Home burglaries are a fact of life but seem to be on the rise in the last 12 months.
The good news is that there are plenty of simple, low-cost steps you can take to greatly reduce your chance of getting burgled. Remember, it’s all about making your home a harder target to break into than other people’s.
- Door locks
Have key-operated two-cylinder deadlocks fitted to all external hinged doors. A quality knob-inlock set will have a ‘dead latch’ mechanism to stop burglars using a credit card to open it.
A favorite point of entry for burglars! Fit key operated locks or patio bolts to all external sliding doors, such as patio/veranda doors.
Sliding doors can also be made more secure by inserting a wood or metal dowel into the track to limit movement.
An open window, visible from the street, may be the only reason that your home is chosen by a burglar. Ground floor windows are more susceptible for obvious reasons.
Make sure you have a security grill, security screen or burglar bars applied to all accessible windows, or alternatively have key-operated single cylinder window locks fitted.
- Warning stickers
Place highly visible stickers on or near front doors and windows, which indicate an alarm system, dog or membership of neighborhood watch. Your local police station should have an anti-crime adviser who can help provide these.
- Light timers
Install light timers to switch on automatically if you aren’t home when it gets dark, or have gone away for a few days. The timers should mimic when you would usually switch lights on or off. They are not expensive and are available at most hardware stores.
- Exterior lighting
Exterior lighting is also a good deterrent, provided it is switched on and off as though someone is at home. Make sure the approach to your house, especially any entryway, is brightly lit, controlled by a light timer if necessary.
- Motion sensor lights
These are useful to install, especially at the back of a house or apartment. Infra-red motion sensor lights are also easily available and not very expensive. An unexpected light going on is a definite deterrent to a burglar who will wonder what other security devices you have in place.
- Alarm systems
Burglar alarms definitely increase the potential and fear of being caught by the police.
- Home safes
Burglars know all the hiden holes to look for keys, valuables and important documents. The price of a good home safe is falling, so setting one up could be a good investment. Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving, and should not be kept in the master bedroom or cupboard.
- Protect your ID
It’s a good idea to take photographs around your house of all your valuables – important proof for an insurance claim if you ever need to make one.
Receipts for bigger ticket items are also useful to keep for the same reason.
Consider taking photocopies of your passport, driver’s license and all the cards in your wallet and store these in a safe place.