For many homeowners, the home brings a great sense of pride and joy as well as a reflection of hard work and style. You may invest many hours and hard-earned money on remodelling or landscaping projects, but are you confident in your home’s security?
According to National Crime Report Statistics, there’s an average of 7 out of 1000 homes burgled each year, but the incident rates rise depending on where you live in the UK. Whether you live in Southwest England or in the heart of Manchester, here are some tips on how to secure your home.
Install Secure Doors
When we talk about ways to make your home more secure, we don’t want to strike fear into every homeowner but rather make you more aware and in control of your security.
One of the first things to consider when improving your home’s security is to install stronger doors. Skilled burglars can enter your home through your front door in less than five minutes, and some are so good that you might not notice the damage until you’ve noticed valuables missing.
Doors are often the unofficial “welcome mat” to a home, and it’s a focal point of many exterior decorations. Installing a more secure door doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to a beautiful and colourful door.
It’s essential that you have a five mortice deadlock, install your letterbox far from the lock, and avoid glazed panels that are easy to break.
For your own safety, consider fitting your doors with a spyglass and a chain or limiter. If your door comes with hardware, it’s a good idea to replace the hinge screws with longer ones to make it more challenging to break down.
Sliding patio doors or French-style doors are a beautiful addition to any home and provide a lovely view of your gardens, but don’t forget to secure these doors as well. Extra locks, grilles, and laminate panels in place of glass are more likely to deter burglars from attempting a quick break-in.
Stashing a spare key outside of your home is convenient but is an invitation to anyone who wants to help themselves to your valuables. Even if you think your hiding spot is clever, thieves will likely outsmart you.
Keep Your Windows Locked
There’s nothing more pleasant than letting in some fresh air during the early days of spring, but an open window will attract unwelcome guests. Not only should you always remember to close your windows when you leave home but to make sure they are locked securely.
If you must leave your windows open while you’re away, you can try products like LockLatch, but we recommend locking your windows. Many windows come with locks that do an adequate job of sealing the window, but not strong enough to resist force. Simply changing out window locks can make a significant difference in your security.
Window bars are a popular choice among homeowners while some prefer to keep their view unobstructed and put secure window film over their windows instead.
For years, the Metropolitan Police have encouraged residents to do some “unfriendly” landscaping around their home, particularly under windows as a way to deter thieves. Prickly bushes like Firethorn provide colourful landscaping and a natural way to keep your home more secure.
Use Landscape Lighting For Added Security
Landscape lights have many purposes in your front or back yard. Not only do they showcase your landscaping, but they also provide much-needed light when walking to your door at night. Whether you choose lights with motion sensors or lights that are more ornamental, landscaping lights are more likely to keep thieves away.
If you plan on being away for a few days, don’t forget to put your outdoor lights on a timer. It’s best to stagger the time (for indoor and outdoor lights) to make it less obvious that no one is home.
Don’t Overlook Your Garage Or Garden Shed
Garages, garden sheds, and other outbuildings are often overlooked when people think of ways to keep their homes more secure, especially since most types of buildings are unattached from the house. Whether you store a few garden tools or bicycles and boating equipment, it’s essential to keep all of your property secure.
Some of the same ideas on how to secure your home apply to your garage and outbuildings. Consider placing bars over windows and investing in secure locks.
Covering windows will also keep potential burglars from getting a closer look at what’s inside. Avoid keeping your garage door open for long periods to prevent putting everything you own on display.
If you don’t use your buildings regularly, don’t forget to check all doors, windows, padlocks regularly, and other existing security features to ensure that they are in good condition. Locking up larger items inside a shed or garage will make it less enticing for a burglar to walk away with them.
Check Out Your Security System Options
Newer homes often come equipped with whole-house security systems, but if you live in an older home that doesn’t have a security system, you still have a few options. You can choose to go the more traditional route and have a security system installed in your home or smart home devices like keyless doorknobs or the Ring alarm.
Many smart home devices are more affordable than a whole-house system and are easy enough to install on your own. Before you decide which type of security system is best for your home, take some time to do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and get quotes from professional installers in the area.
Even if you rent a flat, some smart home devices may be suitable for your space. Make sure to talk to your landlord before installing any hardware.
Monitor Activity With Security Cameras
If you suspect that someone is meddling with things on your property, a security camera can help you monitor activity. Maybe you notice that someone left the gate open. Was it a kid from down the street or a stranger trying to scope out your property?
Some security systems come with cameras, or you can purchase and install security cameras separately. Installing security cameras outside of your home may be enough to deter some thieves, but others may assume that the cameras are decoys, or they know how to disconnect them.
Today’s security cameras are discreet, record clear footage, night vision capabilities, and are easy to control from your smartphone.
Secure Your Network When You Use Smart Home Gadgets
If you want to know how to secure your home, home automation is an excellent option for people who want more control in securing their home and instant, real-time updates. Home automation allows you to control your lights when you’re not home and even “answer” the door when you’re at work.
