A new national initiative has seen October dubbed National Home Security month, with a wide ranging group of security trade companies and manufacturers coming together to help raise awareness of ways to protect your valuables and property from crime.
The group will be handy advice and tips all week via their website and blog, hoping to highlight not only the importance of making sure your security precautions are up to scratch, but also some of the smaller things that can easily be overlooked by homeowners. In that spirit, we thought we would put together some advice of our own, hopefully they can help you out!
Is Your Home Appealing?
American estate agents often talk about the “Curb Appeal” of a house for buyers- that is, how much a property can tempt customers into buying it when they first view it from the street. It’s well established that burglars will target homes in a very similar way…let’s call it “Crim Appeal”. Opportunistic criminals will usually make a quick assessment as to whether a property is worth the risk of breaking in to just by visually checking it in the street. If you have the right deterrents on your home, then you can dissuade burglars at this stage, and greatly reduce the risk that your locks or alarm system will actually have to be tested out “in anger”. So what can homeowners do to help prevent their property becoming a target?
- Burglars hate dogs. This is already a pretty common piece of advice, but it’s worth reiterating. If you are lucky enough to enjoy Canine companionship, then this in itself will greatly reduce your home’s crim appeal. The size of the dog doesn’t matter- it’s the noise they make when they start barking at intruders. Don’t think you can just stick up a “beware of the dog” sign however, burglars can often see through that ruse and look for actual evidence.
- Be careful leaving lights on when away. Leaving lights or a radio on to deter burglars when you go on holiday is a pretty popular technique. It can however backfire quite easily. After all, nothing says “empty house” more clearly than lights staying on 24/7 for a week with no sign of people moving around. A more sensible choice would be to put a timer on your lights so that they go on and off at intervals. Also- at the risk of stating the obvious- don’t leave a note on your front door for the milkman telling them you’ve jetted off for a week…
- Don’t leave expensive goods on display. It’s not a nice thing to think about when installing a new 4K TV, but it’s really best to not have it in full view of your front window, and even more so if this is visible to people on the street. Burglars will be far more likely to try and break in if they know it will be worth their risk.
- Don’t turn your window into a shopfront. Similar to the point above really, but make sure that you have something installed to block the view through your windows, even if it’s just net curtains or a blind.
- Gravel is loud, burglars like to be quiet. Nobody wants to landscape their front yard purely for security purposes, but it’s worth keeping in mind that burglars are far more hesitant to approach a window if there is gravel underneath it. Not only does the sound attract unwanted attention, but it’s easy to leave footprints as well.
- Don’t leave the doors or windows open. OK, bear with us. This may sound so obvious as to not need repeating, but it’s surprising how easily we can forget this. How many times have you relaxed by yourself in the garden whilst the front window has been open? That’s all it takes to fall victim to an opportunistic burglar, and (according to alarming FBI figures) 28% of burglaries happen when people are still at home.
- Join the neighbourhood watch. Alarms are useful to have, but burglars know that too often neighbour’s will just ignore them when they are triggered, so they know they will still have time to be in and out without trouble. By joining a neighbourhood watch scheme however, you can be sure that people living around you will investigate if there is any potential signs of trouble. Criminals often rely on the bystander effect- whereby crimes are left to happen because everyone thinks someone else will step in- and a big fat neighbourhood watch sticker on your gate is a great way of reminding them that this will not be the case.
- Cameras are a great visual deterrent. Alright, you’ve caught us out. We sell CCTV, we recommend CCTV. It is still however one of the best visual deterrents you can possibly install on your house. These days most burglars are savvy to dummy cameras (what CCTV camera has a blinking red LED?), and if you’re going to go through the hassle of mounting one of those to your wall, why not install the real thing? Our range includes easy-to-setup HD cameras from Hikvision, with recorders that can connect directly to an alarm system
Top image via