Protecting your home is one of life’s most pressing priorities. There’s an ongoing need to keep your home, family, and priceless possessions safe – especially with government statistics about burglary revealing there were more than 1.3 million household thefts in England and Wales during 2018 (an 8% rise from the previous year).
Don’t worry though – we’ve got you covered. From defensive home security tips to more proactive steps, these are the best ways to protect against a traumatic and costly attack on your home. Make sure to also fill in the form at the top of this page to see what deals you can get on home security.
What are the best home security tips?
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1. Lock everything
When it comes to home security tips, this may sound obvious – and with reason – but locking all of your most common entry points has to be step one on your checklist. Make sure that your front door, side gate, and garage door are all locked, and are able to withstand someone trying to break the door or its lock. Britain’s police force warns that in most burglaries, the thief simply uses the front door, either by kicking it down or forcing the lock. A 2017 survey by MoneySupermarket also showed that 74% of burglars enter homes this way.
2. Secure your door
Check that your door is solid enough to pose an obstacle to burglars, and think about whether fitting a bar might help make it more secure. Consider contacting a professional at the Master Locksmiths Association to check if your external doors meet British security standards (known as PAS 24:2016).
3. Keep your keys away from intruders
After you’ve secured your doors, render burglars even more powerless by making it impossible for them to reach in and steal your house or car keys. While you could buy a letterbox cage, the easiest way to solve this issue is by simply keeping your keys out of reach of intruders. That means that if you have a key bowl or a row of keys hanging near the door, they should be kept at a safe distance. And of course, if you are unfortunately burgled in this way, make sure to change your locks.
4. Get an alarm system
If the nightmare scenario happens and someone breaks into your home, you’ll want to know – you’ll want your neighbours to know, and you’ll certainly want the police to know. Alarm systems fulfil this function, with sensors detecting intruders before playing a loud, high-pitched sound to alert you to danger and encourage your unwelcome guest to leave. If you want to know which one you should get, have a look at our article on how to choose your security system.
Some systems even allow you to add a helpful feature like CCTV cameras, to capture thieves in the act. If you choose this option, make sure they’re able to take high-resolution images which will help officers to catch the criminal – grainy, pixelated pictures help no-one. You don’t have to break the bank, either, as our costs page explains.
If you want to stop unwanted guests before they enter your home, you can use detectors to identify when someone applies pressure to the outside of a window or door. These systems can spot motion, or even detect sound waves. And if a burglar manages to get in your window, glass-break detectors will prompt your alarm to start.
5. Protect your windows
On that subject: one of the best home security tips we can give you is to make your windows more secure. While it’s important to have an alarm system which tells everyone if someone breaks in through your window, it’s better for your family’s safety if no-one can get in at all.
Consider getting extra locks on your windows, particularly if you have any on the ground floor. Pin locks will stop burglars from lifting your windows, while keyed locks will present another obstacle for the intruder to get past.
You can also strengthen your windows by replacing the pane with tempered glass, which is four times stronger than regular glass, according to safety.com. It also crumbles instead of shattering, making it generally harder to penetrate. And if you want to protect certain windows more than most, consider buying plexiglass, which is 10 times stronger than normal glass. It’s more expensive, but also more durable. For your most high-risk windows, you could even consider polycarbonate windows, which are made from the same material as riot shields.
6. Get a video doorbell
Many burglars will use a simple method to check if someone is present before breaking in: knocking on the door. If you’re looking for home security tips from a master burglar, this is a big one. In 2017, when Idaho-based TV station KTVB asked 86 burglars if they did this, every single one said yes. A video doorbell will let you know who’s outside your home, whether they’re a friend or foe, and give you the chance to talk to them as if you’re inside. All the best ones are in this article outlining the top home security gear out there at the moment.
7. Make your garage door impenetrable
You’re on your way to making your home into a fortress, having secured your windows and doors – but what about your garage? In terms of home security tips, it may sound simple, but it’s never a good idea to leave thieves with an opening.
Make sure the main garage door and any side doors are made of a solid material, such as metal. Cover any windows, and consider installing a specific alarm for the garage. After all, vehicle-related thefts are more common than any other kind of household theft, and have been ever since government records began in England and Wales in 1981.
8. Store your most priceless valuables in a safe
Protecting your home externally is crucial, and will stop most burglaries. But on the off-chance that a burglar is still able to get in and out before the police arrive to arrest them, you’ll want all your most precious items to be out of reach. A safe is the simple solution, giving you peace of mind that anything which you consider priceless will remain untouched. Safes can range from £30 to upwards of £29,000, so make sure to do some research before making a decision – but if you’re wondering how to improve home security, it’s all about making a safe bet.
9. Keep ladders and tools stored away
The British government warns people not to leave anything lying around the outside of your home which could be used to break in. It’s a simple step, but one which can keep you from becoming a victim. This includes ladders, gardening tools, and even loose rocks – anything which could make access to your home easier.
10. Don’t let it appear like you’ve gone on holiday
If you’re travelling this year, plan ahead so it isn’t obvious that your home is empty. If you don’t manage to convince one of your friends or family to housesit, the next best option is making your place look like it’s occupied.
First, cancel any regular deliveries such as newspapers or milk, and consider not ordering anything (like clothes) to your home while you’re away. You can’t always control when people send you mail, however, which is where Royal Mail Keepsafe comes in. This service will keep your mail for up to 100 days, meaning you won’t have to worry about a burglar seeing a gigantic pile of mail outside your home and thinking: “Oh, they’re away. Guess I’ll steal everything.” If you have a neighbour who can collect your mail for free (or for a small gift), then that’s even better. If they’re really nice, you could also ask them to park over your driveway, since seeing a car in front of your home will make a burglar think twice.
Finally, hold back from making public posts about your holiday on social media sites. Checking in at the airport on Facebook is a sure-fire way to put your home and all your belongings at risk. And remember: unless they’re locked, everyone can see your Instagram and Twitter profiles, too.
11. Secure your smart devices
On that note, remember that home security isn’t just physical – it’s also electronic. Your savings, your identity, your car, and even your fridge could be under threat if you control them with smart technology.
Make sure to get the latest security updates for all your devices, and keep up to date with whichever malware protection you use. When your laptop or phone wants to download a system update, let it do so. Create a wifi network for guests who you don’t know well (like tradespeople), and make sure that your smart TV, fridge, and bin all have different passwords.
12. Ask a neighbour for their assistance
If you can ask a neighbour to help out while you’re away, you can certainly ask them to keep an eye out in general, especially as you can offer to do the same for them. You won’t be home every minute of every day throughout the year, so it’s important to ask for help keeping your belongings safe. This doesn’t mean slipping them a pair of binoculars and asking for them to set up a constant vigil – just ask them to report anything suspicious.
13. Join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
If you want to feel even more secure, you could do worse than join your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. The organisation told The Eco Experts that 2.3 million households across the UK are covered by the programme, which essentially involves people looking out for each other. Protecting everything important to you while making the world a bit better? That’s a win-win.
How to improve home security
In summary, you can make your home safer for you and your family by making your entry points harder to access, giving burglars no reason to think you’re away, and keeping your most precious belongings in the places which are hardest to break into. You can also improve your home’s defences by filling in this form and getting a tailored quote for one of many different types of cutting-edge security system.
Equipped with all of the home security tips above, take a look at your home from a different perspective. Case the joint. Get into the mindset of any potential thieves, and see if your home has any weaknesses which they could exploit – then fix them.
And most importantly: lock your doors. You don’t need home security tips from a master burglar to figure that one out.