Guard your property with these essential home security tips.
Queensland Police data indicates there were around 37,000 reported cases of unlawful entry alone, leading up to the end of 2018.
These figures clearly show there’s no shortage of criminals wanting to gain access to your property. There are however, a number of steps you can take that will make it more difficult for them, and reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim of crime.
The first step in protecting your home is to eliminate opportunity. Most burglaries occur during daylight hours, when people are either at work, taking the kids to school, shopping, at the gym or even taking the dog for a walk.
It’s important to take precautions day or night, and whenever you leave the home to ensure it remains secure.
Guard your home from the outside
Look around for places where thieves could gain access
Windows that can be pried open are an easy target for thieves. Balcony doors and windows should be locked each time you leave the house. Consider installing window locks or security screens in vulnerable areas.
Don’t leave items of value laying around the yard
Keep items such as bicycles, tools and gardening equipment out of view and locked away in the garage or shed. A ladder left outside may allow thieves to gain access to an upper level balcony or rooftop.
Don’t add to the temptation
Try to keep items inside the home like jewellery, money, wallets, handbags and car keys, out of view from the outside. Keep curtains or blinds closed where possible to add privacy. Bushes and trees that provide hiding places should be removed or kept trimmed to minimise cover.
Maintain adequate lighting
Just as insects are attracted to light, thieves are attracted to areas where they can operate under the cover of darkness. Report faulty street lighting to your local council. A poorly lit street might be just enough to gain the attention of passing crims. Put intruders under the spotlight with motion activated lighting positioned in entrances, walkways and dark areas around your home. The latest LED lighting technology is cheap to run, easy to install and available from most hardware stores.
Get to know your neighbours
Looking out for each other is one of the best steps towards reducing criminal activity in your neighbourhood. Neighbours can often spot a stranger and raise the alert to suspicious activity. Its helpful to keep each other informed about extended periods of absence, as well as who you expect to be visiting your home whilst you are away. Neighbours can also collect mail and clear out excess junk from the mailbox.
Secure your car
If you must park on the street, be sure to remove all items such as phones, wallets, dashcams, anything of value including items of clothing. Try to park in a well lit area and ensure all windows are closed and doors locked. Don’t leave anything in plain view and never store spare keys in the glove box, centre console or behind the sun visor. Remotes control units that are used to open garage doors or disable security systems should never be left in the car, for obvious reasons.
Guard your home from the inside
Keep windows and doors locked at all times
Burglars will often enter through an unlocked door or window whilst you are at home. Keep them closed and securely locked at all times. Windows can be secured by installing window locks, security screens or grills. Exterior doors should have deadbolt locks installed. Sliding doors should have keyed locks and must be securely mounted in the tracks. You can insert metal or wooden rods into sliding door tracks to prevent opening. Garage doors are often easily accessible and should not be relied upon for home security. Never leave your home without locking the front door.
Secure valuables in a safe
If your safe is small or not securely mounted, it will need to be bolted to the floor to stop thieves from simply walking away with it. Only reveal the combination or pass code to someone you trust and never leave a written copy at home.
Don’t label your keys or hide spare keys outside
If your keys are labelled and get lost or stolen, well, you have a real problem. Thieves will most likely look for spare keys in the same places you are most likely to hide them. Leave spare keys with someone you trust, perhaps a neighbour, or install a combination lockbox in a discreet area on your property.
Consider installing a home security system
A home security alarm system with outdoor motion detectors and an external siren will alert you, or your neighbours, to the presence of intruders before they gain access to your home. Security cameras or CCTV surveillance systems record events which will later be available to help police identify and apprehend offenders.
Guard your home when your away
If you are heading away for a holiday or leaving for an extended period of time, it’s always comforting to know that your home is safe from criminals, at least as much as it can be, whilst your away.
Lock up before you leave
Leave enough time to ensure everything is securely locked and make it the last thing you do before you leave. Rushing to catch a flight or looking for your sunglasses while the taxi is waiting can create stress and cause you to forget important security measures. Double check windows and doors have been secured. Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener until you return. Leave a spare key with someone you trust and a contact number for emergencies.
Make sure you are electronically secure
Log out of all accounts on all computers, tablets and mobile phones that will remain in the home whilst you are away. These could provide access to personal information, email and bank accounts and result in identity theft. Make sure these items are secured with strong passwords and never write passwords down. Similarly, keep personal documents such as bank statements and identification, locked away.
Try to maintain the “occupied” look
Ask a neighbour or family member to collect your mail and keep the mailbox clear of junk. If you must put the rubbish bins out before you leave, have someone bring them in. These are a clear indication to thieves that nobody is home. Don’t close all the curtains as this can give the appearance that nobody is home. Leave a light on or set up a timer to switch lights on at night. Leave a radio on and disconnect the doorbell. Thieves often ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home. If they have to knock, they might attract the attention of neighbours. With a radio blaring, thieves will be unsure if the house is empty, or if you simply couldn’t hear them knocking over the music. Have someone maintain the gardens if you plan to be away for a long time.
Don’t advertise your trip
Part of the enjoyment of any holiday is sharing your trip with family and friends. Thanks to social media, you can upload photos and details of places you visit instantly. Try and limit your audience to people you know and trust. If you have an answering machine, make sure the message doesn’t inform callers that your are out of town.
If the worst should happen?
Whether you return home to find that you’ve been burgled, or you receive the news whilst you are away, the first step is to report the incident to police. The sooner it is reported, the greater the likelihood that the offender or offenders, will be apprehended. If you have a monitored security system installed, police may have already been notified.
Secure the property
If you are away, depending on how thieves gained access to the property, you will need to consider how to restore security. You may need to contact a glazier if a window has been smashed, or a locksmith or builder if they gained access by forcing a door. You will need to inform the person with whom you left a key, as they will be needed to gain access.
You may still be at risk
Make a list of items you believe have been taken. If theres any chance that credit cards or bank accounts could be exposed, you must immediately inform your financial institutions to ensure access to these accounts is restricted. If you have a CCTV or security camera system installed, make the footage available to police.
If you have contents insurance, it is likely that any items taken, will eventually be replaced. Thieves are aware of this too, and will often return for these a few weeks or months down the track. If they walked away with a significant amount of cash, you can be almost certain they will return.
You will need to re-assess the safety of your home, and take steps to ensure that it won’t be as easy for them the next time around. Guarded Security can install a security alarm and CCTV camera system that will greatly enhance your protection. Visit us at guardedsecurity.com.au to arrange a free onsite assessment.