Feeling secure in your home is important; that is why how to secure the Home is often the number one question on the minds of Homeowners and Renters. Burglars case a neighbourhood before they rob it. They know when you are not at home and use that chance to break into your home.People lose valuable items to burglars most often because their homes are not well secured. So what can you do to make your home more secure?
- Secure the Doors and Windows
Burglars often make their way into people’s homes through their doors and windows. Making sure your doors and windows are secure can help to put burglars off. Always lock your doors and windows and make sure they are in good condition. A peephole or door viewer should be installed on every accessible exterior door.Door viewers help you to see who is at the front door before you open it. They are especially useful for vulnerable groups such as older people. Standard conventional peepholes only give a very limited view whereas a door viewer provides a larger panoramic view of what’s lurking outside. Investing in a good security door should keep intruders at bay.
Windows and glass panes should be treated with a burglar resistant film along with window locking hardware. Doors and windows must be securely fixed to their frames. The frames should be strong and securely fixed to the wall. In Ghana, most of the glass windows have an iron burglar proof bars nicely designed and attached to prevent intruders from passing through them. These days some burglars have crafted a creative way of cutting these iron bars or passing through them. I would advise that these iron bars are thinly spaced to prevent intruders from passing through them. There are a variety of locks available to fit all windows, whether they are wood, metal or PVC framed. Make sure the lock is fitted correctly and in a position where it will have the most effect.
If burglars can see window locks it may put them off because the noise of breaking glass would attract attention. Secure window air conditioning units by using a bracket or sliding window lock to prevent thieves from simply pushing in the unit and entering.
2. Well Lit Exterior and Landscape Lighting
Nearly two-thirds of burglaries occur during the day but it’s essential to keep the outdoor of your house very well illuminated during the night. Good home lighting and security lighting in the right places can put burglars off. Motion sensitive lights are best. They startle criminals, and they also draw your attention and that of your neighbours.Make sure you have lighting at the front and the back of your house.Porchlights help keeps you and your loved ones safe. You don’t fumble for keys or the lock when the light is on; instead, you’re inside the door within moments. The light also deters home burglars who won’t enter a home that looks occupied.Even if you are out, pretend you are at home. Leave lights on in the evenings when you go out and use timers to switch on lights and radios when you are away from home. Good lighting in your street or area around your house can also help to put off burglars and make you feel safer.
3. Invest in a Good Security System
All homes should have some form of security system, whether it’s a basic camera installation or a fully monitored smart system. Evaluate the needs for your area and choose a system you are comfortable with. Alarm systems range from extremely complex and expensive for those that provide offsite monitoring and mobile access, to relatively cheap for door and window alarms you can install yourself. While more features might make your home marginally safer, know that merely having any sort of alarm system is usually enough to deter burglars.Choose a home security system that uses motion detectors and arms all doors and windows. Whether using a monitoring service or not. There are many other features you can get – pressure mats under rugs to detect footsteps, closed circuit TV systems, broken glass sensors, or pressure sensors that detect when someone is trying to kick in a door – but motion detectors and magnetic door and window contacts are usually sufficient to detect a break in. Never post your passcode near the home security alarm keypad. Always use your system, even when you take a quick trip to the store or visit neighbours. Put signs in the front and rear of your house, as well as stickers in any windows you are worried about.
4. Get a Dog
Never underestimate the security benefits of a good size house dog. Dogs are loud, hard to spot and they bite. Their barking can even make burglars save the hassle and hit the next house.Most homeowners and renters in Ghana have Pet dogs that guard their homes during their absence and at night. The dogs are kept it their kernels and released at night. Good guard dogs that possess the characteristics needed to best ward off unwanted intruders includes Bullmastiffs, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler and Shepherd just to name a few. A dog is a big responsibility, but they are very effective at deterring burglars. Even nailing a “Beware of the dog” sign on your main gate or fence can make burglars pause before targeting your home. However, to make a dog an effective deterrent, you need to train it well.
5. Keep Your Keys Safe.
The only thing worse than leaving your door unlocked is letting an intruder have your home keys.Don’t keep a hidden key outside your house. Thieves know the most likely hiding places, so whether it is under a mat, in a flowerpot, or hidden under a rock, they will probably find it. Keep your keys, including your car keys, in a safe place. Don’t leave them in the locks or lying around the house. Don’t carry house keys on a key ring bearing your home address or leave house keys in your car in a commercial parking lot or with an attendant. Don’t post pictures of your keys on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media websites. Keep keys in a pocket, purse, or anything else worthy of guarding your credit cards.
6. Be Careful When Having Handymen/Workers in Your Home
You need to be extra vigilant when inviting people into your home for repairs, maintenance and other contract work. Burglars can also pose as handymen. They do this in order to gain access to the home and secure the trust of homeowners so they can case their properties and eventually rob them. Home improvement projects give workers and handymen ample time to case your home and they might pass on the information to criminals. Be sure to ask potential contractors if their employees are subject to criminal background checks. Do not leave them unsupervised anytime they come around. A Recent report says some burglars have crafted a new plan of knocking on people’s doors, claiming to be coming from either the water or electricity companies and their intentions are to check on the meters of unsuspecting victims. Only to rob them at gunpoint when they gain access into the homes.It is very important to check the service ids of these workers and certify that they are truly from these service companies before you let them into your homes.
7. Secure Your Valuables
Don’t leave anything on display that may tempt a burglar to break in.Criminals want to get in and out of homes as quickly as possible.Make it difficult for them by hiding or securing valuables. Stash jewelry or cash in places where thieves are unlikely to look. Consider buying a small safe that bolts to the floor or an external wall. This will not only keep them secure but also safe from the likes of fire etc.
8. Meet the Neighbours
In tight-knit communities, people look out for each other. Neighbours can report suspicious activity at your home and you can return the favour.They know the area and can help keep an eye on your home when you’re away — but they can’t do that if they don’t know you. Tell a dependable neighbour or two when you plan to be away, and ask them to keep an eye on your house. Make an effort to meet your new neighbours and form good relationships so you’ll have people to rely on.
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Securing your home is not enough; you need to have a plan in case they fail. Sit down with your family and come up with a simple routine to help secure your home. Set rules for opening the door for strangers, locking the doors and windows whenever you leave, and using the alarm system. Make sure your kids know what to do should a break-in occur and have an exit strategy in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Written by: Bertha Gwumah
Marketing Officer, Emerald Properties
Credits: techhive, consumer reports