Is your home safe?
There are over two million burglaries reported each year. There is one every 13 seconds. In most cases, burglaries happen when no one is home.
Of course, you can’t always be at home all the time, right? You have work. You need to go on vacations. You have out of town commitments.
So what to do now?
While you can install sensors and mount several cameras at home, you should also know that your devices have weaknesses and blind spots. They are prone to both human and technical errors. As such, it’s a must that you should also play your part in keeping your home safe by practicing responsible home ownership.
- Always be on your toes.
Vigilance is a must, especially if you’re dealing with intelligent burglars. As the saying goes, it’s always better to keep one step ahead.
- Avoid leaving a spare key at your front door, unless you really want burglars inside your home. If not, try having a duplicate key for each of your family members so you won’t have to hide a spare key at your doorstep if you’re going out.
- Always check your home’s entry points for any broken windows and door locks. Try to fix them as soon as you notice them.
- Reinforce your windows with grilles and bars.
- Remove ladders and other materials that burglars could use to enter your home.
- Hide your valuables well. If they are in a safe, you should also keep it well hidden.
- Replace unfitted door locks
- Be friends with your neighbours.
Have you heard of the neighborhood watch?
It’s a form of vigilance program to ward off crimes in a certain neighborhood. People take turns in watching over each other’s houses especially at night and when one of them is a way. Simply put, your neighbours are the first ones that could take an action before authorities can respond.
If you haven’t brought your neighbor a cake yet, you can do it now. Be friendly.
- Don’t show off.
Avoid showing off your possessions. It’s a clear sign that you’re inviting burglary to your home.
- Boxes of newly purchased equipments and appliances should never be left on your trash cans or your backyard.
- Avoid too much display of valuables in your home. If you can, try letting your curtains down most of the time.
- Bikes and motorcycles should also be carefully parked inside your garage. You wouldn’t want sneaky people to roll them away at night, would you?
- Reinforce your garage with the necessary locks for security. You must also clear it from any valuables that may readily catch a burglar’s eyes. Roll your old television sets, car parts and some other valuables to the farthest part of your garage as possible. Keep them away where they can easily be seen.
- If you’re going out of town, there’s no need to share it on social media sites. If you’re going out of the country, don’t post it. Burglars use the internet, too. It isn’t a good idea to let them know you’ll be away.
- Reinforce your yard.
Your backyard isn’t a battlefield. Don’t make it look like one.
Avoid growing tall bushes that could be good hiding spots for intruders. Keep them low and trimmed. If you have trees that grow branches near your roof or your second floor, you can try trimming them a bit.
Instead, you can try growing thorny bushes to keep people away from hiding in your yard. You can also build fences to mark your territory.
This ideas of manipulating the environment to increase safety is backed up by the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles. These principles include:
- Target hardening that involves placing tamper proof screws, toughened glass, door anchor hinges without removable pins and the like;
- Territorial reinforcements which include the porch, the fence and other landscaping ideas intended to create barriers and territorial limitations;
- Natural access control that includes planting thorny bushes to serve as obstacles for anyone who would attempt on entering your home.
- Natural surveillance which includes alteration in design and landscaping so you could maximize your visual examination of your perimeter.
- Make it look like you’re home.
Going on a vacation and spending time away from home is inevitable. These circumstances are the most favorable times for burglars to sneak in. However, you could make your home a less likely choice by deception. Let them believe there’s someone at home.
- Postpone your daily deliveries of newspapers and magazines. Nobody will believe someone is at home when you have them piled up at your front door.
- Ask a neighbour to collect your mail. As advised, be friendly with your neighbors.
- Have your neighbours use your trash bins, too. You can also ask them to use your parking space.
- Trim the lawn before going out for a vacation. If it’ll take weeks before you get back, you could ask someone to do it for you.
- Put your phone on the lowest volume. Sneaky people will get doubtful if your phone gets constantly unanswered.
- Avoid posting notes on your front door. If you have a message for someone, now is not the time to go old school. Send them a text message or simply call them up.
- Dogs Inside: Beware
Before there were home surveillance and home security systems, houses relied on dog barks in alerting them of strangers. It is a dog’s primary instinct to protect his territory and family. If someone steps on his place, he’ll most likely just do three things- bark, run and bite.
Dogs of larger breeds are more intimidating to intruders because of their size and how intense they bark. There are even home security systems today that imitate dog barks to ward off burglars, specifically german shepherds barking.
However, you shouldn’t get dogs solely for that purpose. Likewise, you shouldn’t also completely depend your home’s security on your dog. They’re pets and not devices.
This list doesn’t negate the importance of having a functional and effective home security system. Instead, it only suggests additional ways in which you could minimize the chances of your home being intruded and robbed.
After all, you can’t always be at home, right?