Top tips to improve your home security

Practical ways to protect your home and possessions.

Burglaries do not occur by chance

Research (and sometimes personal experience) tells us that the majority of burglaries are committed by the ‘amateur’ burglar who looks for an easy opportunity. Good quality locks on doors and windows make it harder for burglars to enter your home and prevent thieves from leaving other than by the way they entered. This minimises items that can be stolen as it is very difficult to carry bulky items. Even a professional may move on rather than spend too much time or make too much noise trying to break into a home protected by quality security products.

The good news is that there are plenty of simple, low-cost steps you can take to greatly reduce your chance of getting burgled. Remember, it’s all about making your home a harder target to break into than other people’s. Most burglars enter via a garage door, back door, kitchen or bedroom window. Burglar-proof these and you’ll significantly improve your chances of never suffering from a break-in.

1. Door locks
Have key-operated two-cylinder deadlocks fitted to all external hinged doors. A quality knob-inlock set will have a ‘dead latch’ mechanism to stop burglars using a credit card to open it.
While looking at external doors, you may also want to check that they are solid and robust. If not, perhaps you should replace them, or add a security screen. You may also want to consider fitting a wide angle peephole on your front door.

2. Sliding doors
A favourite point of entry for burglars! Fit key-operated locks or patio bolts to all external sliding doors, such as patio/veranda doors.
Sliding doors can also be made more secure by inserting a wood or metal dowel into the track to limit movement.

3. Windows
An open window, visible from the street, may be the only reason that your home is chosen by a burglar. Ground floor windows are more susceptible for obvious reasons.
Make sure you have a security grill, security screen or burglar bars applied to all accessible windows, or alternatively have key-operated single cylinder window locks fitted.

4. Light timers
Install light timers to switch on automatically if you aren’t home when it gets dark, or have gone away for a few days. The timers should mimic when you would usually switch lights on or off. They are not expensive and we can supply these for you.

5. Exterior lighting
Exterior lighting is also a good deterrent, provided it is switched on and off as though someone is at home. Make sure the approach to your house, especially any entryway, is brightly lit, controlled by a light timer if necessary – this also makes it safer and more comfortable if you come home after dark.

6. Alarm systems
Burglar alarms definitely increase the potential and fear of being caught by the police.
There are a wide variety of alarms available – you need to make sure that the one you choose has visible signage and is properly programmed, installed and maintained.
Some alarms are routed to a police station or alarm control centre. If yours relies on neighbourhood response, make sure your neighbours are able and willing to respond.

7. Home safes
Burglars know all the hidden spots to look for keys, valuables and important documents. The price of a good home safe is falling, so setting one up could be a good investment. Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving, and should not be kept in the master bedroom or cupboard. Use a safe regularly, so it becomes routine and always keep the code secret.