Burglary can happen at anytime and during any season of the year. Securing your home from intruders can begin with some obvious yet often overlooked security measures. Doors and windows provide immediate access to your property but are not the only ways that your home might be unsafe. There are many poor security measures involving lighting, windows, and doors that can lead to seriously unfortunate situations. Some simple measures including alarm systems, better locks and adequate lighting can deter potential thieves.
Thieves are opportunistic and will be able to identify easily accessible properties. The first thing you should do is check your windows and door locks. If your windows are old, they may not be able to lock properly. You may want to consider investing in new replacement windows that lock securely. It is also a good idea to install windows with catches that prevent people from opening them more than a few inches. With new windows, you will also be able to enjoy the benefits of greater energy efficiency, which can save you a great deal of money. This may be a problem in the case of older buildings that have protection orders the structure both interior and exterior. In this situation you will have to implement alternative measures to make sure that you are not providing an open window of opportunity to potential burglars.
While alarms systems act as a good deterrent, they offer little in the way of a physical obstruction to thieves. In this case, they are more of a psychological obstacle. Alarm systems for the home can be complicated and expensive, so it is essential to determine your security needs before you begin consulting with alarm companies. You should also know that the simpler, less expensive alarm devices can often be easily disabled by a burglar. How many of us live next to a property where the alarm is continuously being set off by a barking dog or a strong wind. It is important to make sure that your alarm system works effectively. If your alarm is forever going off for no reason, it will get to the stage that your neighbours will become complacent about it – the boy who cried wolf scenario. It’s a good idea to have an alarm that is actually connect to a security response unit so that the security firm or the police will actually respond to the signal and check that your property is secure.
There are other more obvious ways to make sure that your home is secure. Opportunistic thieves are always on the look out for properties that appear to be vacant. Your home should look occupied at all times even if it is not. If you are on holiday, make sure that someone picks up your post and newspapers and cancel all milk deliveries. These are obvious signs that the house is empty and an open invitation to thieves. You should also get a friend or neighbour to turn lights on and off while your away or alternatively install a lighting timer. It is also a good idea to leave a car in the driveway at all times.
MyHome.ie provides some suggestions on ways to make your more secure:
- Get a professional to install a burglar alarm.
- Outdoor lighting with sensors can act as a good deterrent in that the light switches on when someone approaches your home. You should also have an outside light at the front and back door that enables you to identify callers in the dark.
- Install lighting timers on interior rooms. It is not enough to simply leave the landing lighting on as thieves will spot this. A timer will switch lights on and off at specified time intervals to make it appear that there are people in the property.
- Place a spy-hole in your front door. While this is quite common in apartment buildings, it is also a good idea in houses. It is also a good idea to fix a door chain to your front door.
- Install strong locks on windows and doors. Multiple locking mechanisms are also a good idea from a security perspective. You may need to get some advice here in terms of breaches of fire regulations. While you want to keep intruders out, you still need to be able to get out of the building in the case of a fire.
- Double glazing. Laminated glass is better than toughened because it stays in place when it’s smashed. The safest double glazing has bolts that shoot in to the frame for extra security.
- Secure your patio doors. Patio doors are common point of access for intruders so make sure these are secure.
- Build a wall or fence around your property if absolutely necessary. While this is not the answer to crime, it is certainly a way to deter thieves.
- Try to get to know your neighbours and establish a degree of trust with them. Once this trust has been established you can look after each others homes while you are away. This is a good way to develop a sense of security.
- If you have a local neighbourhood watch, then get involved. Neighbourhood watch can also provide you with some useful tips and advice on securing your home. As they will have an expert knowledge of your area and crime levels, their help and guidance may prove invaluable to you.
Protecting your belongings:
If you were unfortunate enough to have had your property burgled in the past, you will be aware of the difficulties in identifying what has been stolen and then proving this. There are a few key ways to protect your belongings in this case.
- Make your valuables easily identifiable by marking them in some unique way.
- Take photographs and make a record of all valuables and their corresponding unique markings. These should then be secured away with a friend or family member in a different property as you don’t want the burglars stealing your records too. This is particularly important for valuables such as jewellery or collectables such as art pieces.