Today we are featuring Nathan Hughes as a guest post. He’s a locksmith and in the business of keeping families safe. He has some great tips for keeping our homes safe. Thank you Nathan.
In my line of work, I see a lot of break-ins. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a family who has recently had their valuables stolen and their sense of safety rattled.
Particularly, for those of us who work from home, it can have a major impact if a computer or essential business equipment is taken. My whole business is on my laptop. Heaven forbid that it gets stolen!
Often I can see that these tragic incidents can be easily avoided with some tweaking of their home security. Here are my top tips for keeping your home and family safe and secure.
Check Your Front And Back Door
The main entrances to your home are your first line of defence against unwanted intruders, so make sure they are up to the challenge!
Your front and back door should be made of solid wood or metal construction. Windows can easily be smashed in, and flimsy wooden doors can be kicked in. By having solid doors, this will greatly reduce the chance of forced entry.
Support your solid door with a high-quality lock. A double cylinder deadbolt is an excellent option. Don’t go with a cheap lock from your local hardware store. A quality lock will start at around $100 and should be installed by a professional.
For an added level of security, install a screen door. A screen door also has the added benefit of allowing fresh air into the house and still maintain the security of your home.
Make sure you teach your children not to answer the door without an adult nearby. Install a peephole on your front door, so you and the kids can see who is on the other side.
And lastly, lock the door! This may seem obvious, however, this is one of the biggest causes of break-ins. Make sure you lock all doors and windows before you leave home. You may have the security of Fort Knox, but it’s useless if you leave the front door open.
Check Your Alarm Is Working
When was the last time you checked your alarm? If you don’t have an alarm, get one installed immediately. A security alarm is one of the best deterrents against break-ins.
If you do have an alarm, make sure that everything is working correctly. Is the battery charging? Are all the sensors working? Are the sensors clear and not impeded by anything?
If you kids are old enough, teach them how to use the alarm system. Have a simple security passcode that can be remembered by the children.
Make sure you turn your alarm on every time you leave home. Add a last minute check of window locks, doors locks and the security alarm to your routine every time you leave.
Get Security Lighting Installed
The last thing a criminal wants is to be seen caught in the act.
Security lighting is excellent at keeping criminals away from your property. When a sensor detects movement, it activates a light which illuminates an area.
As a minimum, security lighting should be installed at the main entrances to your house and property. If your budget allows, I also recommend installing security lighting near potential hiding places around your property.
Advertise Your Home Is Secure
If your house is secure, make sure you let criminals know. They will think twice about breaking in.
Post up security signs in obvious places around your property. This can include your front door and near your mailbox.
Keep the signs generic. Don’t mention the make, model or manufacturer. This information can be used by more experienced burglars to bypass you security system.
Remove Potential Hiding Places
Objects and bushes near windows or doors provide the perfect cover for someone trying to break in. Make it harder for criminals and remove any potential hiding places from doors, windows and other areas around your property.
If you have large shrubs near your house that you don’t want to remove, make sure you keep them trimmed and tidy.
Have a bit of fun with this, and take the kids for a walk around the yard and see if they can find some good hiding places. A game of hide-and-seek with the kids may open your eyes to hiding places you didn’t even think of.
Know Your Neighbours
How well do you know your neighbours? Your neighbours can often be the best security for you home. They can keep an eye out and raise the alarm with the authorities if there is any suspicious behaviour around your home.
Do you have a habit of leaving a spare key hidden around your yard? Most criminals are aware of this and will often look in the most obvious places. Don’t give thieves easy access to your home. If you have a bad habit of locking yourself out, consider giving a spare key to a trusted neighbour instead of risking it to the pot plant or front door mat.
If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, keep their number on a list of emergency numbers your kids can call if you are not available. They can help the kids need help and you are not home.
Also, consider joining your local neighbourhood watch.
Don’t Attach Personal Details To Your Keys
A lot of people put details such as their name, address or telephone number on their keys in the case they lose them. However, would be thieves can use this information to find out where you live and easily enter your home.
Don’t include these details on your keys. It is cheaper to get a new key cut than to replace stolen goods.
Don’t Show Off Things Of Value
Burglars often check out a property to see if there is anything worth breaking in for.
Make it hard for criminals and keep curtains and blinds closed, particularly at night and when you leave home. If they can’t see in, they will likely not risk it and move onto the next person.
If you have recently bought something, such a new plasma tv, make sure you keep the box hidden. A box on the side of the road awaiting pickup is a clear indicator that you have something of value in your home.
Also, keep valuables such as jewelry, cash and car keys out of plain sight of the window.
Get A Safe
A safe can add an extra level of security to your home. It is an excellent last line of defence against someone who has broken into your home.
Keep smaller valuables and documents such as jewellery, cash, passports and birth certificates in a quality fireproof safe.
Get A Professional Home Security Check
Depending on which suburb you live in, some police may offer a home security check service. If not, ask your local locksmith.
Police and locksmiths are kept up to date with local patterns in crime. They know the best way to secure your home against intruders.
They can provide a home security assessment and give you tailored advice to securing your home.
About The Author
Nathan Hughes is a founder of Locksmiths In Sydney. They help families and business owners feel safe and secure. Check out his simple free home security checklist to securing your home against intruders.