Winter has set in, and with shorter days and longer nights comes an unfortunate increase in home burglaries. In fact, there’s normally a 25% spike in the number of home burglaries during autumn and winter. People go on holiday, homes are left empty, and the wet, windy weather can wreck havoc on loose panels and fences, leaving spots open for burglars to take advantage of. Never fear though – steps can certainly be taken to keep your home safe, and we’ve put together our best advice!
Secure your french door
You can buy fancy tools to do this, but a tension rod also works very well! Just extend the rod to ensure it’s pushing against your french door, keeping it from being forced open.
Inexpensive alarms can be added to your doors and windows. Even a small noise could be enough to deter a burglar, and will signal that there is security throughout the house. These alarms are best used as well as wireless alarms, and in ‘hidden’ areas of the house which are used less often.
Invest in a small safe
There’s no need to splash out on a huge safe (unless you want to pretend you’re a spy in a movie…no judgement here). A small safe can be a very worthwhile investment to keep your sentimental or irreplaceable items safe. Be sure you fasten the safe to the floor or wall so it cannot be taken.
Reinforce garage doors
Go old school style and reinforce the doors in your garage using plywood panels and two brackets. This will help prevent weak spots in the door that burglars can easily target to gain entry.
Think about your house exterior
Burglars will often choose houses that are shielded in some way (by bushes for example) from the public. This is something to keep in mind when deciding on your exterior landscaping.
Keep your spare keys safe
Burglars will sometimes search for spare keys left outside the house in order to gain entry. It can make a burglary experience even more horrific, as some insurance companies can refuse to pay out if there’s a lack of forced entry. A combination lock box for your keys, screwed to an inconspicuous part of your fence, will help prevent this. To be even safer, you could leave them with a neighbour.
Motion detector lighting
Motion detector lighting is a proven crime deterrent, and they can be pretty inexpensive to get your hands on.
Build a fence
If you haven’t already, fences are a great way to protect your property. Solid fences can be easier to climb over, and provide more shelter for a criminal. Consider securing your home with a gapped fence, perhaps with spikes on top.
Reinforce your doors
Burglars often gain entry with force, splitting the doorjamb. Reinforcing the hardware with a reinforcement plate kit on your door can prevent this.
Change the locks
If you’ve moved to a new property, it’s a good idea to change the locks. You don’t know how many copies of the key were made by previous owners, or where these have ended up – better safe than sorry!
Don’t leave expensive items on show
Cars, barbecues, bikes.. all these things advertise your property to a criminal. Although it’s extra hassle, consider storing these things safely in the garage and out of sight from wandering eyes. Likewise, this applies to drawing curtains so they’re pulled shut when the house is vacant.
Befriend your neighbours
Crime tends to be lower in tight knit communities where neighbours will look out for each other. Making an effort to get to know your neighbours could be very worthwhile in the long run
Don’t advertise your holidays
Resist the urge to post about upcoming holidays on social media, or to leave messages on your landline saying you’re away. Check where your calendar is, and if it’s facing an outside window, consider moving it – it lets people know when the house will be vacated.
Take extra precautions when away
It’s a good idea to buy a cheap radio and leave it running to create noise in the house. This combined with turning the sound of your doorbell down may make it difficult for a burglar to determine whether or not the house is occupied. When preparing to leave, we also recommend putting timers on your lights, and double checking every door and window is locked.
The best thing we can recommend, as all houses are different, is to walk around the outside of your property and try to see if through the eyes of a robber. Where are the weak spots? What are the deterrents? Doing this will hopefully give you a fresh sight on the vulnerabilities of your house and allow you to compensate for them.
Source: familyhandyman, homeadvisor