Crime and burglary often increase during the holiday time as some thieves become more active when you are away on holidays. Experts say, it is virtually impossible for you to stop a very determined burglar from breaking in but you can make your house more secure with several simple tips.
Try Breaking into your Own Home
Case your own joint. No, really. It’s no joke. If you were locked out, think of ways you can get inside. Do this by trying to think like a burglar. For starters, a burglar would look at the front gate and take note of several things:
- The presence of a dog
- A high fence or shrubbery that can provide cover while you sneak in
- Windows or doors that are ajar
- Tools that are lying around
- A deadbolt on all doors
- The proximity to the neighbours’ houses
- The appearance of the house, specifically if it looks lives in and especially if it has mail hanging out of the mail box or your newspaper on the grass
Five Typical Weaknesses of Properties
1. Not all doors are similarly secured
Homeowners often install relatively good protection for the front door. However, the back or side doors have weaker locking systems.
2. Keys are left in the same secret location
Even amateur burglars look under door mats and pot plants first, and while search through your possessions to look for spare keys after they have broken in.
3. You forget to close or lock the windows
Thieves will first test windows because they often have easily breakable locks and are left open when the days are hot. Kids are notorious for getting in small windows, leaving them open for thieves.
4. Tools are left scattered in the yard
Always lock away gardening and trade tools because they can be used to pry open a window or otherwise use to destroy your property.
5. The garden is unkempt
Not only does your house looked like nobody lives there – which thieves are always on the lookout for – untrimmed shrubbery near windows or the driveway can be used as a cover by burglars while trying to break in. So, it is smart to make sure your garden is always neat and tidy.
6. The letter box in full
Your home will look vacant if the letter box is full and the weekly newspapers are lying on the ground. Clear the box daily and if you're away on holiday have a neighbour or friend clear the box and pick up the papers for you.
Doors – the Opening to your Home
The best defence against burglars are front and back doors equipped with solid locks. However, a lock is only one thing – make sure the wood it is fitted into is also durable.
Ensure that all doors have a solid lock including the front, back, laundry as well as garage doors.
The Right Locks for Single-Entry Doors
1. Mortise locks
Mortise locks are hidden as they are installed into the rim of the door and mid-point of the door frame. This placement makes it impossible for the lock to be forced away from the door but this also makes it quite difficult to install.
A double-cylinder deadlock, which locks from both inside and outside, provides good security. After the door is locked, only the key can open it again.
3. Rimlocks and entrance sets
These are popular locking mechanisms because the home handyperson can easily install them. They are simply mounted on the surface of the door. However, please note that the rimlock does not provide the same degree of security as the costlier locks.
How to Secure Other Types of Doors
1. Double doors
Patio doors need to be sufficiently protected because they are popular with burglars. Either one of the doors can be pushed open if they are not tightly fixed. If this happens, an existing lock may be damaged or weaken.
2. Sliding doors
Unwanted visitors will often enter a house through sliding doors because they can easily force the doors out of the track.
Experts recommend hiring a professional to fit the locks to your doors. If you attempt a DIY, your insurance claim may be voided.
It is not Enough to Lock the Doors
If a burglar can’t get in through the door, they will try the windows. So, make sure to also provide good security for your windows to deter burglars and other intruders.
One Key for All Entry Points
An edge of most key-operated-locks in the market today is that they can be “keyed alike” with other locks of the same style. That means only one key is needed for all window locks and one key for all door locks in your house, which is really very convenient.
Turn on the Lights when you’re Away
The invention of automatic timers have prevented many a break-ins. You can use these devices to turn lights on and off, inside and outside your home. This gives burglars the impression that someone is inside the house.
You can choose from a wide range of timers from basic lock timers, to solar-powered ones, to more complex makes with various settings that allow lights to be turned on and off at different times of the day. For example, it can be se to turn on the bathroom lights at midnight.
Invest in several timers. This will allow you to stagger the settings so your lights can be turned on at different times.
Light up your Outdoor Space
Good outdoor lighting is also an effective deterrent against burglars and intruders.
Here are some lights that you can install outdoors:
- Driveway entrance lights that double as a cheerful welcome to friends
- Front post lights that illuminate the path or a section of the house
- Noise and motion-sensitive lights
- Slide and back floodlights to light dark spaces behind bushes, walls and trees
- In-ground lights to highlight the landscaping and eliminate shadows in heavily planted areas.
You can purchase garden light kits that you can install yourself without the aid of an electrician.
Security Inside the Home
There are intruders that will force their way inside once you open the door. So it is also a good idea to be on guard when you’re inside your home.
Here are some ways you can improve home security when you’re inside:
1. Security screens
Invest in a durable, steel security door with a high-quality lock to both front and back doors. They’re useful during summer when you want to allow the breeze in and keep the children inside. Just ensure the door that it is attached to is also durable.
2. Fish-eye viewers
You can see people outside without opening the door through a one-way fish-eye door viewer. It is easy to install – simply drill a hole of the right size, put in the viewer and tighten it.
3. Chain locks
A chain lock holds the door partly open when the chain is in place, allowing people inside to see who’s on the door.
Know your Emergency Exits
Have at least two emergency exits that can be used in case of emergencies like fire. They can be windows or doors, and should open easily from inside without a key. During an emergency, you may have no time or the presence of mind to remember where you kept the key.
Remember, these tips are not just for when you go on holidays but can be used throughout the whole year. What kind of security do you have now?
Stay safe and secure,
Annette Pinkerton - the Newcastle Real Estate Agent who enables you to turn the key to where you want to be.