All too often, people think about home security only after an event. After a break in, or even an attempted break-in, when precious, irreplaceable items have been stolen, people tend to re-think their home security and start to look at ways of beefing up their home security. There are a lot of ideas and security systems out there, some basic and cheap (but effective) while others are much more elaborate and more costly.
It’s also important to remember that home security isn’t just about protecting property, it is also about protecting life and wellbeing. Waking up and discovering that you have been robbed during the night can be a very traumatic experience. Knowing that someone was in your home while you were sleeping, or even during the day when you were out, can result in the “creep factor.” A strong sense of personal violation can envelope you. Especially now, as many people are now returning to the office as the furlough scheme ends, people’s properties are more vulnerable to being unoccupied for long periods of time.
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It’s always best to start with the basics. Double check that you have done the following before leaving the house:
- Make sure the doors and windows are secured. This includes windows on the upper floors which will not present a major obstacle.
- Turn on the burglar alarm if you have one.
- Consider leaving a light on to give the impression that you are at home. You can also get plugin lights that flicker to mimic a TV being on.
- Have good net curtains so people can’t see in through the windows.
- If you are away for more than a day or two, ask someone to come over and move the amil from the front door.
- Don’t leave anything lying around the property that can potentially be used by burglars, like ladders or other tools.
In addition to the basics, if you haven’t already done so, invest in a good security system that will also act as a strong deterrent to criminals. Alarm boxes attached to the wall, as well as external CCTV cameras, will provide a good visual deterrent. It’s all well and good having a sounding alarm trigger when someone has broken in, but it’s more effective in preventing it in the first place with various deterrents.
Robust doors and windows
70% of home break-ins are through either the front or back door. It is therefore strongly advisable to make sure that your doors are manufactured to a high degree of security, as evidenced in new build developments such as Southside Residencies, to the Secured by Design (“SBD”) specification. As an independent organization that has been backed by the police, it was set up in response to the Association of Chief Police Officers to grade the quality of door products.
A door that carries the SBD accreditation means that it has been manufactured and rested to a very high standard and can withstand an attempt at forced entry. In addition to this, making sure other products are accredited by the British Board of Agreement indicates a high quality of build.
It’s also worth researching and getting advice on the best materials used in construction for good defensive and windows and doors. Timber core composite doors, for example, offer sturdy construction with high impact resistance but are also very aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.
There are a lot of security systems on the market these days, so it’s important to make sure you get the right system for you. You can get advice and self-install the system or, if your budget allows, you can have it professionally installed and externally monitored. If it’s just an alarm system, the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) will call you when the alarm is sounding off. If they cannot reach you, they will call the other keyholder details that they have on the system for your address. And depending on the package that you buy, they could also send one of their mobile security officers to your location to give an external visual inspection, or even enter the house if they are one of your designated key holders.
CCTV cameras can also be integrated into your security systems, and with modern technology, you are able to remotely dial in via the internet and keep an eye on your property from your smart phone or tablet via an app.
Never overlook the usefulness of neighbours and neighbourhood watch schemes. Looking out for each other, especially when away for expected periods of time, offers a very effective means of home security.
At home look
Criminals don’t want to be caught, so keep your home looking as if someone is there all the time, even if you are away on vacation or working away from home.
Some useful tips include having someone come round and remove mail from the door and get them to cut the grass. Fix timers to lamps so they come on and off at pre-timed intervals; these can be purchased for around £10. Outside security lights with motion detectors are also a very cheap but effective means of deterrence.