Guest Blog: How to Burglar-Proof Your Home
Earlier this year, the Government introduced a stamp duty holiday to encourage homeowners to move house. This had the desired effect, motivating an estimated 140,000 additional sales. But while this was good for homeowners and the economy, thousands of buyers were faced with securing a new property.
Burglar-proofing your home requires a great deal of thought. You not only have to consider the unique security needs of your property, but you also need to know what intruders look for in a potential target. This article covers eight of the simplest ways to turn your home into a near fortress for would-be intruders, and includes a home security checklist from SECOM Plc for assessing your home.
Secure external doors and windows
The most common access points for burglars are windows and doors. To make your home more secure, it’s important that you never leave your home without checking that they are locked and your keys are out of sight. Becoming complacent will make your home more vulnerable to burglary and potentially invalidate your insurance.
When assessing entryways, think about how you might gain access if you were an intruder. Are any of your external doors panelled? If so, consider reinforcing the panels to make your doors more robust. Likewise, check your windows and window frames for signs of weakness. A small crack may not seem like a big deal to you, but to a burglar it’s a potential vulnerability that they can exploit.
Look after your boundaries
When homeowners think of home security, they tend to forget about the perimeter of their home, focusing instead on the brick and mortar of their property. This is understandable – after all, most of your valuables are kept inside – but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your home’s boundaries. Fences, gates and hedges play a key role in protecting your home and can make it easier for intruders to break in if they are left unattended.
At the front of your property, it’s important that hedges grow no higher than one metre in height. Anything taller than this will obscure your home and make it harder for neighbours and passers-by to spot someone trying to break in. In contrast, fences and hedges to the rear of your property should be at least 2 metres high.
Brighten up your garden
It’s important to a lot of homeowners that their gardens look just as nice as their homes. To that end, it’s not uncommon for house-proud owners to install outdoor lights. This has the dual effect of making their plot look more sophisticated while also making it harder for potential burglars to sneak about unnoticed.
Outdoor lights that come on at night and turn off at dusk are a good low-cost option, but the best lights for deterring burglars are those that come on when they detect movement. Motion-sensor lights can catch thieves off-guard and scare them off before they reach your backdoor.
Rethink where you keep your spare key
If you have a spare set of keys, don’t hide them under a doormat or flowerpot. Burglars are simply too aware of these hiding places and only too happy to exploit them. Instead, it’s much safer to leave your keys with a trusted neighbour or friend, or to store them inside a concealed key safe.
If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your spare keys with a neighbour, a safe alternative is to install a smart lock. Smart locks are new to the market but are growing in popularity. They connect with your smartphone via the internet so you can lock and unlock your external doors from anywhere, anytime.
Don’t just leave your TV on
When intruders break into a property, the last thing they want to find is the homeowner. Burglars target empty homes so they can rummage through your belongings without interruption and be in and out as quickly as possible.
With this in mind, you might assume that the easiest way to deter burglars is to make your home look like someone’s always home. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Seasoned criminals are adept at spotting when someone isn’t really home so you need to avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t post holiday photos on social media while you’re away.
- When you go on holiday, ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail so it doesn’t pile up outside.
- Use a light timer that turns on and off at random times so it isn’t so obvious you’ve automated your lights.
- If you’re staying with family over Christmas, ask a neighbour or pay a maintenance service to clear your path of snow and ice. A snowy driveway is a clear sign you’re not at home.
Install window coverings
It can be tempting to leave curtains and blinds open so your home feels light and airy. The only problem is, if you have lots of valuables on show and a thief happens to pass by, you may tempt them to burgle your home.
To stop potential burglars from scoping out your house, either keep ground floor curtains and blinds closed or install window films. Frosted glass and vinyl are an excellent option if you want to let in lots of natural light without compromising your privacy.
Install a security system
Intruder alarms come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Depending on your budget, it’s important that you invest in one that meets the unique security needs of your home.
A bells-only alarm is one of the most common types of security system. As the name suggests, they sound an alarm in the event of burglary, attracting attention and scaring off intruders.
Monitored security systems are actively monitored by an ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre). When the alarm system detects a break-in, fire, or home emergency, it sends an alert to your security provider so they can respond.
Smart security systems provide remote access to motion sensors, CCTV and smart devices. They allow homeowners to arm and disarm their intruder alarm, watch live video footage and greet visitors at the door – all from a single smartphone app.
- Assess your property using a security checklist
If you’re still unsure about how to burglar-proof your home, take a look at this home security checklist from SECOM Plc. From windows and doors, through to outbuildings and boundaries, it takes homeowners on a tour of their homes, explaining which areas are vulnerable to burglary and how to make them impervious to criminals.