When I was a teenager our home was targeted by thieves and we had a lot of things stolen. I still remember the look on my mother’s face when she realized that my grandmother’s engagement ring – along with all of her other jewelry was gone. Luckily as it was such a unique piece we did manage to recover that one ring, but a great deal of jewelry as well as electronics and my laptop were gone for good. That laptop had a lot of family photos as well as all my schoolwork on it. Sometimes the value of the things that we own aren’t just financial, and memories need to be protected as much as valuables.
We didn’t have a home security alarm or much knowledge about home security when I was growing up, so it was a simple matter of finding out when we weren’t home and breaking in. These days there is a lot information online which will help you protect yourself and your family by following simple guidelines and implementing home security measures.
After we were burgled I had trouble sleeping because I was scared, which I think is natural, especially for children who are worried about a stranger getting in to their home. So it can have long lasting effects as well on the whole family. Even if you’re not home, having your space violated could lead to serious mental health problems like anxiety and difficulty sleeping – definitely something we all want to avoid. Follow these tips to give you peace of mind, to protect yourself, your family, your valuables and your memories as homes with no security measures are five times more likely to be burgled.
10 Tips to Secure Your Family Home
Install a home security alarm.
The most important thing in my opinion is installing a home security alarm. Having a home security alarm installed is a massive deterrent on an intruder and will also act as an early alert system should someone attempt to break in. You’d be surprised at how inexperience a good quality alarm system can be these days. If I’d had an alarm system, the thieves who broke into my house when I was younger wouldn’t have had time to look for all our valuables – if they’d even broken in at all.
You should regularly change your alarm code and make sure the only people you absolutely trust have access to it. In a previous study by the University of North Carolina, 60% of convicted burglars said that the presence of a security alarm made them decide to target another home.
Install a Security Camera
Security cameras are now relatively inexpensive, easy to install and are powered by your home WiFi. A security camera can tell you who enters your property when you’re not at home which can be critical for detecting an intruder who is scoping your property out. This is also the best way of preventing thefts in your garden or outbuildings – as some opportunistic thieves will happily take tools, ladders, garden equipment, bikes and more without ever needing to access your house
Always lock your door and don’t keep valuables near the front door
One of the most common ways that people have recently been getting their cars stolen is that intruders will simply go house to house and look for someone who has not locked their front door. Even if you are home, they will open the door and see if there is anything in the immediate hallway they can take. The most common place for car keys, phone and wallet is near the front door – so this is an easy way in which your car and valuables can be stolen!
Always lock your front door even if you are home and store small valuables such as your wallet and car keys away from the door and windows.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 70% of entry points for burglary were through a door, whilst 30% are through windows.
Install window locks
You should install window locks on all your windows, and make sure that you close and lock all the windows when you leave the house – even in the summer when it’s tempting to leave windows open for a breeze. An open window is a common point of entry and a thief will seize opportunities like an unsecured property.
Have a security light in your garden
Your outside areas should be well lit to deter any thieves, or people who might be scoping out your property. This means a security light in both the front and rear gardens if you have them. They should be at a height that would require a ladder to remove the bulb for extra security.
Don’t hide a key outside your house
This used to be very common. Both my grandmother and my mother always hid a key in the garden in a secret place. The problem is that thieves are very savvy about the type of places people hide things. They might also be watching and see you use the key. Having a key – even well hidden – outside your property is very bad security practice. If you’re worried about getting locked out or losing your key, leave a spare copy with a trusted friend or relative.
Don’t publicize your holiday plans
Thieves will target empty homes. They will look for people who are going on holiday or will not be home for an extended amount of time. Avoid posting exact dates that you’re going on holiday on social media and always check your privacy settings. It is surprising how much data people can get on you from browsing your social media profiles
When you’re on holiday you can also install timers for lights to come on and off. This way people passing by or your neighbours won’t immediately be aware that you’re not home.
Place small valuables in a safe
Whilst it is safest to put valuables in your bank, there are some small valuables you might want to have at home. Things that are easily stolen like jewelry and cash should be secured in a home safe. Although a home safe can be broken into by a determined intruder, having one that is bolted to the ground and has a high security rating will slow them down significantly. If the alarm is going off at the same time, most intruders will not have time to find and break into a home safe.
Secure the Garden
You can make your garden as secure as possible by making sure that you’ve got a good quality fence around your perimeter and that it’s in good condition every year. Any outbuildings such as sheds should be secured with a lock – and if they contain any valuables, an extra security light and security camera will be a great investment. Finally never leave anything out and about where opportunistic thieves can take it – especially things like bicycles, lawnmowers and DIY tools. You’re probably okay to leave the kids toys loose, I won’t blame you for not wanting to tidy them up all the time!
Make sure your children are educated on Home Security
When your children are little, they won’t ever be left alone in the house – but as they get older, you’re likely to have times when your teenagers are home alone. It’s important that they understand all the elements of home security and why it’s important to follow these guidelines. Hopefully these are one of the few sets of rules you’ll be able to get a teenager to follow!
On top of these tips helping to keep your property and valuables safe, knowing that your home is well protected will give you a lot of peace of mind. As someone who has been the victim of a burglary I am quite aware of home safety and security and I know I get a better night’s sleep when I know that I’ve done everything I can to protect my home and family. And we all know how important a good night’s sleep is to any parent out there!