How to secure your home from the inside

How to secure your home from the inside

From loved ones to irreplaceable objects, the most precious things to us are often found in our homes. Yet we sometimes don’t do enough to protect them.

To help you keep what means most to you safe, we spoke to Lucie Banham – Director of leading security company Banham Group – for some top home security tips.

Many seem obvious, but the stats may alarm you; so take note.

Doors and windows

With three quarter of burglars attempting to gain entry through doors (76%), and a quarter (23%) trying their luck with windows1, securing these can go a long way in terms of putting off opportunist thieves.

Lock your doors

Let’s start with the obvious. You’d be surprised by the number of people who are caught out by something as simple as an unlocked door; as a matter of fact, this is exactly how a quarter (26%) of burglars manage to gain access.

Invest in sturdy doors and locks

Over half of burglars (54%) enter a home through the front door and one in three (31%) force a lock. “Cheap, wooden panelled doors can unfortunately be easy to kick down and break into,” says Lucie. The majority of burglars are opportunists, and if they spot that your doors or locks are weak, they won’t think twice about making the most of it.

Lucie recommends replacing “flimsy doors and frames with strong, quality wooden doors.” She emphasises that “by having a reinforced, high security door fitted with good locks you can have peace of mind that your home is more secure and less likely to be targeted.”

If you rent, remember to check with your landlord before you make any alterations, or maybe even ask if they’re willing to cover the costs; in the long run, these upgrades may benefit you both.

Secure your windows

Lucie suggests “fitting sash stops so you can secure your windows at various ajar positions; this will stop intruders from being able to easily lift your windows and gain entry.” Although it may be tempting during the warmer months, Lucie advises that you “never leave windows open while unsupervised, especially on any street frontage where an opportunist may just take the chance to enter and quickly take portable valuable like phones, tablets and laptops.”

Change locks when you move

Getting the keys to your new home is an exciting time, but you never know how many other people also have copies. Around one in ten (11%) burglars who enter a property have the key, so “it’s particularly important to ensure you change your locks immediately once you’ve moved in.”

Lucie also highly advises “a key registration system, as it prevents your keys from being duplicated without your authorisation.”

Install a peephole

Peepholes are a very simple yet effective security addition to your front door; if your door doesn’t have one already, it may be worth installing a peephole that gives you a wide angle view, so that you can see who’s outside without them being able to hide.

Secure your cat or dog flap and letterbox

Cat or dog flaps and letterboxes are an easy way for thieves to steal keys that have been left in or near doors with long, hook ended poles; this is commonly referred to as ‘fishing’.

Lucie tells us that “there are now plenty of effective but clever options for cat or dog flaps. I have two cats myself and their cat flap only operates for them, connecting to their microchips.” Lucie also indicates that you should “always install a letterbox protector internally” in order to protect yourself from ‘letterbox fishing’.

Security systems

According to study from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte2, burglars are far less likely to target homes that have alarm systems installed.

From bells-only alarms that make noise but don’t contact anyone to alarms that are monitored by a security company, there are a variety of products you can choose from; the best one for you will depend on where you live, the level of protection you’re after and your budget. If you’re a renter, and aren’t able to install a system that needs wiring, there are a variety of wireless systems that you can consider instead – they’re simple enough to install, and you can take them with you when you move.

If it falls within your budget, Lucie recommends “installing an alarm system with 24 hours a day monitoring through an Alarm Receiving Centre as this will ensure a response from your keyholders and/or the Police upon a confirmed activation.”

Timer lights

Light switch timers are an effective way of saving energy, but can also be equally valuable to your home security. By setting a timer switch to turn your lights on and off at regular intervals, you can give off the impression that someone’s home even when you’re not.

Motion detectors

Motion sensor lighting, which uses infrared technology to detect movement and consequently illuminates the area, is another relatively cheap yet helpful addition. Burglars want to evade detection at all costs, so shining a bright light in their face will not only make them easier to spot, but could also startle them and act as deterrent.

Motion detectors vary from basic models that plug into your wall sockets to more high-tech versions that connect to and work alongside your home security system. There are a number to choose from depending on your needs and budget.

Beware of the dog

Dogs are man’s best friend and, when it comes to security, this holds particularly true. Burglars hate dogs – mainly due to the fact that they draw attention to them. In the event of a burglary, the bark being worse than the bite is certainly a good thing, as it could alert you or your neighbours to the presence of an intruder. Even if you don’t have a dog, putting up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign could add to your home security arsenal.

Good habits

Upgrading your home security won’t make your home immune to thieves, but it will certainly decrease your chances of being burgled. A few good habits can, however, also go a long way:

  • Get to know your neighbours – it’s always good to have someone keep a watchful eye on your home, especially when you’re not in. This works both ways of course.
  • Don’t hide you spare keys outside, burglars are familiar with all the common spots where you might leave your spare keys! Ask a trusted neighbour to look after these instead.
  • Update your privacy settings on your social media profiles so tech-savvy, opportunist thieves cannot find out when you’ll be on holiday or away for the weekend.
  • Remove flyers and post from your doorstep before they pile up, or have a neighbour remove these while you’re away – this is a tell-tale sign of an unoccupied home.

Your home security is now up to scratch! However, if the worst were to happen, it’s always worth ensuring that you have home insurance for that extra peace of mind.

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Additional Sources

[1]www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/natureofcrimeburglary
[2]www.alarm.org/HomeSafety/BurglarsSpillAboutSecuritySystems.aspx

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