Today, improving your home’s security is more important than ever. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the property you live in is protected from the danger lurking out there.
Most people are only worried about attempts during the night, but most of the thefts happening occur during the day when most people are out of their homes at work or school.
When it comes to protecting your family and your belonging, you can’t be too careful. Even if you can’t afford to hire a security guard or to buy an expensive protection system, there are plenty of ways you can improve your home security and protect it from housebreakings.
Burglaries in Melbourne
Statistic shows, that 1 in 144 homes in Melbourne was invaded by burglars in 2017. Although the rate in Melbourne is lower than average comparing to other major cities, the prevalence of burglary in Australia was estimated at 2.5 %. This number is higher than the international average (1.8 %)
Most reported burglaries happened without forced entry, thieves have used an open door or window. Don’t risk coming home one day and finding out you were robbed due to carelessness.
Inside the mind of a burglar
- They examine the property and its surroundings. Before deciding to rob your property, burglars will inspect the surroundings carefully. They may hang around your neighbourhood dressed as gardening professionals or may even pretend to take their morning jog there.
- They lurk around the neighbourhood too. Another common method a thief may use to investigate a neighbourhood – to drive through it in the morning or the late afternoon. If the neighbours don’t look at the stranger passing by, this can be a green light for him to proceed to action.
- They will lurk around in the morning to see when you leave for work. Is anyone else staying at your home? Do you have a dog? Are your neighbours there during the day? Is the house in a nice neighbourhood? They may check up on your home more than once to make sure no obstacles are standing in their way. They may knock on the door to see if somebody answers. If you answer, they might give you a flyer or pretend to lose their dog and ask about it.
- The burglar might do a brief check around your front door and the backyard of your house. They will look for an easy way to climb on a window behind your house, look for a hidden key and check if you have cameras or other security systems installed.
- Thieves want to avoid confrontation. If they can’t figure out how to break in easily, they may give up and look for an accessible target in your neighbourhood.
- 10 minutes is all any “professional” housebreaker needs to steal any valuable unhidden belongings. They will target your cash, jewellery and electronics and will only take small easy to carry items. They may search for any identification documents for identity theft later. If they find car keys, it’s likely to load everything in it and drive away while stealing your vehicle as well.
How to protect your house from the outside
The fundamental step in home breaking prevention is to make sure all opportunities are eliminated. Thieves will not waste their time if the burglary seems challenging or there is a risk of being caught.
Examine your property for weaknesses
Walk around your home during the day and try to think like a burglar. Imagine you’re planning to rob the property. If you can easily tell that a window or a door can be broken and used as an entrance, there is a big chance that burglars will come to that same conclusion.
While checking for flaws in your security, check if you can spot any expensive electronics from the outside – TVs, computers, or luxurious furniture. If they’re exposed, it’s probably a good idea to make small adjustments in your interior design. You can simply install blinds to hide them out of curious eyes.
The next thing you need to check is to see if there is a simple escape route to help burglars get away. Big bushes or trees in the backyard are the best places for them to hide.
Keep your garden in shape
An overgrown backyard can be an easy detector for everyone that you’re not at home often. Trim your plants regularly. This way, you can also prevent burglars from attempting to break-in in the first place. If there is no spot for hiding in the shrubberies, the chances are that robbers won’t even try breaking in. You can even plant spiny shrubs below the windows to make the use of them painful and almost impossible.
Build a fence
Investing in a security fence is a great way to keep intruders out of your property. Metal fencing with ornaments or pointy edges is the best way to secure your home. Concrete or timber fences can be easily climbed up if they’re not high enough. Also if the burglars know you won’t be home soon they will have more time to find everything valuable and steal it since nobody from the street can see what is happening inside the property. If you already have one installed, investigate for weak points and repair the fence.
Make sure door lock mechanisms work properly
Problematic doors can not only be irritating but can also cause safety risks. The majority of burglars invade your home through the door. It’s a good idea to call professionals to estimate your door. They’ll inspect if the door frame needs to be replaced if not closing properly and if the locking mechanism or door handles need to be changed. Burglars are experts in spotting weak locks that can be opened with a little force.
If there is glass on the door, install security grilles. Keep all doors and windows during the night, while you’re gone or while raining. Rain can hide noises from breaking in
Never leave your home without locking the door. No matter if you’re planning to be gone for only a couple of minutes.
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Secure the windows
Windows needs extra protection too. Strengthen them with metal, decorative grilles, which can also make your house more pleasantly appealing. Install safety glass which will be harder to break. This will make it slightly possible for burglars to break.
Avoid installing pet doors
Installing a pet door in your front door may be a convenience for your furry friend, but burglars will also be pleased to see you have one. It’s very easy for someone to break it and to try to find your spare keys hanging close to the door with a hook. If your pets must have one, try securing it with a metal frame and lock it at night or when you’re away from home.
There are pet doors available that use advanced technology to only allow your pets in. The door is unlocked only by a special sensor attached to your pet’s collar.
Install a sensor light
Installing motion sensor lighting in your yard around the house, especially at your porch and entrances, is a great way to scare burglars out. Flashing a possible home breaker before he could even touch something can quickly make them give up and walk away.
