There’s more to keeping your home safe than just a monitored home security system, although that’s a great starting place. However, there are quite a few simple little extra tricks and things you could do to keep your home safe.
If you have a home security system installed, you might be lulled into a sense of security, thinking that’s all you need to do. If you have a fire alarm, you’re likely to think you’ve got it covered in the event of a fire, too.
While these may be strong defences, they aren’t the only ones. There are many low-tech ways and DIY projects you can harness to add to the safety provided by the technology.
First line of defence is using your common sense – things like never opening the front door without checking to see who is at the door, being wary of strangers and not talking on the phone as you enter the house or garage late and night.
Let’s take a look at a half a dozen overlooked home safety tips, which you can easily implement to bolster the safety and security of your home.
- Protect the exterior of your home
Minimize dark areas which a burglar or intruder could hide. Trim bushes and trees around the home, and have simple lights or motion sensor activated lighting installed. Just knowing that a light will shine on them as they prowl is enough to deter a potential thief. And if you have a motion sensor alarm that will begin screaming the moment someone passes it by, even better.
- Keep your perimeter clutter free
Don’t have piles of stuff or large pieces of furniture which a burglar can hide behind around your home’s perimeter. Don’t leave tools and other items that could be potential weapons outside for a burglar to lay hands on. Similarly, ensure your garage and any other entry points like a fence or side door are secured at night and in the day time.
- Don’t ‘hide’ your keys outside
Never leave your house keys inconspicuous or obvious places like a plant or under the mat. This is like giving a burglar an invitation into your home. Best to not hide keys around the outside, but instead leave them instead with a trustworthy neighbour or friend who lives nearby.
- Protect your home from outside eyes
One mistake many people make is to leave windows and French windows or balcony doors open to public view. Make sure you have drapes or blinds especially in rooms with high-value items like your television and home theatre system, laptops and art or collectables displayed. Prying eyes and burglars looking to case the joint will have less luck if your shades/blinds are lowered.
If you’re travelling and are going to be away from home, ask someone to collect your mail and the newspaper (if you get it delivered), or if you’re going to be away for an extended trip, think about having a reliable friend or relative staying at your home.
- Monitor your voicemail
Check your voicemail messages and don’t leave an ‘out of town’ message. Use your mobile to call into your answering machine and check on your messages so it doesn’t get filled up, which would alert a potential thief that you’re absent.
Also don’t announce your holiday plans on Facebook or other social media. If you do, you’re making it clear what days you’ll be away and making it an open home for potential thieves.
- The power of a steel pipe
If you have French windows, a patio or kitchen door leading directly outside, or large windows on your home’s exterior sides and you can’t alarm every single one of these entry/exit points, here is a low tech, easy, quick way to add some additional protection. Get steel pipes or a length of dowel and cut to the appropriate length so it fits into the nooks of the door or window railing. This makes it impossible to slide open a door or window, even if they manage to jimmy a lock or find a spare key.
- Remember to turn on your home security system
It’s great if you have a home security system, but it won’t be much use if you have forgotten to turn it on. However much of a hurry you may be in, make the time to always arm your security system and turn on the alarm before you head out.
The basics matter
Take a walk around your home and look around, thinking like an intruder would. Make sure windows and doors are secure, and there are no easy hiding places outside. Also think about if you are advertising your wealth- are there technology or expensive home items easily seen from the outside?
Also take the time to review your house insurance (visit State Insurance for an online quote). Make sure you understand what is covered and if you need to increase the value of your possessions. Do a stocktake, noting how much everything cost, you’ll be surprised how quickly your replacement value adds up.
Being cautious is important to ensure the safety of your home. Spend time now for the security of your property and the safety of your family.