Automating your home with smart gadgets keeps you “in the know” even when you’re miles away. One of the biggest downsides of home automation is that there’s always a risk that your Wi-Fi is vulnerable.
Some tips for securing your network include:
● Have a separate network for your smart home security gadgets
● Hide your network name or choose one that doesn’t identify your home
● Consider a VPN
● Ask a professional if you’re not tech-savvy
Store Your Valuables In A Safe
Despite all your best efforts to keep your home secure, there’s always the slight chance that a break-in could still occur. While outfitting your home with top-of-the-line security gadgets will keep your home more secure, it’s never a bad idea to store your valuables in a safe.
Safes have been used for centuries and are still popular today. They are built to last, difficult to tamper with, and many can withstand water or fire. Portable safes are an excellent option for people who rent flats or if you need to take valuables with you.
Putting a safe in your garage or outbuilding is another option if you have valuables like tools that you cannot store anywhere else. If you choose not to anchor a safe in your home, make sure it’s too heavy for burglars to carry.
Consider safes that have dual locks and put your safe in a place where it’s less likely to be seen.
Get To Know Your Neighbours
Your neighbor may be your biggest ally or your largest foe but getting to know your neighbours is an essential step in keeping your home more secure. Even if your home equipped with home automation gadgets, they can’t replace someone looking out for you.
A busy schedule often makes it difficult to pop over to a neighbor’s and introduce yourself. It may take a while for your neighbours to warm up to you (or you up to them) but building a friendly relationship with at least one neighbour can make you feel more secure in your home or when you go on holiday.
A good neighbour not only will help you find your lost cat and water plants while you’re away but will pay attention to anything that looks suspicious and make sure that you’re okay.
Neighborhood watch groups are becoming increasingly more popular in neighborhoods throughout the UK. Joining a watch group is not only a great opportunity to create a stronger bond with your neighbors but also to make your neighborhood safe and help reduce crime.
Check to see if a neighbourhood watch group is available in your area or learn more about how to start a group.
Use Social Media Wisely
You take pictures of your new flower garden in the front yard or of the kids in front of your house on the first day of school and then post them on your social media pages. You might post a status asking around for a house sitter or sharing your travel plans.
All of the information you share on social media is well-intentioned and may seem harmless, but if it gets in the wrong hands, you could increase your risk of having your home burgled.
Avoid taking pictures that display identifying characteristics of your home, such as your house number or a street marker. Share travel details only with friends and family that you can trust. Be mindful of advertising where you live or whether or not you’re at home.
If you place an online ad for selling or giving away items, avoid including information that identifies where you live. If you are selling something, try to meet with potential buyers somewhere other than your home.
Consider Building A Fence
Depending on where you live and the size of your yard, building a fence might not be an option for you, but it can add a nice security feature around your home.
Most fences will not keep eager invaders from entering your yard, but a fence may make a burglar think twice and slow them down if they do enter your property. Before you build a fence or have one installed, make sure you are following in rules or guidelines in your neighborhood.
Many people think that higher fences are better are more effective. While a high fence makes it more difficult to climb, it creates a hiding spot for burglars. There are plenty of fencing options that will improve the appearance of your yard while still adding security.
Keep Your Garden Tidy
Keeping your yard tidy may feel like you’re constantly keeping up appearances, but there are some advantages to keeping your yard looking neat.
Get in the habit of decluttering your yard. Have your kids put away their toys each night and avoid leaving ladders or other furniture outdoors, as a burglar could use these to break a window or to reach the second level of your home more easily.
Prune Bushes And Trees
If you love landscaping, you probably have many trees, shrubs, and bushes planted in your yard. If it’s been a while since you’ve done some pruning, now’s the perfect time to get a little yard work done.
Overgrown shrubs are often popular hiding spots for people who are staking out your home. Trees that are close to the house should be short enough to deter climbing. As we mentioned earlier, planting thorny bushes around your home will deter window peepers and burglars.
Get A Dog
While this home security recommendation may not be the best for every homeowner, it is an effective way to deter burglars. Before you get a security dog for your home, there are many things to consider.
Is your home large enough to accommodate a dog? Do you have time to train and care for a dog? Is the breed you choose family-friendly? Are you allowed to have dogs where you live?
Even if you adopt a breed that is known for its guarding abilities, there’s no guarantee that your dog will keep your home from being burgled.
The thought of someone casing your home or successfully breaking and entering is unsettling and may keep you up at night with worry.
There’s no one thing you can do to prevent a burglary, but there are several things you can do to keep your home more secure and greatly reduce the chances of being burgled.
Whether you plant prickly shrubs and prune your trees or install a whole-house security system, you have many options that are designed to fit your budget. Learning how to secure your home means that you can rest better at night and feel more in control of your safety.