As the new year arrives, I want to make sure that What Emma Did becomes more of an overall informative advice hub – not just solely focusing on fashion and beauty, or the best places to dine out.
Today’s advice piece is about keeping your home safe and secure. I used to live on my own as a girl in my late twenties, and one of the constant worries I had was what if my home got burgled – both with me in it or out of it? Either option is both horrific to think about.
I can imagine that being burgled is a nightmare. It’s distressing and it’s disruptive, and for many victims, it can be a struggle to get over the feeling that their home has been violated.
Of course, home insurance is there to replace anything that is stolen or damaged, but even if you have the best policy in the world, it can never compensate for the loss of items of sentimental value, whether they are family heirlooms, photo albums or treasured mementos.
It can even span as far as someone entering your home, swiping your car keys from your front porch, and driving away in your car.
That’s why prevention is better than cure. I found a great article which helped get me more clued up regarding safety and security of the home here. Taking their tips into consideration, here’s seven ways to boost your home security and keep the thieves away…
Always lock doors and windows
Keep doors and windows locked when you’re out – even if you’re just popping next door for a few minutes. Many burglaries are opportunistic, so don’t make it easy for them. Spokesperson for a leading Newcastle Locksmith says “The Association of British Insurers (ABI) guidelines require all final exit doors to be fitted with 5-lever mortice locks (or equivalent) conforming to BS 3621 and marked with the BS kitemark”
If you have any dodgy locks on any of your doors and windows, try not to ignore this and make calling out an expert locksmith a priority. A slight fault in any of your locks makes life easier for those planning a burglary.
Another one is to keep keys out of sight, and this goes for car keys in the home too. You don’t want a burglar being able to reach any keys through a letterbox or cat-flap or by breaking a window.
Although some people feel the need to do this, especially when on holiday and someone may be visiting to feed your pets, don’t hide a spare key under the doormat or a plant pot. It really is the first place where a thief would look.
Consider a Neighbourhood Watch
These schemes can deter burglars from operating in a certain area simply by the fact they exist. If a burglar can see your part of the scheme, it can prevent them approaching your home. They know that neighbours are keeping an eye open for each other. If there’s no scheme in your area, consider setting one up – contact your local police station, they’ll be happy to advise.
Use lights and timers
A sure-fire way to make it appear you are in is by the number of lights switched on. The best way to make it look like the house is occupied is to fit timer switches to turn your lights on and off (there are also apps that allow you to control lighting remotely).
You can research some of the best lighting device apps here.
Have an alarm fitted
Many home insurance policies will give you a discount on your premium if you fit a burglar alarm. Some devices can even transmit pictures from your property to your internet device. Having an alarm fitted is the most sensible option and most people’s first step they make.
Make sure you don’t write down the code anywhere or share it with anyone other than yourself. If you were to unfortunately get broken into and didn’t set your alarm, even though you have one fitted, you’ll suffer consequences with your insurance.
Don’t ‘show off’ any valuables
If you own nice things, it’s obviously lovely to want to show them off, but this can attract thieves and make you a target. Burglars are more likely to go for the house in which they can see a large flatscreen TV mounted to the wall, home entertainment systems and a Mercedes parked on the drive than one where nothing is visible!
I adore my Audi A1 (you can see photos of it over here on my blog if you like, my pride and joy!) but sometimes I’ll park it at my parents or at my boyfriend’s parents when we go away for the weekend.
Although you can’t do much about parking a nice car on the drive or outside your house, you can keep valuables away from view if you can. Don’t leave car keys where they can be ‘fished’ through the letterbox.
Don’t broadcast your absence
Social media has a lot to blame these days for home attacked, so the simple thing is to not tell the world that your home will be empty. Yes, posting an image of yourself on the beach might look cool, but you’re effectively telling everyone your house is currently unoccupied. Just think carefully before doing so.
It’s also a good idea that while you’re away, ask a friend or neighbour to tidy leaflets and junk away from your letterbox.
Record what you’ve got
Take photos of your valuables so it’s easier to claim on your insurance. Another good tip is to use special marker pens to put your house number and postcode onto valuable items, so that they can be identified and traced back to you if recovered. This is especially good for laptops, TV’s, tablets and entertainment systems.
Remember to be sensible and do your very best to make sure your home isn’t a target for burglars this year.