Secure your home with these 10 sensible tips
Moving into a new home can be daunting even if you’re the prepared type, doing your research and planning ahead. When it comes to security, it might not be until you stay a few nights to get a feel for the area and neighbours that you start to become more comfortable.
There’s never a wrong time to assess the most important aspects of home security so even if it’s during your first viewing or when you next get home, take a moment to complete the checklist we’ve put together and ensure you’re on top of the essentials.
Are the doors made from solid or metal-clad wood?
Do the doors have keyed deadlock bolts?
A single-cylinder lock isn’t enough to secure an entry door - it should also have a second lock, preferably a deadbolt. This is usually below the main lock and is a larger bar that slides further into the door frame. If there isn’t one, your door could potentially be bypassed with just a swift kick! A strong chain or a door safety device like DoorJammer is a great way to add extra security.
Are all windows and pet entrances lockable?
We agree: having a cat flap so you don’t have to get up every time your adorable pet needs to go outside is a wondrous thing indeed. However, they can also provide a convenient access point for burglars if not properly fitted.
For starters, try checking to see if your pet entrance is far enough from the door handle to prevent opening the door by reaching through with your arm. Now run the same check on the windows to make sure they can’t be opened from the outside.
If they’re made of wood, take extra care. Older homes may have weak or even rotting window frames, especially in rooms with moisture, like bathrooms or kitchens.
Can you see who's at the door without opening it?
If your door has a peephole, camera display, or nearby windows that offer a good exterior view then you’ll be able to assess visitors without potentially granting them access to your property. Often having just an intercom isn’t enough to be sure of who is outside - the person you allow inside may not be who you think they are.
Are paths and entryways lit at night?
Who hasn’t stood outside in the dark, hurriedly fumbling to get the key in the lock at least once or twice? Motion-detecting lights are fantastic for helping you find keys at night, but also as a no-hassle deterrent for prowlers as well.
If your paths and entrances don't already have one in place, don’t panic, because they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and easy to install. Just be sure to get permission from the property owner if you need to.
Are valuables visible from the street?
It might be the last thing you think about, but take a moment to fully open your curtains and go outside for a good snoop through the windows of your home. If you can see valuables from the street so can everyone else.
Consider view-restricting blinds or even just rearranging expensive items out of sight.
Have CCTV cameras been installed?
Useful for more than just proving the delivery driver didn’t drop your parcel at the agreed location - CCTV can make would-be trespassers think again when they know they’re being recorded. Visible cameras aimed at the main path, entryway and rear of the property work great as a deterrent while recording footage that might be invaluable in the event of a break-in.
Keep a set of spare keys with a trusted person nearby
Getting locked out is everyone’s nightmare - not having spare keys can mean expensive callouts or the embarrassment of being seen climbing through a window in your jogging shorts (which will be tricky if you followed our earlier tip and secured your windows). Having a neighbour or friend you can call in a pinch will save you time, a headache and costly locksmith fees.
Just be sure not to stash keys around the property; doing so won’t just make an intruder’s life easier, but can invalidate potential insurance claims.
Is there an emergency exit?
It goes without saying that all homes should offer a means of escape and meet fire safety regulations, but you might also find yourself looking for a back way out if there’s a reason not to open the front door, too. If possible, plan and test how you could exit by a method other than the main entry - it might just come in handy.
Are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and functioning?
Last but not least are two life-saving bits of kit that can’t be ignored, especially if your home uses gas: smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure there are enough units to cover the whole home and that you have tested them yourself. Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors should also be powered independently from your mains power so that they still operate in the event of an outage.
If our checklist has flagged a security concern, don’t worry: you caught the issue before it became a serious problem. Be aware and prepared with DoorJammer so that feeling safe is one thing you can tick off your list.