It is easier than you think to ensure both you and your home are protected.
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“A man’s house is his castle and fortress,” Sir Edward Coke, Elizabethan politician and writer
The threat of unwelcome “guests” in your home and protecting those we love is always an issue. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were nearly 182,000 burglaries across the country in 2014. A whopping 71 per cent of these were house break-ins.
Home robberies are often crimes of opportunity and the trick is to limit the opportunities. While it would be hard to build a fort or surround yourself with an impenetrable moat these days as they did in the Elizabethan era, there are still a range of ways to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to gain entry to your home. Here’s how!
12 good safety habits:
- Change the locks to the doors of a new home, especially if you don’t know who had keys to them before you moved in.
- Ensure your door and window locks work properly and are used regularly.
- Get into the habit of keeping your main doors locked.
- Park your car in the garage with the garage door closed. That way someone watching your home won't be able to tell if your car isn't there when you're out.
- Don’t let people into your house who appear out of the blue for unauthorised and unexpected reasons.
- Sleep with your mobile next to your bed and have emergency numbers on speed dial.
- Develop relationships with your neighbours to increase mutual safety.
- Get a dog.
- Don’t keep valuables in predictable places, such as in your jewellery box.
- Take photos of your precious items and note the serial numbers of electronic equipment to help identify them if they are stolen.
- Ensure tempting household items are kept out of view.
- Discuss the importance of home security with all household members. It only takes one person to forget to lock a door or window.
Getting a safe is one of the best ways to prevent your items from getting stolen
Consider installing these 6 safety precautions:
- A peephole or a security door so you can safely see who is knocking at your door.
- An alarm, but check regularly that it is working.
- Blinds or curtains to prevent people from seeing inside your home, particularly if you live in a ground-floor unit or on a busy street.
- A safe for valuables. However, ensure this is bolted down and can’t be easily carried off.
- Adequate lighting for your driveway and other entry points to your home.
- Motion sensor lights to boost this lighting and deter or startle would-be intruders and alert you (or your dog) to their presence.
Burglars often target homes that looks inhabited
6 safety tips to remember for outside the home:
- Would-be robbers often gain entry through ground floor doors and windows, so ensure these entry points are harder to penetrate.
- Cut back the trees and bushes around your home to prevent them from becoming hiding places for thieves.
- Trim the foliage around the entry points to your home to make them visible to neighbours and passers-by.
- Post stickers and alarm signs outside your home. Even if they are fake, they can still act as a deterrent.
- Ladders should always be locked away to prevent them from being used to gain access to upstairs windows or balconies.
- Be careful not to draw attention to new purchases by leaving the empty boxes of, say, a flat-screen television or laptop computer out on the pavement with your wheelie bin for the garbage collection.
Leaving the light on will help prevent burglaries
When you aren’t home or are away:
- Leave a light, the radio or TV on. Or leave some old shoes by the front door so it looks like someone is home.
- Don’t leave your keys under the door mat, in the pot plant or any other obvious place. Rather leave your spare keys with a neighbour or a trusted friend for emergencies.
- Don’t broadcast your holiday plans widely – for example, by telling local tradesmen or posting them on social media sites such as Facebook. Wait until you are safely home to share your photos.
- Trim your bushes and mow the lawn just before you go or get someone to do this while you are away. A well-groomed garden gives the impression that someone is home while overgrown grass suggests you may be away.
- Place your newspaper delivery on hold.
- Ask a trusted neighbour or a friend to collect your mail.
- Do not reveal your home address on your luggage label while on holidays.
- Consider using time switches so the house looks occupied at different times of the day.
- Take your wheelie bins in before you leave. Bins left outside for days could signal you are away.
Perhaps the best advice is not to let concerns about your home security get in the way of you enjoying life when you are at home, out and about or out of town.
What has changed since the Elizabethan era is the wide availability of quality home and contents insurance. Indeed, taking out insurance is probably one of the best investments you can make in securing your home and your valuables.
What are your tips for making your home safer? Join the conversation below.