The sensible things you can do to maintain your home security
All too often we think of home security as being quite technical; alarms, CCTV, fancy apps etc. While it certainly can be high tech, a lot of protecting your home comes down to common sense. Here are some ‘best practice’ tips to keep your home safe.
Conduct a key audit
Keys get misplaced, we leave them with neighbours when we go on holiday, with tradesmen when we’re having work done and we keep spares stashed around the house for emergencies. All this means that there may well be several copies of our keys out there. It’s a good idea to conduct a periodic key audit where you consider all the house keys that exist and where they are. This should highlight any keys that could be in the possession of people who don’t need them (builders, cleaners etc). It should also tell you whether there are any keys not accounted for. You can then request that keys are returned or perhaps consider whether it would be a sensible precaution to get the locks changed. Remember as well that if you have recently moved there, the previous occupants could have had multiple keys that are unaccounted for.
Once you have accounted for all your keys it makes sense to make a list of them all and perhaps even assign each a number (which can be marked on a keyring) or a colour (using key caps). That way you keep track of who has what key and you can make sure it’s returned if given out temporarily (eg to a neighbour).
If you do keep spares in the house, make sure they are well hidden (and that you check fairly regularly that they’re still there) and never keep one under a plant pot for emergencies (burglars know where to look!).
Keep your spare safe key safe (but not in the safe!)
Security safes usually come with 2 keys so that you have a spare should you lose the first key. As illogical as it may be, we often get calls from people who have lost their safe key and their spare safe key is… (yes, you’ve guessed it)… in the safe. It seems too obvious to need to explain but if you don’t have your main key you’re not going to be able to get into the safe for your spare. Keep it well hidden elsewhere, just make sure you remember where you put it.
A safe is a great place for storing your spare house keys and your car keys. Especially keyless ignition car keys as it will protect them from relay theft.
Just keep doors locked
We all think that our homes are most vulnerable to burglary when we’re out, and we generally are, but but actually 28% of burglaries happen when there’s someone in the house and 30% are classed as insecure burglaries – where access is gained via an unlocked door or open window. Keeping doors locked all the time will protect you from sneak in thefts.
Change default passwords on security apps
Many security measures, such as CCTV and intruder alarms, have the option of an app which can be used to check things remotely such as camera feeds or whether the alarm is set. These will require a password to log in with and all will come with a default code such as 0000 or 1234. These should be changed as soon as possible, otherwise they could be easily hacked. That could mean that someone else could be watching your property through your cameras or even unset your alarm.
If you’re out, don’t tell everyone you’re out!
Just as you wouldn’t leave a note on your door telling people you’re out, neither should you publicise the news in any other way. We’re talking about social media of course. While it’s tempting to check in while you’re out and about or talk about your upcoming holidays, just remember that would-be intruders scour the internet for such valuable information.
Don’t leave valuables on display
Your windows could be the equivalent of a shop display if you leave desirable items in sight. Car keys, phones, laptops, cash and jewellery could all tempt an opportunist thief if they can easily be seen from outside. Keep them out of sight and preferably in a safe.
These things are just common sense that should be obvious but aren’t always. Stick this ‘best practice’ and your home will be much more secure.