How to make your house more secure
When you’re buying a property, there will be many things you’ll think about, such as where you’re going to get the money from, and where you’re going to fit all of your furniture. What you may not think about is whether the property is secure, and what steps you could take to increase its security, reduce your risk of a break in, and make your insurance policy as cost effective as possible.
Here is how to save money and keep safe, which you may want to start putting in place before you’ve put a foot over the threshold. They might even be things that you want to discuss with the seller before you’ve even made an offer, to make sure that if there are any security risks, and work is necessary to the property to keep you safe, this is taken into account in the purchase price.
1. Secure the Doors
Inspect all of your exterior doors to make sure the door frames are strong, the hinges are protected, and if your door has a mail slot that someone cannot reach through it to unlock the door.
- Install a deadbolt
- Add a strike plate – which is a metal plate affixed to a door jamb with a hole or holes for the bolt of the door.
- Or maybe even boost security with a video doorbell.
- Reinforce sliding glass doors- a high tech solution is to add a door sensor or glass break sensor this will alert you if the glass door is tampered with and should scare off thieves.
- Change the locks when you move in, even if the seller says you’ve got all of the keys.
2. Lock the windows
Doors and windows are the most common entry points for burglars and sometimes latches on windows are not always effective and very flimsy. If you want to tighten up the security of your home:
- Reinforce glass with window security film
- Install window or glass break sensors
- Add window bars
- Plant prickly bushes under first-floor windows
- Look for British Standards in terms of security performance and window performance when choosing double glazing
- Choose windows that have locks that pull the window into the frame with a key as they are normally stronger
3. Light up the landscape
Ample outdoor lighting will keep thieves at bay as they don’t often like to be in the spotlight. Ideas such as:
- Use motion-activated lights
- Save energy with solar-powered lights
- Put outdoor lights on a timer
4. Don’t forget the garage
Burglars are increasingly using garages as an entry point. And even if they cannot access your house, chances are they are able to take valuable items from your garage- such as bikes.
Make it a habit to lock all the doors to the garage- both interior and exterior – check that they have proper working locks before you buy! You should also consider keeping your garage key in the house. That way a burglar cannot grab it out of your car. If alternatively, you use a security code to open the garage, make sure you keep it a secret and never enter it in front of delivery people, neighbours, or anyone else.
Other tips for making your garage more secure:
- Upgrade to a smart garage door opener
- Cover windows to hide the goodies inside
- Secure garage doors with extra locks
5. Set up a security system
You should look into installing some form of security system, whether it’s a basic DIY system or one that comes with professional monitoring and home automation. Today there are plenty of home security options for every budget and every level of protection. You should choose a system which you are most comfortable with, evaluate the needs of your neighborhood and your house.
You are able to contact your local police department for neighbourhood crime statistics if you are wondering and it can help when you are doing a home security evaluation of your home. Further factors to keep in mind consist of the following:
- DIY installation vs professional installation
- Customer service and brand reputation
- Smart home capabilities
- Upfront and monthly costs
- Extras like smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring
6. Lock down your Wi-Fi network
Your home WIFI is a doorway to your personal and financial information. You should consider the following:
- Secure your wireless router
- Enable WPA (WIFI-protected access) or WPA2 encryption
- Rename and hide your home network
- Use a firewall
- Install antivirus and anti-malware protection
- Create strong passwords
7. Eliminate hiding places
Trees and shrubberies may give your house curb appeal, but they also give burglars a handy place to hide. Trim down trees and plants close to your home that could be used for cover. Opt for smaller flowers and bushes instead. More examples include the following:
- Always put away stool and ladders
- Lock gates, sheds, and other outdoor buildings
- Don’t tempt thieves by leaving expensive goods on display
- Add security signs and stickers
8. Add security cameras or (if you’re strapped for cash) fake ones
You can get security cameras that are part of a complete home security system, or you can use cameras that work on their own. It is recommended to use a security camera with a mobile app, so you can see footage and store it if you ever need to go to the police. Other features to consider:
- Motion detection
- Night vision
- WIFI capability
- Weatherproof casing
However, be careful when getting a security camera because the law says that your camera cannot point onto public land or any part of someone else’s property.
9. Get a safe
Ensure your valuables are protected. An in-home safe is a secure depository for everything from jewellery to vital documents like passports. You want a safe that is fire resistant, waterproof, and heavy enough that a thief cannot walk away with it. Follow these instructions to get the most protection from your safe:
- Look for safes with redundant locks (two locks in one safe)
- Select the right size safe for the valuables you want to protect
- Decide if you want a portable safe or one that is anchored.
10. Home Keys
In terms of the home keys, definitely do not leave them under the mat or a flower pot because these are the first places that thieves will look. Also, another tempting place is to leave your keys in sight of the letter box but that is not a good idea either because an intruder will be able to reach the keys with a coat hanger.
What you can do is to:
- Get a letterbox flap or
- A box around the letterbox that will keep your mail and prevent access.
11. Take out insurance
Taking out insurance may not make your home more secure but at least it will bring you peace of mind.
For example, home contents insurance covers theft of your possessions. However, ensure that you are not going to end up paying more than it would actually cost you to replace the items you are insuring.
12. General Tips
Burglars will usually find cover in high overgrown hedges so keep shrubs low and trimmed to avoid this.
Also, if you are developing your home by building for example an extension to your property or carrying out other building work on your property, this may provide burglars with easy access to less secure upstairs windows for example by climbing on the scaffolding.
In addition, develop good relations with your neighbours because they might be able to keep an eye on the property whilst you are away or create the illusion that someone is home by for example using your parking space or collecting and pushing your post through the letterbox.
Generally, the risk of theft or burglary will change depending on where you live. The best way to get a general idea where burglaries are common in your area is to check the crime statistics for your area.
Disclaimer – our articles are designed to give you guidance and information. There is no substitute for proper direct advice, particularly as everyone’s circumstances are different. If anything in this article may affect you, please contact us for advice that is specific to your circumstances.