Security Tips for Protecting Your Home From Burglars
Tactics for Improving Your Home Security
Unless you turn your home into a fortress, it is virtually impossible to keep burglars out if they are intent on breaking in. All it takes is a rock or hammer to break glass and gain entry. Even if there are bars on the windows, these can be cut with a mini battery powered angle grinder! You can however make it more difficult for opportunistic burglars, to the extent that they can't be bothered breaking in and move on elsewhere.
Fit Secure Locks
- Install Mortice Locks When locked, the bolt on this type of lock projects into the door jamb (vertical part of the frame). They require a key for opening so doors can't be opened by breaking a panel on a door and turning a knob. Some insurance policies require that you install mortice locks
- Security for Windows is Important If windows can't be locked, consider installing locks on them. There are different types available for casement or sash type windows
Light Everything Up
- Fit bulbs in lamps indoors which operate on a time-switch or turn on randomly
- Fit PIR operated outdoor lighting which will switch on when someone walks by
Install an Alarm System
Install an alarm if possible. You could also fix fake boxes to walls. Try to get ones which are powered by a solar panel and have some form of flashing light to give the appearance that they are working. Both wired and wireless security systems are available. A security system won't keep burglars out but may help as a deterrent. If the alarm is installed and maintained to an approved standard, you may qualify for a discount on your home insurance
Lock Everything Up
Don't leave ladders, garden tools, metal bars etc. lying about which could be used by burglars to gain access to the house
Money, Keys and Valuables
- Don't leave valuables where they can be viewed through a window
- Don't leave large sums of money in the house
- Keep keys safe and don't leave them on furniture near a mail box where they can be fished out through the opening
Limit Access to Your Property
- Downpipes can be greased or painted with special slippery paint to prevent burglars climbing up them
- Gates which can be locked stop opportunist burglars "casing the joint". I have a garden gate which is particularly squeaky and probably annoys the mailman every day. I have decided not to oil it because it warns me when someone is coming into the yard!
Use Hedges, Thorny Shrubs and Climbing Roses as Barriers
While walls, fences or chain link fencing can be an effective barrier if tall enough, they can be breached if not topped with barbed wire, spikes, glass or other deterrents. Chain link fence can be cut with snips or a pocket bolt cutter and a burglar can climb a low wall if he is given a "leg up" by his accomplice. Hedges on the other hand can be much more effective. Various shrubs and trees are adorned with vicious thorns and it would be too tedious for a burglar to cut their way through such a barrier. Examples include holly, whitethorn (hawthorn), flowering quince (japonica), gorse and berberis (some varieties of which have particularly nasty thorns). The disadvantage of prickly hedges is that cutting them is a nasty business and the thorns have no problem piercing heavy gloves. You can also grow thorny climbing roses or briars and train them across walls and gates.
Deceive the Burglars
- Draw curtains and pull blinds down when you are leaving the house and turn on lights and a radio to make it seem as if there is somebody at home
- A dog is a good deterrent or you could get an electronic simulator which sounds like a dog barking when someone approaches
- While shopping today, I discovered a device which simulates the patterns of light produced by a TV when viewed through curtains. This small gadget known as FakeTV is an anti-burglary-device which has multiple high intensity output LEDs of various colors. These are switched on and off randomly creating the flickering effect of a TV. This could be left on in your house when you are not at home and costs only a small fraction of what it takes to run a TV. The product is available from Amazon
- A car left in a the yard might fool the burglars into thinking there is someone in the home
Surveillance and Neighborhood Watch
- If you have friendly neighbors ask them to check up on your home while it is vacant
- CCTV cameras can be a good idea to record the movements of people outside doors and windows. If they are visible, they could act as a deterrent, but might indicate that you are overly concerned with security and have valuables worth stealing! Small hidden cameras are an option in addition to digital recording systems. Make sure that cameras produce good quality images and are located close enough to windows and doors so that "mug shots" of potential burglars can be recorded. Many "crimestoppers" type TV programs often show CCTV footage, the quality of which is so bad that it is difficult to make out peoples faces
- Keep an eye out for cars stopping momentarily outside your home.
Notify the Police and Your Mail Service
If you are leaving the house unoccupied for a long period, get your mail service to hold onto your mail. If it accumulates in a pile in the hallway, this is a sure sign no one is home. Paper deliveries should be suspended also. Notify the police that your house will be vacant.
Don't Be Distracted!
Thieves often work in pairs. Don't open one external door if another one is unlocked. While you are distracted, someone can slip in the back door or window.
Social Networks - Facebook
Don't advertise your movements on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. Burglars can "tune" into this "free broadcast" and know when your home is vacant.
© 2011 Eugene Brennan