Could do better?
We all want to protect our homes and what is inside them. Making our homes secure from burglary is usually a top priority when we first move in. In today’s busy world we then tend to focus on all the other jobs around the house, but most of us would benefit from a spring clean of our security measures. If you have just bought a nice new car, or fitted a wide screen TV that is visible from a front window, then maybe checking security should become a priority. A totally non-scientific poll in my local area suggests people who have just bought top of the range cars and have visible consumer electronics are to be more likely to be broken into. No surprises there.
From small acorns…
It is easy to think that the small things won’t make enough of a difference, so aren’t worth doing. But with home security the opposite is the case. Burglars don’t spend hours analysing which houses they should break into. They are opportunists, looking for an open window or some other easy entry point. After that, they are looking for some high value items that can be carried away and sold quickly. If the items can’t be tracked or traced then so much the better. So a few small changes may be enough to make a burglar move past your property looking for a more promising looking target. And there are some straightforward steps you can take to help the police identify your valuables if they are stolen.
So what are some simple improvements to make a burglar more likely to ignore your property? Most of them won’t come as a surprise:
- Don’t leave windows open when you are out.
- Keep valuables out of sight.
- Prune bushes and trees in front of your property, so burglars aren’t hidden from passers by.
- Leave lights on inside when you go out in the evening.
- Install a light above your front door, preferably linked to a motion sensor.
Some other jobs, more time consuming but well worthwhile if you haven’t done them, particularly as you may be able to get discounts on the cost of your home insurance policy:
- Fit good quality locks to the front door and accessible windows.
- Install a burglar alarm, if possible one linked to a monitoring station (or at least a “dummy” alarm box that looks real).
Can you track it? Can you prove it’s yours?
It is worth thinking through what you can do to help the police if you are burgled. Have you noted the serial numbers of your laptop and TV? Most of us have smartphones, we can quickly store serial numbers by taking a photo of them (store the photo in the cloud in case your phone is stolen!) Have you marked items that don’t have serial numbers? There are various ways we can invisibly mark our things, including ultra-violet marking pens. If you can pass on a list of serial numbers and marked items to the police, if your items are recovered then you may get them back.
Many people are aware we can track most smartphones, tablets and laptops and lock them remotely. Apple’s iCloud feature “Find My iPad” is an example. These features have to be set up before the item has been stolen, so a few minutes spent activating these could be well worth it.
Links in a chain
Then there is something old-fashioned, but still good, that we can all do – look out for our neighbours. Most of us like the idea of community, but it is not always easy to get to know people living around us. In my experience it has taken a long time, but has been worth the effort for its own sake. But if we know our neighbours, we can tell them if we see something that is an obvious security problem. Maybe we can even help them fix it. And they can help us. They are not going to do that if they don’t even know us.
PolicyCastle works to help its members with security
At PolicyCastle we know that our members care about the security of their homes. Most people know that improving security can help reduce insurance premiums, as well as being a good thing for peace of mind. We are working with insurers so that PolicyCastle members that take extra care about security can see extra discounts on their premiums.