Most people like to think of their home as their castle, but is it really secure? When you depart for work, school or just a night out, is there any guarantee that when you get back you won’t find that you’ve been robbed, or worse find a group of squatters occupying your property?
Your home should be a sanctuary where you can feel safe and have total control over who can get to you and your family. There are plenty of preventative measures you can take on even a basic level to keep your home secure, and in these troubled modern times, particularly in urban centres like London, you might want to consider not just automated systems and alarms but a real security guard to patrol the area and keep an eye on your property for you.
Although most home invasions may seem random, burglars and squatters will actually make a conscious choice based on an unoccupied house with easy access, a good amount of cover and (especially in the case of burglars) a rapid escape route. With this in mind, there are some easy things you can do to make your home immediately unattractive to potential break-ins and other invaders.
First, make your home difficult to enter! Most home invaders enter via the front or back doors or through the garage, and they are often clever enough to check in parked cars for keys and other valuables so keep your car locked even if it is in a garage. Make sure you have decent, high quality locks on your exterior doors, and don’t leave spare keys lying about in obvious or visible places schlüsseldienst in der nähe.
If you have sliding glass patio or conservatory doors this is a particularly vulnerable point as these doors are secured with latches, not true locks, and are easier to force open. Ask your local DIY store or locksmith for a “charley bar” blocking device, or make one yourself using a length of wooden doweling stuck into the sliding track, to prevent this from happening.
Windows are similarly vulnerable, especially on the ground floor. Make sure open windows cannot be opened wider from the outside by using latches or blocks, and check yourself that it is not possible to reach in through the window and remove the blocks from the outside – less than six inch gap is normally okay. If you have any windows which are particularly accessible due to tree branches, fences or external stairways, take extra effort to secure these and consider putting some high visibility stickers on which warn of guard dogs or alarm systems. These are not to be underestimated as a deterrent!
Be a good neighbour! As well as formal neighbourhood watch schemes, which are a great crime preventative, you can get to know your neighbours on either side of your home as well as across the street. Establish trust and good communication and the whole street will soon have a more reliable alarm system than anything money can buy.
Light timers are inexpensive and having lights on in your empty house in the evening, even briefly to conserve electricity, acts as a valuable deterrent by making the residence seem occupied. Exterior lighting is also very important, especially around entryways and parking spaces or garages. Most burglars or other invaders won’t want to be seen or identified so will steer clear of places which are brightly lit at night.
You can take things one step further and install a professional alarm system or even hire a professional security guard to patrol your street or apartment block as a highly visual deterrent to criminals (as well as a guarantee of rapid response help should anyone nearby need it). Just remember that even a few very basic and inexpensive tips can make all the difference in the world when it comes to which house a burglar or squatter will choose to invade.