- Make sure all external doors and windows are fitted with secure, key-operated locks
- Keep your home insurance policy up to date
- Have any defective or faulty locks replaced immediately
- Keep your keys out of sight and avoid keeping them near the door or near the letterbox where they could be easily reached.
- Get into the habit of locking the doors when going to bed, when you’re doing garden-work or leaving your home unattended.
- Ensure that any high value items, such as a TV or laptops, cannot be seen through the window by any passers-by. (Also, consider adding these items to your content insurance.)
- Take time-stamped photos of any valuable items you keep in your home, particularly jewellery. This can help Gardaí in their efforts to recover the stolen items.
- Install a timer to turn your lights off and on at varying intervals when you are leaving your home unattended for a significant period of time.
- Install a visible burglar alarm
- Be smart with where you hide your spare key – under the doormat will be one of the first places a burglar will check.
Many of us associate the winter season with a heightened risk of burglary, but the unfortunate truth is that opportunistic thieves will attempt to take advantage of poor home security habits all year round. For that reason, it’s important to be security-conscious all year round and not allow yourself to get lazy when it comes to burglary prevention during the brighter months.
When thinking about home security, there’s three main aspects you should consider – what you can do inside your home to make it more secure; what you can do outside your home to make it more secure; and what you should do before going on holiday/leaving your home unattended for a lengthy period of time.
Security inside the home
Get locked up: Fit key-operated locks to all the doors and windows in your home. Get into the habit of using them when you’re leaving your home unattended and also checking that all locks are still functional at regular intervals throughout the year.
Think prevention, not cure: Installing a burglar alarm will help alert your neighbours if anyone breaks into your home while you’re away, but fitting it in a visible location can be even more beneficial as this will act as a further deterrent.
Hide your valuables: Many of us are conscious of keeping smaller, high-value items (such as a watch or jewellery) hidden away, but it’s important to be just as careful with the larger valuables. When deciding where to put your TV or where you’ll keep your laptop/tablet when not in use, make sure that they can’t be easily seen through the window by and passers-by.
Security outside the home
Install a visible burglar alarm: Not only will this help protect your home, the presence of a burglar alarm will also act as a deterrent and make potential burglars think twice about attempting to enter your home. If you don’t have an alarm in place, check out our handy guide on what to consider when buying a burglar alarm.
Put away your gardening equipment: No, this isn’t about keeping the area outside your home tidy but instead ensuring you’re not making the burglar’s life easier. Garden tools can be used to break a window or force entry to your home, so it’s important not to leave these strewn across the garden. Similarly, keep any valuable tools stored somewhere secure or they could be picked up by an opportunistic passer-by.
Consider external lighting: Keeping the outside of your home well-lit can act as a deterrent to potential burglars as it will make it more difficult for them to enter the property without being noticed.
Put yourself in the burglar’s shoes: It can be a good idea to keep a spare key hidden outside your home in case of emergency, but try to be creative when choosing your hiding spot. Burglars will know to check common places such as under a doormat or in a plant pot by the front door.
What to do before you head away
Trust thy neighbour: While you’re away, ask a trusted neighbour or family friend to keep an eye on your home. It can also be a good idea to ask them to collect any post or items delivered to your property so it doesn’t collect at the front door.
Be careful with social media: When it comes to going on holiday, we all get a little joy out of telling friends and family members of our plans and making them jealous. However, you should be careful about discussing your plans in public near strangers or mentioning it on social media to avoid information, such as when and how long you are away for, falling into the wrong hands.
Leave a light on: Before you leave, consider fitting a timer to lights or lamps in your home so that they can turn on and off at various times throughout the day. This will help give the illusion that someone is at home and may scare off any potential intruders.