Home Security from The Outside

Home security is something that we are all concerned about, particularly those of us who don’t live in incredibly rural surroundings and those of us who have families to protect or precious belongings to secure. There are a lot of things that go into consideration and the layout and or features of your home as well as your own preferences, location and situation will all have an impact on how far you want to take your security. Different people, with different incomes, jobs and environments will think of home security in varying ways, some taking it very seriously and some thinking on it lightly. However; it is always a good idea to have more security in place than you need.

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Lock yourself out;

It happens to the best of us – we misplace our keys, leave them somewhere or just generally forget about them and end up standing outside our homes wondering how we will ever be able to enter again while waiting for your most trusted emergency contact to arrive with their keys to let you in. The thing to remember is that if your, drunk, confused and exhausted, and can figure out a way to break into your home after a night out on the town, then a professional looking to take your valuables will certainly be able to do it.

Take a walk around your property and think about all the ways someone might be able to get in and take a note of them. Consider windows and doors, not only whether you tend to leave them unlocked but also how thick the glass is, how old the locks are, how old the frameworks are and so on and so forth. Make a note of everything that is a potential weakness and if you think it could be cause for concern don’t doubt yourself; just write it down.

You’re going to have to think like a thief and ensure you consider all of the possibilities. If it meant getting away with a new PS4 and the latest games from your child’s bedroom I’m sure they’d have no concerns about climbing a tree and breaking the window.

Note: spare key under the plant-pot is a definite no. If you regularly lock yourself out of the house by accident think about keeping a spare in your car, giving a spare to a trusted neighbour or turning your key into a necklace or bracelet you are unlikely to forget so often.

Deal with the obvious problems;

It’s pretty basic, or at least you would have thought so, but people don’t always consider dealing with the problems straight away. Just because no one has forced their way in through your windows for the two years you have been living at the property does not mean that you can leave it another two years before fixing the problem. Even if you have to replace your windows it is surely worth taking the time and effort to deal with the issues quickly rather than giving a potential thief time to finalise their plans.

I have seen properties where new glass panes have been fitted that are almost impossible to shatter, locks installed that need two keys to open from the inside, and yet the windows had rotted wooden frames. So in short no; those attempting to enter could not smash the window open, but it would have only taken about half an hour to dig the window out of the frame.

Double Glazing – harder to break and better for energy efficiency in your home, as well as being pretty affordable these days. If you don’t already have double glazing you should really think about getting it.

Heavy Door – the doors connecting your house to the outside world should be heavier and stronger than those connecting the rooms inside your home. A bedroom door is easily broken if you kick it with a bit of force, and you certainly wouldn’t want that to be the case with your front door. If they can kick through the thin wooden panels of the door then any amount of money you have spent on locks and chains can be considered a complete waste.

Lock & Keys – spend a little time thinking about how many keys to your house are floating around. Who of your friends and family have keys? Do they really need them? Does everyone living with you always remember to lock the doors and windows? One of the first things a burglar will check is your doors and ground floor windows for one that has been left unlocked or slightly open. Make sure you always lock up properly when you leave.

Outdoor Lights – having motion sensitive outdoor lights is a great way of deterring thieves before they actually create a problem. The reason why most burglaries occur at night is because it makes it much harder to identify the thief if they were only seen briefly in the dark, an outdoor light would illuminate them and thus acts as a deterrent. Even if it doesn’t stop them there is a greatly increased chance of identifying them and getting your goods back.

Consider your circumstances;

How urgent are your security needs? How secure do you really need to be? Start by considering who you might be a target of, is it simple burglary you’re trying to protect against or is there a more sinister danger there? There are plenty of people, particularly those in the bracket of high earners, who feel more concerned about the safety and protection of their families and properties than the typical people.

Do you have a garden or yard? If you have an outdoor space you may want to think about protecting that as much as your home, it provides an extra layer of protection and will make you more confident about the safety of your family when they are using that space. There are some particularly good sources that will help you to find the right garden security techniques to suit your space.

Do you have pets? Dogs in particular can be a great way of keeping your home safe, most dogs will bark and deter burglars, and some will even chase them away. Of course if you do have a dog you’re going to have to think about the additional security involved; if you have a dog door does is lock securely? A dog door can be a weakness in your property, however there are a number of very secure options for these including those that are unlocked by a fob on the dog’s collar or those that can be locked manually like a window. The bigger the dog the bigger the door and the bigger the risk, even if it means spending a little extra be sure that you go with the secure option.

Is there a particular risk to your family? Think about the people you know, those with incredibly high security needs, know anyone like that? One of my close friends is the son of a large business owner; a millionaire. Visiting him includes passing a gate onto the property, at which you can either input a password or use the intercom to be granted access, then when you reach the home there is a key fob system in place of a normal lock on the door and inside the entrance is an alarm system, which requires a different password to enter the home. Why? Because he is a rich man with a lot to protect, you don’t really understand just how seriously they take security until a wealthy businessman informs you that he has called his lawyer to have your name listed in his ransom preparedness plan because you have been close to his family long enough to be at risk.

It is a scary world, not everyone can be trusted and the more you have, sadly, the more people will want to take from you. If you wish to ensure your safety, the protection of your property and belongings and most importantly the safety of those you care about then your home’s security is certainly something you’re going to have to consider. Of course the typical working man won’t need three password systems and security guards, but everyone can benefit from the basics.

Set up your own CCTV;

Still concerned but don’t want to pay a lot of money to have CCTV cameras set up around your home? It’s actually surprisingly simple to set up a CCTV system of your own, and you can use just a few basic materials that are available. You will need a computer or laptop and an external USB webcam and possible USB extension cables. The webcam will cost you £5 to £30, depending on the quality of image you want. USB extension cable will cost £1 – £10, depending on the type and length you purchase; both of these products can be found easily and cheaply on Amazon.

Set the camera up so that it looks at the main entrance to your property (the gate to your yard or maybe looking down on your front door), if you want to be particularly secure you can set up a second camera at the back door too. The best results will come from placing the camera on the outside, but you will probably need an expert to help you run the wire outside and you’re going to have to put a small ledge or something similar above the camera to protect it from the weather.

Use the USB extension cable to run the connection from the camera to your computer and install a free webcam security software (iSpy Connect is a good one). Many of these are open source but give you the opportunity to pay for additional features, such as SMS alerts when the camera detects motion. You can usually login to view the live feed using the internet and you can generally set these up to display a feed at all times as well as start recording for a set period of time after detecting movement.

Still worried?

If you’re still concerned about the safety of your home you can always contact a residential security expert – they are often willing to come out to your home and go over your current security weaknesses with you, as well as explaining how these can be resolved. For most people this is not a requirement, however if you have particular concerns or if you are looking to rent out your property it can make things look and feel that little bit better for you.

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