Falling victim to a burglary can be expensive, but smart security planning doesn’t have to be. With some simple measures and careful consideration, it is possible to enhance your home security and defeat the threat of burglary on a budget.
Burglary is not a complex crime, but it is one of the most common and the threat should not be underestimated. Having your home broken into can have a huge impact on both your family’s sense of security and on your family budget, so taking steps to limit the opportunities for burglars to strike should be given high priority. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be expensive and there are numerous security enhancements which won’t break the bank.
Upgrade and Uplift
When looking at your home security strategy, first consider your existing infrastructure and where it could be reinforced. It sounds obvious, but your home is mostly made up of walls which channel foot traffic to only a few points of entry. If we consider that walls do a pretty good job of keeping people out, our first area of assessment should be the points of entry: doors.
Firstly, inspect the door and door frame and ensure that both have a good standard of repair—a weak door will sabotage a strong lock. Next, in addition to the lock you already have, consider buying and fitting door security bolts; these are simple, inexpensive mechanisms which strengthen the integrity of the door and make it more resistant to forced entry. To be most effective, fit one at the top and one at the bottom of each door, and remember to secure all of them at night time as part of your family security regime.
With the points of entry dealt with, let’s now consider potential points of entry: windows and skylights. As with the assessment of your doors, start by making a thorough inspection of your windows and skylights and their frames. Repair any weaknesses identified, particularly broken handles or locking mechanisms, and ensure that they also appear fit for purpose.
Ideally, windows should be secured by at least one key operated lock. If this is not the case in your home, consider upgrading to key-operated locking handles; these are widely available online and relatively inexpensive to buy and install. In addition, many insurance policies now stipulate that windows must be fitted with a locking device, so it’s also a good time to check your policy’s small print.
With the windows, frames, and locks in good order, let’s now consider a final fortifying upgrade. Window security film is a clear film which can be easily cut and fitted at home. Once in place, the security film strengthens the integrity of the window and helps to protect the glass against a direct attack. In addition, as this material effectively makes the window shatterproof, much like a car windshield, it also helps to protect younger family members should a stray baseball strike.
At a fraction of the cost of an operational security system, security signs offer many of the same deterrent benefits and are readily available online. Effective security signs should advertise the presence of closed-circuit television (CCTV), intruder alarms, private security patrols or full spectrum home security systems, but the most effective sign of all might simply say: “Guards Dogs – Enter at Own Risk”.
A wide variety of signage is available, including: stickers, laminated sheets, and metal plaques, but whichever you choose ensure that they are placed in prominent positions around your property.
Install Light Timers
Despite what we see in movies, the last thing that most burglars want is to break into an occupied property. For a burglar, people equal potential problems, and a frantic family can easily repel or even capture and hold a single intruder. In order to capitalize on this deterrent effect, you need simply introduce doubt into the mind of anybody assessing your home as empty.
The most effective way to do this when your property is empty is via the installation of timers which activate internal lights. Many systems come complete with programable modes which either activate the lights at set times or randomly. Alternatively, and if you are only leaving your home for a few hours, consider leaving a light or TV on—remember, you only need to introduce a little doubt.
Conceal Any External Wiring
Any cables or wiring sited in an external position on your property should be secured or concealed from view. The reason for this security measure is to prevent burglars attempting to cut through them and disable your security system. Even if they are unsuccessful and your home remains secure, repairing the damage caused can be time consuming and expensive.
Out of sight is out of mind when it comes to obvious weak spots such as this, so consider creating a wooden or plastic cover plate or repurposing a length of guttering. It is also worth taking the time to paint your creation so that it resembles a structural part of your property, or at least blends with its immediate surroundings. Finally, always be sure to check that any alternations you make to your property don’t create additional hazards, such as a fire risk.
It is good practice to keep your valuables stored securely and separately within your home. The reasons for this are fairly obvious: you don’t want to make the burglar’s life easier by keeping these things together. But, also give some thought to where things are kept on a daily basis; car keys near the kitchen window can present a tempting opportunity to smash the glass and make a quick getaway, and a tablet near the front door could tempt a caller to force their way in. With a little thought, it is possible to remove these temptations and enhance your overall security.
Social media has become an integral part of life for many people, but it has also become an intelligence gold mine for criminals. A long-planned vacation, a visit to distant friends or an impressive upcoming work trip are all things that people like to talk about, but they can also green-light your home to criminals. Even if you have tight security and privacy settings and trust your friends and neighbors implicitly, once the information is out there you have no control over its onward dissemination. Your buddy’s overheard conversation at the bar or gossip on other people’s social media pages all represent a potential threat to your property.
To counter this, adopt some simple security measures. Firstly, don’t advertise your movements on social media in advance. You can always describe how great the trip was afterwards. Secondly, if you are speaking to associates rather than close friends or family and the topic comes up, throw in some decoys about possibly returning early or how relatives will be house-sitting, even if you have no such plans. Thirdly, ask those who do know that you’re out of town to be discreet—they would expect the same of you.
In summary, security doesn’t have to be expensive and simple precautions are often the most effective. Protect your privacy, take time to consider your overall strategy and work with what you have available. If you follow these steps you should not only enhance your home security, but also see change from your $100 investment.