The recent upsurge in crime throughout London has been a major cause of concern for most Londoners. Sadly, it now seems that crime has become accepted as part of our daily lives. Even our homes don’t always offer us safe sanctuary any more. According to the website of the Metropolitan Police, there have been 85,369 burglaries within the past year throughout London alone. Cuts to policing and admissions from senior police chiefs that burglaries have become a low response priority would make us believe that we’ve waved the white flag of surrender to the burglars.
However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for all of us. Burglaries can be preventable and the application of a little common sense, a resolute outlook and a sensible financial outlay can be enough to deter the burglars and suitably protect your home.
Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries occur during daylight hours when most people are at work. Burglars prowl the streets looking for easy targets so the first step is to limit the opportunity and make it tough for them. Below are some tips to help protect your home from unwanted intrusion.
- Walk around the outside of your home and check out its weaknesses.
This should be the first thing you do prior to reviewing your home security and survey your property with the eyes and mind set of a burglar. If you observe that a door or a window could be forced open, a thief will also be able to come to the same conclusion.
Whilst checking for vulnerable spots, take note of any expensive electronics, art, or furniture that is easily visible through the windows. There’s no need to completely readjust the layout of your home to keep expensive valuables out of sight, it’s easy to make a few adjustments to minimise any temptation.
- Keep outer fences, gates, and garage doors locked.
Sounds obvious but carelessness is the burglars’ best friend. As a minimum, invest in a quality padlock for each outside entrance and keep them locked at all times. It may be an inconvenience to keep locking and unlocking but it all adds to the protection of your home. Also, never leave any doors open if you aren’t present or able to keep an eye on it. A burglar can be inside your home via an unattended door in a matter of seconds.
- Keep all doors and windows closed and locked at all times.
Another seemingly obvious one but an open window or door is an invitation for burglars to easily enter your home. Always keep them shut and securely locked whether you’re home or not. Don’t underestimate strong window locks, and update them if necessary. Thieves know how to spot weak locks that could be easily forced open. Ensure that your exterior doors have deadbolt locks; a fully tested security door is a worthy investment. Sliding doors should have vertical bolts and a sturdy rod in the track to prevent being forced open or doors being lifted off the track. Never, ever leave your home without locking the front door, no matter how small your trip. Prior to leaving the house, always take that extra few seconds to ensure that everything is locked up.
- Install motion sensor lighting around your home.
Surprise and expose a potential intruder before he can even reach your doors or windows by adding additional lighting with motion detectors at entrances and especially dark corners of your home. When used correctly, security lighting is an extremely effective deterrent and should cover the full external perimeter of your home.
- Get to know your neighbours.
Your neighbours can be one of your best assets in home crime prevention because they can offer extra eyes and an outside perspective. An assertive and tight-knit community can have a huge impact on crime reduction because neighbours are more likely to look out for each other and can easily spot a stranger. In addition, if their work or school schedule differs to yours, they might be around during the day when you’re away and can respond to any suspicious activity that may occur in your absence.
- Consider buying a home security system.
There are numerous features with most modern security systems. Some particularly valuable features are outdoor motion detectors, sensors at exterior doors, windows, security cameras and an outdoor audible alarm to alert other neighbours of an intrusion. Select the features that best fit your needs and be sure to go with a well-known, reputable company. Once it’s installed, familiarise yourself with it and make it a regular habit to use it.
It may seem inconvenient to have to arm the system every time you leave your home but many burglars are aware that this responsibility is often neglected. Reduce any false alarms by informing everyone with access to your property about the security system and ensure that they know how to use it. Regular false alarms will annoy your neighbours and may induce expensive fines. Moreover, you may get the boy-who-cried-wolf effect where your neighbours eventually learn to ignore your alarm every time it goes off.
- Reinforce windows with safety glass or metal bars.
This may seem an extreme step, but burglars will often break a small window to gain entry. Add an additional layer to your home security by installing safety glass or metal bars. There are plenty of decorative options for metal grilles that can make the adjustment both practical and aesthetically-pleasing. If this is unfeasible, you can purchase a film in most DIY stores to stick over the glass to make it harder to break. Fit window locks with keys to all downstairs windows and those upstairs that are easy to reach. Home security and DIY shops sell inexpensive, key-operated locks to fit most kinds of windows.