It’s all about thinking like the intruder. Be critical accessing you home. Go to your driveway and take a good look and then ask yourself these questions: Are there any areas an intruder might be able to avoid attention when doing the break-in? Any blind spots next to windows or doors which would be a good spot for him to work? If yes, these 7 tips will definitely help you!
1. Improve the doors of your house
Both the front door, but especially the back door is an obvious choice for many intruders. Therefore it makes good sense to start by improving the safety of your doors.
First you need to look at the general quality of your doors. Are they of a good enough quality? It is recommended that your door is mounted on a minimum of three hinges and have a minimum thickness of 32 mm (1.25 inches). If this is not the case for your doors, you might think of replacing them with new more secure ones. If your locks are old, you might want to think of replacing these as well.
This might seem like an expensive solution (and to be completely honest, it can be), but this is also an important investment in your home. However, if you decide the money is better spent on that already planned vacation, you should as a minimum add an extra lock to your door.
You should also think about investing in a home security system. This will not only warn you and the people you trust if something goes wrong when you are out, statistics also show that simply having the system installed will decrease the chance of break-ins significantly.
2. Improve your windows
Windows are the most common entry for intruders and it is therefore important that you secure these the best way possible. If your windows are older than 10 year, they will probably not pose a real obstacle for an intruder and you should therefore think about replacing them with new ones. Newer windows will also come with the added benefit of energi savings, adding to the pros list of replacing them. A cheaper alternative will naturally be to add locks on the most vulnerable windows.
Again, if you don’t already have a home alarm system, you might want to consider it. With an alarm system installed it is both easy and fairly cheap to add contact sensors to your doors and windows, instantly upgrading the security level significantly.
3. Turn on the light
It almost sounds too simple to be true, but it really does work. Use mechanical timers, smart plugs or smart bulbs to make it seem like somebody is at home.
Consider your light control both inside and outside. Again, try to think like an intruder. You have found the perfect target house with lots of areas to do you break-in without any nosy neighbors around. You walk to the backyard to do your work, but suddenly a motion sensor actives and flood the whole backyard with light. Now, what would you do if you were the intruder? Leave of course. Leave fast.
There are many smart light solutions out there, Philips Hue might be the most well known, but there are many other offering, including much cheaper ones. Some smart bulbs and smart plugs even work directly with home security systems, allowing for all lights to be turned on if the alarm goes off.
Several official European crime preventive agencies recommend to use surveillance as supplement to the above tips and recommendations. When thinking of installing surveillance cameras on your property there are several things to consider to get the most effective solution. You can read all about this in our “What you need to know when buying surveillance security cameras” blog post. In regards to the security effect one basic thing to know is than a fake dummy camera has absolutely no effect.
5. A mess is not always a bad thing
We all know this too well… The kids a have just gotten home and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes for the otherwise clean and tidy house to look like something out of a bad war movie.
Well, as frustrating as it can be, this can actually be a good thing in regards to securing your home when you are away. Most people make sure to tidy up and clean the house before going on vacation and intruders knows this. If you make leave some of the mess behind you might trick an intruder into thinking that you are still at home.
6. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home
It’s a well known fact that one of the burglars biggest enemies are nosy neighbors. A simple but very effective way of making your home more secure when you are away, is therefore to talk to your neighbors and ask them to keep an eye out while you are gone.
If you are away on vacation for more than a few days, ask you neighbor to park his car in your driveway once in a while or leave your own car there if possible while you are away. Leave some trash in your bin and make sure your mailbox is being emptied. If you know you neighbor really well and are willing to pay with a cold beer, you might even ask him to mow your lawn. All things that help make your house look as if your are still at home.
Many home security alarms gives you the option to add friends and neighbors and notify them if something is off while you are away. A great way to both add extra security to your home and extra peace of mind for you during your vacation or travels.
7. Common sense
Even if you have ticked each of the previous six points, there is no guarantee that you will be home safe. If a burglar or intruder sees a valuable he might go for it anyway. Therefore do not invite him in.
Remove all valuables, don’t let your laptop, mobile phone or wallet laying around. Remove all things that will be easy for a burglar to pick up and easy for him to sell. Do this every time you leave your house, even if its just for a day or two.
Last but not least, lock your shed. This might sound crazy, but intruders love access to your shed, as they can use your own tools to help break into your home, your own ladder to reach the first floor and on top of that, modern electrical tools are very easy for him to sell for a profit after his done.