Don’t hide your spare key outside
Thieves know well to look under mats, fake rocks or flower pots for the keys, so assuming your key will be safe, there is a huge mistake. It’s better to leave your key with a trusted neighbour for emergencies.
Remove expensive items from the yard
Hide expensive items like grills, BBQs, bikes, cars, instruments and mowers in your garage or basement. Just make sure to store them out of burglars’ sight. They may not represent any interest in potential intruders but can speak a lot of your lifestyle. An expensive car can indicate possession of other valuable items. Don’t intrigue thieves, hide the valuables away if possible.
Use curtains or blinds
If you store items in the garage or basements, use blinds or curtains to hide them away. These places don’t need much sunlight, either way, so put safety first. Storing them inside won’t do you much of a favour if they’re regularly displayed. Install curtains in your bedrooms and living room. During the night, all the light inside will put you in the spotlight. You won’t even notice if someone is watching.
You can also add privacy film to the decorative glass to distort the view from the outside and reduce the chances of someone peeking in.
Display your address
Make your house easy to identify by installing a big number in front of your property or on the mailbox. This may not be of great help if the thief has decided to try his luck. But it will help random passers-by easily identify the house and call the police if they notice strange activity. It will be easier for the authorities to find the house as well.
How to Protect Your Home from the Inside
Even if, after all the efforts to protect your house from the outside, the thieves do not encounter an obstacle and succeed to enter, there are still a few things that can help you protect yourself or at least minimise the damages.
Consider buying home security system
Security system technologies are developing as fastest as ever. They can vary in price and type. Some of them include motion lighting, floor sensors, window and door sensors etc. You can select features that best fits your needs.
After installation, you need to create a regular habit of turning it on, and you can feel safe. Teach your family how to use the security system to cut down on expenses due to false alarms. You surely don’t want to annoy your neighbours or worse – if they hear your false alarms often, they might ignore a real one.
Adopt or buy a dog
Dogs will not only be loyal friends, but they can also contribute to protecting your property as well. If you think you’re able to take care of a dog, adopt or buy one. It does not have to be big. Being noisy is enough.
The barking is more important than the bite. Burglars instinctively avoid houses with dogs, so how many more reasons do you need to get one?
Change locks when moving in
Change the door locks when moving into a new house, especially if you’re a renter. Ask your landlord to cooperate. You just can’t be 100% sure how many copies are out there. Even if the previous renters returned all the keys, you can’t assume that everyone does it.
Not everybody has good intentions. Change the locks and feel safe that no stranger can access your new home.
Protect valuable belonging
Is your jewellery displayed in a box in your bedroom? Are your car keys hang next to your front door? Are your electronics laying around your desk?
If yes, you’re inviting thieves to try their luck. Burglars won’t spend much time on your property, so make sure to hide away valuable assets. There’s a good chance that they’ll give up. You can also invest in a home safe box. Give the passcode to a family member and never keep it in your home.
Take photos of precious items
Take photos of all electronics, jewellery and other valuable belongings. Store them digitally and make a habit of updating the record when you acquire new ones. Having this record will be a huge advantage when filing an insurance claim. It can also be easier for the police to find your items when having precise information.
Get an insurance
If burglars successfully break into your home, they can incur severe financial damage. After all, you don’t want to be paying for new electronics, jewellery and lose your saved cash. Take photos of all your assets for insurance purposes and get home insurance.
How to protect your home when on vacation
As much as you secure your home inside and out when you go on vacation, things got changed. Thieves will easily tell if you haven’t been at home for a while.
Make your house looks like you’re at home
To make sure burglars will stay away from your home while you’re not there, make the house looks like you are there or could appear any time soon. Ask a friend or neighbour to take care of the daily tasks that will leave the impression to the residents that you’re there.
Don’t let mail and flyers gather up, have your friend pick them up. Don’t leave a lot of garbage behind and ask your friend to turn on and off the porch light and to open and close the curtains, take care of your lawn etc.
Park in front of your house or ask a neighbour to park their car there for you. If necessary, give your spare key directly to your neighbour, don’t put it in your garden.
Make sure everything is locked
Check if all doors and windows are properly closed and locked. Double-check them if needed. Lock the garage door as well and disconnect the automatic opener if you have one. Make sure your home is as protected as possible before you leave.
Disconnect the doorbell and create some noise
Many burglars ring the doorbell to see if anyone answers. Disconnect the doorbell and leave a radio or a TV turned on. Ask a friend to come by your place and turn it on and off in periods. This will make the burglars wonder if you’re not at home and don’t hear the bell.
Reduce posting pictures in social media
It’s common for people to post everything about their trip before and during it. The more people know your house will be empty, the more likely it is for someone to decide to break in. Never leave messages in your mailbox, ring bell and even answering machine that you will be out of town.
What to do after home invasion
Call the police immediately after finding out your house has been robbed. That may sound like the obvious thing to do, but many victims don’t do it because they think it’s pointless. But you can actually get back some of the stolen items.
File an insurance claim with the police report. Give all the information about the stuff that is missing. Again, pictures will be really helpful for the recovery of damages. Prepare a list of everything that was stolen and its cost and handle it over to your insurance agent.
Investigate any damages to the property and immediately repair them to avoid a second attack. After you find out the weak spot the thieves used to break in, make sure to invest some time and energy to improve it.
Prevention is the best option
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