We never think it will happen to us – until it does. Home invasion continues to increase, both in urban and rural areas, affluent and underprivileged alike. By being smart about protecting your home, you can ward off unwanted guests and nip burglaries in the bud. It’s easier than you think.
1. Install a monitored alarm system.
Professional services are worth the money, particularly if you have expensive taste. With sensors on doors and windows, motion sensors, and wired or wireless cameras, you are covered 24/7 with a security system that will alert you and/or the police if anything out of the ordinary occurs.
2. Go the DIY route.
Unmonitored systems have the same bells, just less whistle. DIY kits can equip your home with all of the monitoring bling above, and some can include smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Technology today like Nest, Vivint, BIBENE, and Blink can make it easy to monitor your home yourself, even when you’re in another country.
3. Reinforce the door.
Ensure all doors are equipped with deadbolt locks that secure right into the door frame. Beefing up the door hardware as well will make it harder to body slam open. The same goes for sliding glass doors on balconies or patios. Furnish these with a foot lock – or even just a simple two-by-four.
4. Don’t forget about windows.
Make sure windows are rigged with a wireless alarm, even if all it does is make noise. You would be surprised how discouraging an alarm can be, even to professional thieves. Don’t neglect second-storey windows either. Want to keep it simple? Pin locks are the oldest trick in the book – but they really work.
5. Rig lights to go on at dusk.
Light timers are a proven deterrent, because few burglars want to take the chance that you’re at home. Exterior lights, particularly in the back yard, are essential, and there are a few solar options to explore to make it even more of a no-brainer.
6. Buy a safe.
Keep wills, powers of attorney, property deeds, and jewellery safe in a fireproof safe. These are relatively inexpensive and you don’t need a huge one. Most come with hardware that allows you to bolt it to the floor.
7. Beware of dog.
Sometimes, even the simplest of white lies works wonders. No cat burglar wants a barking dog and the same goes for alarm-system signs – even if you don’t have either.
8. Don’t hide the house key.
Yes, everyone knows the key is under the frog in the front garden or in the barbecue in the back yard. Instead, give a key to one of the neighbours or attach a simple lockbox to a fence post and store one in there.
9. Secure the surrounding area.
Don’t forget about sheds, porches and other out-buildings. Padlocks that resist bolt cutters are the way to go here. Security mailboxes are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
10. Keep it to yourself.
The entire world knows you’re away in the Bahamas because you’ve plastered pictures all over social media. This is just asking for trouble. Save postcard posting for when you get home so as to not return to a big surprise. You shouldn’t be on your phone anyway – you’re on holiday!