The possibility of a house break-in, theft or burglary is a constant nightmare for all of us. Break-ins can happen at any time, both during the day and night. And, nowadays, with most couples working and children at school during the day, the task has become easier. Isolated dwellings in posh localities are at a greater risk of housebreaking.
An eye-opener: According to the crime statistics report published by the National Crimes Record Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, a total of 2,20,854 cases of theft, criminal trespass and burglary, robbery and dacoity were reported across all states and union territories in India in the year 2016. The value of property stolen in all these incidents totalled an unbelievable 1475 crores.
In most cases, the thieves make a getaway with expensive items like gold, jewellery and electronic gadgets. Reading reports of housebreaking makes us feel worried about our home security. In fact, we feel so insecure that even the presence of strangers at our doorstep at odd times makes us feel apprehensive and alarmed.
However, the good thing is, there are multiple ways of securing your house from burglars. Also, there are smart home security solutions available in the market that can help protect your home at all times.
Here is a list of simple home security tips and ideas on how to protect your home from theft. These include various preventive measures to implement both outside and inside your home. We also list various types of home security systems you can install on your premises.
Outdoor home security advice
Clear hiding places: Home security and cleanliness go hand-in-hand. Overgrown hedges and vegetation in your yard provide thieves and burglars with the perfect place to hide and wait for the right opportunity to break in. So, inspect your home surroundings and trim any overgrown plants. Also, prune the branches of tall trees near your house. These may provide access to the terrace of your house or balcony, if you live on the upper floors.
Secure your backyard: A house with a door or window in the backyard is vulnerable to housebreaking. Thieves can gain an entry through these with less risk of being detected or seen by anyone. So, ensure proper lighting in the backyard during the night to keep your home secure.
Lock up garden equipment: Even the most secure home design can be compromised with simple tools. Garden equipment lying around the yard may be used by a thief to pry open the doors or windows. Store them and other tools either indoors or under lock and key. Also, never leave a step ladder outside.
Make your house look occupied: Newspapers strewn around the yard or front door, an unattended mailbox and empty driveway advertise a vacant house. And, this is what burglars look for. So, before going on vacation, stop newspaper delivery and alert the nearest police station about your period of absence. Also, build a good rapport with your neighbours. For, when you aren't around, they would be the ones to keep an eye on your property and spot any suspicious activity. One of your neighbours can even park his vehicle in your driveway and switch on the porch lights.
Install proper fencing: Burglars usually look for houses which are easy to access and get out of quickly. As a homeowner, you need to ensure that you make the job really tough for them. So, secure your home with proper fencing. Erect a thick boundary wall with barbed wire fence or razor wire fence on top. However, do remember to check if it is permitted by the law. Put a sturdy padlock on the gate during the night and when you are away from home.
Get a guard dog: This is one of the most simple home security tips. In fact, in most Indian households, the ubiquitous alert and barking pet dog is the primary choice of defence against unwelcome intrusions. The prospect of getting bitten and mauled can deter any thief from targeting your home. However, keeping a dog is not an option for everyone as a pet needs time, care and attention.
Indoor home security precautions
Secure doors: Properly locked doors and windows add another tier of security to your home. Thieves prefer kicking or prying doors open instead of breaking windows, as the noise of shattering glass can alert homeowners and neighbours. Installing a heavy-duty dead bolt lock can secure your front door against kicking and ramming attacks. Securing your doors from inside by fixing door security bars is another option. Together, these measures can counter any attempts to compromise your door's security with brute force.
Secure windows: One of the best ways to secure your home is to make sure you lock all the windows before going out. A window left unlocked can prove to be the chink in your home security and will look inviting to a burglar. Make your home secure by installing quality window security locks. Replace cheap and old window frames with good ones and reinforce all windows with security bars and window grilles. Use blinds and curtains on windows to keep expensive items out of sight. Take extra care to secure upper floor windows.
Install a safe locker: Even if you own a bank locker, there is always some jewellery or emergency cash kept in the house. Hiding these in inconspicuous places like the freezer, flush tanks, pillowcases, worn out purses and bags, picture frames, flower pots, kitchen utensils and bookshelves may backfire on you. For, burglars are smarter than you think. So, store your valuables in a professional wall-mounted safe locker or one that is bolted to the floor. Nowadays, even electronic safe lockers are available.
Types of home security solutions
Surveillance cameras: There was a time when only the wealthy used closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) to secure homes. But, this is not the case anymore. Today, technologically advanced and inexpensive internet protocol or IP cameras can stream live visuals to your phone and alert you in case of an attempted break-in. A rookie burglar can develop cold feet at the sight of a surveillance camera and give up the thought of targeting your home. The footage can also serve as valuable evidence to be produced in the court or to authorities.
Intruder alarm systems: Installing an intrusion alarm system as part of your safe home security solution can thwart an attempted break-in by alerting those within and in the vicinity of the house. In an intrusion alert system, multiple sensors are attached to the doors and windows. Opening a door or breaking a windowpane can trigger loud alarms and send out notifications to the homeowner and authorities. The homeowner can arm or disarm the alarm from his phone or a key fob.
Motion sensor lights for home: A well-lit home acts as a deterrent by denying burglars the luxury of hiding in the dark and carrying out their activities. Motion-activated sensors can detect intrusion and activate lights all around your house.
Video door phones: When someone rings the doorbell, most of us open the door and step out to check. But, installing a video door phone allows you to look at who is at the gate or outside your door without compromising your safety. This way, you can add another layer to your home security.
Those who have watched the movie 'Home Alone' would recall how an eight-year-old tries to secure his home from two scheming burglars. The child comes up with some ingenious tricks and contraptions to foil their attempts. Though the movie is a fun-filled depiction of an attempted break-in, there is a high likelihood of burglars striking your house. So, why not make a home security checklist and install home security solutions to stay safe than feel sorry later.
About the author:
Written by Dr Shyam Kumar on 21 August 2019
The author holds a degree in Homoeopathy with an MBA in Hospital Management and has worked across multiple disciplines including healthcare and technology. As a nature lover, he attended the world's first underwater CEO's conference to combat marine pollution.
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