During the height of the pandemic last 2020, many of us thought that we would be cooped up in our homes for only a couple of weeks. In the course of a few months, crimes such as aggravated assaults and robberies in neighbourhoods lowered drastically. While it’s great that we can expect fewer break-ins and home invasions, we shouldn’t lower our guards down.
Instead, we can use this time to beef up our home security alongside our physical health. Here, we list down seven practical ways you can protect your family from external threats. Whether you are a new homeowner, a long-term renter, or something in between, these tips are for you.
Know your home
As you live in your home, you should be responsible for knowing its security strengths and weaknesses. While it would be great if a house didn’t have any blind spots, it would be more practical to them.
You should know your home in and out, starting with your curb and yard. Being mindful of the things that you leave outside can tell a burglar or porch pirate what kinds of items you have inside your home. Perhaps, you leave packages outside on your porch without bringing them in immediately. This might tell outsiders that you lack a sense of urgency and couldn’t care less about your possessions.
Aside from this, check if your yard has any potential hiding spots. Large trees or bushes near your doors or windows give robbers a vantage point of your house, so make sure that these foliage are trimmed regularly. The same can also be said if you have a garage or a shack that intruders can easily hide in. Once you know where burglars can hide, check if your windows offer a view of the valuables inside your home. If you have a home security system, make sure that it’s not in an area where anyone has access to it.
Know your surroundings
This comes as a must before buying or renting out a new home, but pay attention to your neighbourhood. Many thieves study the residents’ habits and routines, making sure to strike when you aren’t present in your home or asleep. If you’re going out of town, ask your neighbour to pick up the mail for you to prevent curious porch pirates from going onto your lawn.
Secure entry points
Most of the time, intruders simply turn the knob on our front door and enter our homes. To prevent this, make sure that your door frames and hinges are not susceptible to break-ins.
If the house was previously owned by someone else, the first step is to change the door locks and install a deadbolt. This way, you won’t have strangers entering your place with a similar key. Another great way to avoid intruders is to use a smart lock. These types of locks are an essential pairing with a home automation system, as you can control access to your home from your phone.
The same can also be said with your window sills. Previous homeowners may have left the windows shut but unlocked. Aside from adding better window locks, it’s also important to install a security film or bars that prevent intruders from entering. It is also helpful to install window sensors, so that your phone notifies you if someone is outside of your window.
Light up your home
If you go out of town or leave the house for a quick errand, it’s important to make your house look lived in. You can put your lights on a timer or ask a close friend or house sitter to park their car in your driveway. More often than not, making your home look and feel occupied discourages robbers from trying to enter the perimeter.
Outdoor lighting can also deter criminals from stepping onto your porch. Make sure to place lights around your front and back yards, near the garage and driveway, and also the path that leads up to your front door. It is also more effective if they’re fitted with motion sensors.
Install security cameras
Along with setting up lights around your property, it’s also important to install security cameras around your home. We recommend using a security camera with a mobile app so that you can check them in real-time.
Build a rapport with your neighbours
Your safety is also the safety of your neighbours, so work together as a community and collaborate on safety solutions everyone can apply. Some neighbourhoods set up a watch system to prevent crime in their homes. Others might set up a group chat, where residents may share any security news or tips that they learned. As most of us are cooped up in our homes, you can take this opportunity to get to know the people you’re living next to.
The people living next door will be one of the first people you will call when you run into a security issue. To build a trusting relationship, there’s no better way to make a good impression than being polite and mindful of the noise you make when you’re out on the porch. While it’s good to share important information with your neighbour, make sure you’re not oversharing and overstep any boundaries.
Teach your kids and loved ones
If you’re living with elderly or minors, make sure that they know and follow the security protocols of the home. This goes for simpler rules such as verifying someone’s identity before letting them into the house or double-checking if the doors and windows are locked. You’re also teaching your children valuable lessons for when they grow older.
We have listed down seven recommendations, but you don’t need to install your entire home security system immediately. Applying at least one or two of these steps already helps you a great deal.