Top Ten Home Security Mistakes
We all want to keep our homes secure and there are measures you can take to help keep it protected. However, there are some mistakes that can make your home more vulnerable to break-ins. We break down the common mistakes home owners make and how to avoid them in the checklist below.
1. Leaving a spare key under the pot or mat
This is tempting to do if you are prone to locking yourself out, or if a neighbour is feeding the cat. However, burglars are always looking for an easy entrance, so this is often what they will search for first. Never leave your key under the mat or a plant pot. If you must hide a key somewhere then the further from the house it is the better, an item such as a fake rock, would be the best place to hide a key.
2. Having bushes too close to the house
If you have bushes near your windows, it can provide the perfect cover for a burglar to gain access. If they are shielded from view then they have more time to successfully break in. Try to maintain low height or thin growing shrubs next to your home. If you want larger bushes, plant them away from the house. If you’re desperate for thicker, taller bushes, then make sure they are planted against solid walls, with no windows or doors obscured.
3. The wrong type of Lights
You might have installed security lights when you moved into your home, which is a good security practice. However, if you just turn them on at the end of the day or have them automatically come on when it is dark, then you might be causing a big security issue. Having the outdoor security lights on all night means that shadow will be created around the outside of your house, perfect for a burglar to use to break in. A better solution would be to install motion activated outdoor security lights. These are more likely to surprise an intruder, hopefully enough to scare them away. It will also save you money on electricity costs and mean your lightbulbs last longer. To find out more about outdoor security lights visit our guide.
4. Leaving valuables in plain sight
Leaving expensive items in plain view is a huge temptation for burglars. You might forget that your windows aren’t just a means for you to see out, but for others to see in. Any items that are particularly valuable or you consider to be, need to be hidden away from windows especially on the ground floor. There are some items that cannot be hidden when you leave the house, such as your television. This is where you need to shut any curtains or shutters that you have installed.
5. Leaving packaging outside
This is especially true around Christmas. If you leave the boxes of your new items outside, a television box for example, potential burglars are going to know that it’s in your home. This could make you a target. The solution is simple, cut up your boxes into smaller pieces to fit in the recycling bin or if you are really overflowing, take it all to the tip. If you must leave them next to the bin where they are visible, try and stack them in a way that doesn’t display what was inside.
6. Posting on Social Media
Posting on social media is a good way to keep your family and friends updated on what you are up to. But it’s also a great way to let people know that you are away from home. No matter how private your account is, social media is a public forum, so unless you are 100% confident with everyone that can see your profile, don’t post about your travel plans online. Criminals are able to search for keywords such as holiday and travel, and if your posts come up, they know your house is an empty target. If you want to share pictures of your trip, then wait till you are back to do so. If you are desperate to share while you are away, then make sure your privacy settings are up to date. On Facebook you are able to limit the number of people that see your posts, so this might be a safer way to share pictures.
7. Letting the post pile up while you’re away
Nothing screams that a house is empty more than post piling up outside of the letterbox. If you are going away on holiday then you may want to ask a trusted neighbour to make sure it’s not spilling out of your letterbox. It’s advised that you cancel any newspaper or milk deliveries as these left unattended will also alert any potential burglars that your house is empty.
8. Putting your alarm in the wrong place
A burglar alarm is a great home security tool and can deter a potential burglar. However, if the control pad is placed within sight of a ground floor window, an intruder can look in to see if it’s been set. This is especially prudent for the night time, where if you don’t set the alarm a simple red or green light can tell the burglar all they need to know. Find somewhere a bit more discreet to have your alarm control panel.
9. Leaving a Ladder within Reach
If you have a shed or outbuilding that isn’t locked that you store your ladder in or your ladder is left unsecured in the garden, then you might be leaving a burglar the perfect way to enter your home. You need to make sure that you have your shed or outbuilding locked if that is where you intend to leave your ladder. If the ladder is to be left outside then it needs to be secured with something such as a bike lock, to stop burglars from using it. To find out more about shed security visit our shed security page.
10. Having Large Fences or Gates
You might think that putting up a large garden gate or fence would offer you protection from unwanted visitors. But it can mean that burglars are given the privacy they need to break in to your home. One of the ways burglaries are detected is by neighbours raising the alarm, but a large fence would stop any outside people noticing a break-in.