Security is about prevention, and if that isn’t always possible, then striving for the minimization of loss or damage. The concept is to maximize the deterrence to a would-be thief, by making it as difficult as possible to enter your home.
And there are some fundamental things that each of us can do, to safeguard our property. Some of the things should be part of our fundamental approach to security, and they don’t have to cost much money.
Here are a few ideas to help keep your property safer –
- Windows and doors – these are the usual entry methods for thieves. So many people either don’t check that these ‘entrances’ are locked, or the locks are inadequate. Ensure that quality locks are fitted, and deadlocks are used. And door hinges are good quality and not exposed when the door is shut.
- Hiding places. Can you make the area surrounding your house more exposed so that potential thieves cannot hide while they are trying to gain entry? Safeguard your house by reducing the amount of shrubs or lattices around your house
- Lights. Proper lighting with movement sensors are great for welcoming friends and for keeping strangers away
- Other ways to enter. Make sure there are no ladders or boxes that thieves could use to climb up to second-story windows or onto the roof and through a skylight.
- Garages and sheds. In many houses there are lots of items of value stored in garages or sheds, but either no locks or very poor locks in use. Upgrade these locks to discourage unwanted people. And make sure that tools are not left lying around but properly stored in the garage or shed.
- Keys. Have you ever left a key under a mat or ‘hidden’ in a potplant? Then promise yourself that you will not do that again. If you have lost a key (or the children have), then change the locks! And for ease of use (and a smaller bunch of keys) have the main door keys synchronized.
- Valuables. If someone does break into the house, they will aim for the most expensive, smallest and easiest to sell items. Money has each of those three features, and if the money can be seen through, say, a bedroom window, then that is an added incentive for a would-be thief to try harder to break-in. The best place for jewelry (when not being worn), is in a safe in your home, or with really expensive or irreplaceable items, in a safety-deposit box. Other small items in the house, such as an IPOD or DVD should be branded by using a inexpensive engraving device to engrave your driver’s license number. This obviously will reduce the resale value of these items, and make it easy for the police or other trusted people to return your items if found. Also, make sure that you place stickers on the windows, to advise any potential thieves that valuables are branded.
- Insurance – Any valuable items should also be listed on a spreadsheet and (if you have the time and wherewithal) attach photos. This could be of help when claiming on your insurance policy. And, have you checked your insurance policy recently? – Some insurance companies provide discounts if deadlocks are fitted on doors and windows, and some also provide discounts if a monitored alarm is installed.
- Alarms -Consider an alarm system, with motion and entry detectors, an alarm and light, and perhaps a back-to-base alarm system. And then place stickers on the window/s and door/s to discourage those thieves!
- Going away?– There is a list of things that you should do to help protect your house when you go on holidays.
- Cancel newspaper deliveries
- Advise your trusted neighbours that you will be away, so that they know there should be no noise coming from your house
- Ask someone to collect the mail for you
- Set lights to come on at various hours of the evening to have it appear that someone is home
- Deadlock doors and windows including garage & sheds
- Activate your telephone message recorder or divert it to another number
- Advise your security provider of your absence and provide contacts for neighbours or friends
Do-it-yourself Security audit – (Click here to download pdf)
|Are doors and windows solid and sturdy?||YES||NO|
|Do door and windows all have deadlocks||YES||NO|
|Are security screens fitted to doors||YES||NO|
|Do you have adequate lighting around the perimeter of the house||YES||NO|
|Do you have sensor-controlled outside lights||YES||NO|
|Can potential offenders be seen in the yard||YES||NO|
|Have you coded all items of value with your license number||YES||NO|
|Have you put stickers on windows advising that items are coded||YES||NO|
|Is jewelry and other valuables kept in a safe||YES||NO|
|Are the garage and shed kept locked||YES||NO|
|Are ladders and tools kept secure||YES||NO|
|Do you leave lights on when you go out||YES||NO|
|Have you itemized and photographed valuables||YES||NO|
|Is your insurance cover adequate||YES||NO|
|Do you have an alarm system||YES||NO|
|Does the alarm have a back-to-base feature||YES||NO|
|Do you have security stickers clearly shown||YES||NO|