We all deserve to feel safe in our own homes, yet many of us seem to forget to that keeping your home secure takes work.
It isn’t until we hear about a local robbery or read about a burglary in the paper that we start to think about how secure our homes really are, not realising that you may be leaving your belongings – and family – vulnerable.
If you’re worried your home may be at risk, make sure you are not committing any of the seven deadly sins of home security.
1. Hide and seek
Whether it’s under the doormat, a rock or hidden in the birdhouse, even the most inexperienced burglars know to hunt for a spare key. Even if you think your hiding place is ingenious and the key is perfectly camouflaged, there is always a chance someone could find it and simply walk in through the front door.
Managing director of LV home insurance, Selwyn Fernandes, says “burglars know that people tend to leave a spare key in a handful of places near their door and will often search these before attempting a break-in.
“Don’t make their job easier for them by leaving keys where they can easily be accessed.”
If you’re adamant about having a backup key somewhere, consider leaving one with a trusted neighbour or friend.
2. Easy access
Whilst this may sound obvious, closing and locking all doors and windows to your home is the first line of security for your home.
Particularly during the summer, people tend to leave a few windows cracked during the day to keep their home cool, and it can be easy to forget the deadbolt when you’re rushing out the door. These mistakes are easy to make, but they mean anyone could let themselves into your home.
Many insurers will also insist that for something to count as a burglary claim there must be signs of forced entry into your home. That means, for the simple mistake of leaving a window open, you could not only lose your possessions, but your home insurance company may not even pay out.
Consider investing in new windows that come with additional security features to ensure burglars are unable to force them open.
3. The lights are on but…
Another common home security mistake many homeowners make is making it obvious that they’re not at home.
Most burglars will target homes where they know the owner has gone away, particularly if you’re away for an extended period of time. They tend to watch potential houses for a few days before breaking in, taking note of any lights being turned on, post piling up and cars coming and going.
Try to create an illusion that someone is there, even if you’re only gone a night. Simple things such as leaving lights on in the home or having someone pop by to collect your post if you’re away a while will all help to deter burglars.
Leading on from the previous point, announcing to the world that your home is empty is never a good idea. With the majority of our lives now on social media, it may seem innocent enough to post about your holiday plans.
Whilst you may trust your online “friends”, there are countless horror stories of people returning from their holiday to find their homes have been burgled by people in their social network. Try to wait until you have returned from your trip before mentioning it on social media to make sure you don’t accidently invite burglars to stay.
5. In plain sight
Don’t give burglars a reason to break into your home by leaving expensive valuables where people can see them. When deciding on a property to burgle, criminals will more than likely peek through the window first.
Hide all valuable items properly and, if you buy any new appliances or games consoles, make sure you don’t leave the box outside for all to see.
6. Feeling insecure
If you were going to burgle a house, which would you target; the plain, innocent looking home or the one with ten security cameras, burglar alarms on every window and a hungry Rottweiler in the garden?
Too many homeowners worry about making their homes look pretty and forget that security should always come first. Even investing in fake security cameras can be enough to scare off small-time crooks, however more experienced burglars will be able to tell the difference.
Just make sure you have some kind of visible security in place to show criminals that your home will not be an easy target.
7. Turning a blind eye
How safe is your home, really? Did you get around to changing the outdoor light bulbs? How about the broken hinge on your window? Seemingly small home improvements can be easy to ignore, but they hold golden opportunities for those looking to steal your belongings.
Putting off these kinds of repairs may not seem like a big deal, but for a potential burglar looking at your property, they could present easy access points.
Be sure to look around your property every few months to check for areas for repair. If you find anything, make sure you get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible to keep your home secure.