house looking lived in. You might make some friends too!
Try them out
We hope you’ll try putting a few of these simple tips into action. You’ll have greater peace of mind and a more secure home. For further advice on safes, key boxes or any of the other security products that we supply, please call our friendly experts for a discussion: 0800 567 7549.