I’d only been gone an hour. When I got home, it took a second to figure out I’d been burgled.
Something’s different, I thought to myself as I looked around. My house looks funny.
Then I noticed. My TV was missing. I peeked into the study and saw my macbook was gone too. And my Kindle was no longer on the side table where I kept it, either.
I’d been burgled. And knowing what I know now, it was actually a completely predictable event.
Though the average person’s risk of burglary is about 2.5%, my risk was much higher because a) I was 22 (risk is 7.2% if you’re between 15 and 24) and b) I lived in a sketchy neighbourhood (risk is 5.4% if your area is poorly maintained).
I was a moving target. Add to that my home security was basically zilch.
The last UK crime survey reported 745,000 burglaries per year. That works out 1 burglary every 20 seconds.
Let’s be real about this. At some point in your life, your house will probably be burgled. But if you follow these super simple home security tips, you can easily reduce your risk to 0.6%.
The average cost of a burglary is more than £2,000, so it’s worth at least scanning these home security tips.
- Get burgle-proof doors. Old houses often have hollow doors that are easy to kick in. Replace any outside doors with solid wood or metal clad doors.
- Use deadbolt locks. Spring-latch locks are an easy target. A credit card, a little finesse and poof! Your door springs open.
A deadbolt is only vulnerable if there’s enough space between the door and the frame for a power tool or a hacksaw. (Hint: get a professional install.)
- Get an alarm system. Basic security lowers your chance of getting burgled to 0.9%. Enhanced security lowers it to 0.6%. Alarm systems work – the data doesn’t lie.
Your system shouldn’t have any wires showing. Wireless home security is preferable, since any burglar worth his salt knows how to cut the phone lines to your house, thus disabling your security.
- Tell the neighbours when you get your alarm system installed or repaired. Most people assume it’s a false alarm when they hear a siren blaring (bless us and our optimism).
Make sure you spread the word in your neighbourhood that your system is professionally installed, armed and monitored, and that any siren should be taken seriously.
- If you’ve been burgled once, it’s time to get serious. 25-50% of burglaries are repeats, usually within one month of the first burglary.
Think about it: Now your burglar knows what’s in your house, and, if you have insurance, he (or she, let’s be fair) can go back to re-burgle or take what was left behind last time.
- Lock your door. Seems obvious, right? But 30% of burglars enter through an unlocked door.
- Install surveillance cameras. Only 1 in 8 homeowners ever see their valuables again. Help police find your burglar by installing a security camera. A well-placed camera is one of the best home security measures you can take.
No one wants to be burgled. The cost is one thing, but knowing a stranger’s been lurking around in your home and rifling through your things is quite another.
Implement these simple home security measures and you’ll sleep soundly knowing your family is secure.