We never know what kind of traumatic situations we may have to deal with in our homes. From fire to burglaries, preparing now can save a lot of money and heartache in the long run. It doesn’t have to be expensive to protect your home and there are many ways it can be done on a budget. Check out our handy guide below.
Have a neighbour collect your mail – if you are going to be away for more than a couple of days ask a neighbour to collect your mail. Nothing says your home is empty quite like a pile of mail.
Think like a Thief – walk around your home and look for weak spots that may be used by a criminal to gain access to your home. Better yet, have a friend do it.
Make sure all in the home understand the security – if you always lock the doors at night but your partner doesn’t, your home is not secure.
Have a friend look after your cat when away – if you are not home, your cat will in most cases sit in the window waiting for your return. Easy sign that nobody is home.
Small or big dog – a small dog, even a loud one won’t often stop a criminal and may get stolen too as they can fetch a good price. A big dog, even a quiet one will often make a burglar think twice.
Lock the pet door – if you have a pet door installed, make sure that it can be locked. If your dog can fit through, chances are so can a person.
Keep plants and bushes trimmed – don’t offer any chance for a criminal to hide whilst trying to gain access to your property.
Don’t leave expensive items outside your home – if you have a garage use it.
Related: Garage Security Tips
Don’t leave empty packaging outside – if you have just had a new TV delivered, don’t put the empty box out until your bins are getting collected.
Keep gates locked – easy to forget but adds an extra hurdle for criminals.
Keep your shed secure – don’t just lock it up but make sure that your shed is structurally strong.
Make sure all windows are closed and locked when you leave – your home probably has plenty of windows but a criminal would much rather an open window than having to break one.
Add thorny plants under windows – if somebody wants to break in, make it as uncomfortable for them as possible.
Use curtains – a criminals job is made easier if they know what is inside.
Add privacy film to exterior doors – this will make everything blurry when looked through.
Install deadbolt – the deadbolts are harder to break than other locks. Be sure to add a simlock to make sure that the lock can’t be picked.
Reinforce door strike plate – The strike plate is the metal plate that the deadbolt slides into. Check that the screws reinforcing the strike plate are 3 inches long, which will make it much sturdier.
Minimal glass in doors – Glass doors can be broken, and so can small windows on doors. A criminal can reach through and access the doorknob to gain access to your home.
Install a spy hole (peephole) – this will make it easier to see who’s at the door before you open it.
Motion sensor lighting and flood lights – these are a good deterrent for anybody that might try to snoop around at night.
Timers on inside lights – this can help to make it look like somebody is home when you are away. Don’t have the lights always come on at the same time each day as criminals can and will catch on.
Spare key lockbox – instead of leaving the spare key in an obvious place, consider purchasing a spare key lockbox.
New locks on new homes – if you have just purchased a new property, change out the locks ASAP as you never know who else has a set of keys.
Install a safe inside your home – there are many options out there but consider one that can be bolted to the floor.
Shred your papers – the papers containing sensitive information that you throw away may be all that the criminals are after. They are more valuable than you realise. Always use a paper shredder before throwing them out.
Keep records – If you have insurance, and you do get broken into, it will help to replace your belongings. Store it in a secure location, like a safe.
Install a letter cage – if you have a letter slot in your door, some burglars have been known to use a long stick or similar device to fish your nearby keys off a table and through the letter slit. A cage on the inside of your door not only collects mail but will also prevent this.
Home alarm stickers – no criminal wants to take the chance of breaking in and setting off an alarm. Even if you haven’t had the chance to install alarms yet, the stickers may be enough of a deterrent.
Beware of the dog sign – again, even if you don’t have a dog, it will make anybody think twice.
Fake cameras – if you can’t afford a real setup, dummy cameras are available that look just like the real thing.
Battery door and window alarms – these are small but noisy alarms that can be attached to windows and doors. They give off a loud noise when a door or window opens and the alarm unit’s magnetic strip breaks contact with the frame.
Secure your WiFi – As cyber criminals become more common, your sensitive information becomes more likely to get stolen through the Internet.
Install surveillance system – this option is on the pricier side, but it can definitely give piece of mind. Additionally, modern systems are Internet connected, allowing you to check cameras from your phone while you’re away.
Sliding door bar – if you have sliding patio doors you should consider purchasing a patio door security bar.
Door stop alarm – an inexpensive option for an alarm is to get a door stop alarm.
In order to prepare against fire, consider the following:
- Make sure all smoke detectors are in working order. Along with these, make sure to install carbon monoxide detectors.
- Use surge protectors.
- Have fire extinguishers on each level of the home and understand how to use them.
- Sprinklers – these are pricey but better that than have to replace everything else after a fire.