We all want to feel safe and secure at home and we are bombarded by people selling us intrusion alarm systems, CCTV camera systems, panic alarms, GPS tracking for vehicles etc.
Not that these systems don’t work – they do, and I have used all of them from time to time. But they can be costly.
So what happens when I can’t afford the installation costs? Or the monthly monitoring costs?
I still need to secure my family and home.
So this is my own ‘broke man’s guide to good home security’; an easy to read and implement guide to safeguarding your family without any expense.
It’s all about DETER, DETECT AND DELAY. And being AWARE, of your surroundings, your neighbourhood, your personal space
- Solid entry points.
- Good locks.
- All external doors should open outwards and have strong door jams.
- Creating the impression that someone is always at home, like leaving your television on, or installing an automatic timer to some of the lights in your house.
- Keep house and car keys out of sight and away from open windows
- What about signs? A simple sign telling would be thieves that your home is alarmed or monitored can send them away to find a softer target! Advertise that you have an alarm system, even if you do not.
- Leaving things lying around your yard (children’s bicycles, hoses, lawnmowers etc) can unwittingly bring thieves onto your property.
- After purchasing a new flat screen TV/other electronics/appliances, don’t leave the boxes out beside the rubbish bins
- Don’t hide spare keys outside. Never put any identifying information on your house keys. If you lose them, and someone else finds them, it would be fairly easy to trace them back to your home and break in.
- Make sure bushes are trimmed to allow a good view of your home from the street. Thieves look for cover, and a well planned & kept garden denies them that opportunity. Cacti and bougainvillea beneath your windows make access even less attractive. That doesn’t mean you need to cut down every plant in your yard – just keep things manicured.
- Tall bushes around your house make perfect hiding places for thieves. And trees next to upstairs windows also provide opportunities.
- Inspect your fence line periodically. Repair as necessary.
- You may also be showing off too much of the inside of your house. Walk outside & around the house and see what’s visible. If you have a number of expensive items within plain sight or near windows, think about rearranging furniture to move them out of view.
- And at all times be aware of what is happening around you when you arrive or leave home. take a sense check – whose car is that, why are those men hanging around
- Having a dog or two is not only a great deterrent, it is great detection – a barking dog alerts neighbours that something is wrong, and sends thieves somewhere else! And you do not have to go out and find a huge savage guard dog…a small house pet like a Shih Tzu is a great alarm system. Did you know they were known as ‘Lion Dogs’, were favourites of the Chinese royals and so prized that, for years, the Chinese refused to sell, trade, or give any away.
- Installing motion-sensitive flood lights outdoors will also help to deter burglars ‘working’ at night, though my preference is for night lights that stay on all the time.
- Neighbourhood Watch groups have a proven track record for lowering crime. Getting to know the people you live around is one of the most important safety steps you can take. Closer-knit neighbourhoods generally report fewer break-ins because strangers will stick out, and people are more likely to keep a casual eye on other people’s security.
- Although it’s nice to know you have people watching out for you in your neighbourhood, you also need to watch out for yourself. If you aren’t paying attention to what you’re doing, you could unknowingly be inviting a thief inside.
- Always keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood. A little added effort can go a long way to protect your home and your safety.
- Delaying criminals is another important aspect of keeping thieves out. The longer it takes to get into your home, the more likely a burglar is to give up and move on. A four-minute delay will protect your house in most cases.
- Delaying a burglar includes keeping unusual entry points from being accessible – trees next to a two storey house allow easy access to upstairs. Keep branches trimmed. Cut away any tall tree branches that reach upstairs windows and protect against attacks from above. Regularly trimming larger bushes and tree branches also eliminates dark shadows that help hide intruders
- Make sure ground floor windows are secure
And don’t forget your locks; none of the other precautions amount to much when your doors or windows are unlocked. You may need to change your locks to stronger ones to keep out would-be burglars. Sometimes the best answer is also the most obvious one. When it comes to keeping burglars out of your house, the basics make the biggest difference.
Educate yourself as well about crime in the area. Find out what’s happening in your neighbourhood. A little added effort can go a long way to protect your family, your home and your safety.