I have been called out to countless homes and businesses over the years to repair windows and doors after break-ins. People have told me their stories of what was taken, how they got in etc. In nearly all cases the burglars were looking for cash or jewellery, and are seldom interested in anything else. Here are my top 5 security tips for protecting your home against burglars.
1. Get An Alarm.
The overwhelming majority of homes I am called to after break-ins, are to homes that do not have a burglar alarms. I can think of one case where a house was broken into 3 times over a one year period (on one occasion the window was so badly damaged, the whole window had to be replaced) – once the owners got an alarm installed, they were not troubled again. The cost of getting an alarm pales in comparison to:
A) Money or jewellery (often with more sentimental value)
B) The cost of damages to windows, doors and other valuables.
C) The sense of violation that someone was in your home.
Another thing I would say about a house alarm is to set it every time you go out, and at night. If you have a house alarm and you are broken into when its not set, your insurance will most likely not cover a claim. Check this with your house insurance company.
2. Facebook Statuses.
Do NOT post check-ins on facebook. I know people like to let their friends know what they’re up to and where they are at certain times. But what people don’t know is that it’s not just the people you are connected to that will see it. If someone you are connected to likes it, it will show up on the timeline of everyone they are connected with too. You are basically telling hundreds of people that your house will empty for x amount of time. I’ve had the following appear on my timeline over the past week: a honeymoon, a holiday, 2 gigs, and 1 pub check-in. The more people you are connected to, the more people will potentially see it. All it takes is for the wrong person who knows where you live to see it.
This happened to neighbours of mine where I live. They posted a check-in status at Dublin airport, saying they were on holiday. A family member called to the house a few days later, and discovered the break-in. The burglars knew they had all the time in the world, they even made themselves coffee. Now you might say that was just coincidence, but that to me is the actions of someone who knew that had all the time in the world. I’m convinced and so are the couple that it was because of the facebook check-in.
I don’t know if there is settings you can change on facebook. My advise would be just don’t post it.
3. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight.
Like the advice about not leaving valuables in plain sight in your car, it is the same in your home. I was called to a home after a break in – In this case the thieves spotted a handbag hanging on the back of a chair through the kitchen window. They broke through the window, snatched the bag and ran. All done in less than a minute. I have also heard stories of car keys being “fished” off of hall stands through the letter box. I would recommend storing keys in a drawer, close all blinds or curtains at night and store handbags out of sight.
4. Make it as difficult as possible for burglars.
Burglars don’t want to get caught obviously enough. They usually choose an entry point that has cover from view. Usually a door or window at the back or the side of the house. Couple this with the long dark winter nights, it makes sense that burglaries are at their peak. My recommendation would be to get a motion sensor light installed in these covered areas around your home. So when the sensor detects movement the lights will come on. I know of a few cases where tools and ladders were used from garden sheds to gain entry. Lock sheds and secure any ladders. Join a neighbourhood watch or text alert group. There are also a lot of excellent local neighbourhood groups on facebook now that post updates of local crime etc. Join your local group and keep up to date.
5. Fully lock all windows and doors.
I see this all the time, people leaving their windows partly opened when they are not at home. If you are leaving your home ensure that all windows are fully closed and locked. At night make sure all windows are closed and locked. If you have your bedroom windows open for some fresh air close them on the ventilation setting, but if you are leaving your home make sure they are fully closed and locked.
So that’s my top 5 tips for protecting your home. I would encourage you to take these tips on board, especially the tips about facebook check-ins, not leaving valuables in plain sight, and fully locking your doors and windows before leaving your home. Just because your home hasn’t been broken into before, doesn’t mean it could never happen.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will be about condensation on windows.
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