There are so many conflicting home safety and security precautions and tips out there that it’s hard to figure out which to adhere to in order to ensure your home, property and valuables are safe. With petty theft and break-ins specifically, following the wrong advice can leave you and your home vulnerable to thieves and other criminals, so we’ve put together this home security article to help you have better peace of mind. Here’s a list of 7 common burglary myths – debunked.
Home Security Myth 1: Windows are the most popular point of entry for burglars.
Surprisingly, research tells us that a lot of criminals would choose to use doors over windows to gain access to homes. Couple this with the fact so many burglaries are said to happen while people are actually at home, even if you’re in a gated community, leaving your doors unlocked when home is a big home safety and security risk. Make sure your windows are barred, but also ensure your security gate is locked and secure at all times.
Ways to secure your doors
So, now that we know that doors are the most important area of the home to secure, let’s take a look at some of the measures you can take to help secure the doors around your home. It is important that you secure both street facing and off street doors as both can provide opportunities for burglars. Street facing doors offer easy access, while off street doors provide cover for thieves to do their nefarious things.
Security gates accessorise many South African entry points, and with good reason. They are one of the best ways to protect your home from burglars entering via doors. However, these are not without their drawbacks, as the sheer number on the market mean they vary greatly in cost and quality. They are also often limited to only fitting certain size doors.
If you are looking for a more versatile solution, then LockLatch provides a great door security alternative. This lockable latch can be installed in minutes on any type of door and instantly adds an extra layer of security, by allowing you to lock your door while it is slightly ajar. This means you can benefit from improved ventilation or allow pet access without compromising on security.
Home Security Myth 2: Big dogs deter Burglars
Speaking of pets. When it comes to watchdogs, it is important to remember that what deters would-be criminals is not the size of your dog, but the size of the bark. The dog’s bark, how much it barks and the pitch, is what alerts criminals to the presence of a dog which is a big security threat deterrent. Smaller dogs are actually much better barkers than larger dogs and therefore possibly better at alerting you to an intruder so that you can act accordingly, by calling for help, pushing the panic button or running to your safe room.
Train your dog
We aren’t suggesting you get your pup competition ready, but a little training can go a long way to transforming from dog to watchdog. Simple obedience training should be taught to all dogs, but if you’re looking for some ways to improve your pets guarding abilities, then check out this guide.
Follow up on your dogs barking
With the correct training your dog will learn to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate threats, however, you can greatly assist by going to check out what your dog is barking at. Be sure to positively reinforce the correct times by rewarding your dog with affection or treats and don’t acknowledge the times your dog shouldn’t be barking.
Home Security Myth 3: Burglars can’t find your hidden valuables
Burglars are masters at what they do and chances are that secret hiding place you put your documents and valuables into, isn’t so secret after all. This is because most people hide their stuff in the same places. The best thing to do is to think of the most unusual place, like your freezer or the pantry and spread your valuables around these different areas. Alternatively a secure safe, which cannot be removed, will ensure your valuables are safe in the event of a burglary.
Invest in a wall-mounted safe
Any safe that can be carried away is not a secure storage space. Safes are not uncrackable, and mostly they serve to make it that much more difficult for a burglar to access your valuables. When the effort outweighs the potential gains they will always go for an easier target. This is why a wall mounted safe is a good investment for anyone looking to protect their most valuable items.
Key elements to keep in mind when buying a safe
Not all safes are created equal. Be sure to take a look at user reviews before making a decision. There are a number of factors you need to consider and will be dependent on your individual needs. These include the type of lock; whether it is fireproof; whether the lock can be bypassed to name a few. As with all security purchases, do your research and don’t settle for inferior quality.
Home Security Myth 4: Burglars need time to break-in
Thieves go for opportunity and quickly scope out their area for easy targets. Homes that are poorly secured, empty or have no security companies, and take their gap quickly. They know that it can take security companies a few minutes to arrive and more than 20 minutes for the police to arrive, so even if someone does see them and alert the authorities, they have time to get what they came for a leave. A professional criminal doesn’t need 20 minutes, research says they can be in and out in minutes. So whether you’re popping into the shop or going for a walk – lock those doors!
They have already scoped out the place
Burglars are experts at spotting, and exploiting flaws in your home security system. They know exactly what to look for, and can use this knowledge to find the fastest way into and out of your home. Because of this need for speed, burglars may abandon a target if they are met with enough failsafes to slow them down. You can think of home security as a series of small measures that together form a home security strategy.
Locks and safes will slow them down
When it comes to slowing burglars down every security layer matters, no matter if it is an extra lock on your window or door, a lockable latch on the upstairs window or a solid safe that is bolted to a wall. If a burglar experiences too much resistance his chances of getting caught multiply and he will rather abandon the score.
Home Security Myth 5: Your home is most vulnerable to burglars at night
It’s natural for us to feel our homes are more vulnerable at night when we’re out as a lot of break-ins do occur in the dark and this gives burglars added camouflage from being seen. However, with so many people leaving their homes unattended from morning to night when the family is at work or school, daylight break-ins are becoming easier to pull off and more and more prominent. Get to know your neighbourhood and neighbours!
Daytime is when most people are at work
Despite what you see in movies, most suburban break-ins happen in broad daylight, when people are at work. Burglars driving through neighbourhoods are less conspicuous during the day when people are going about their business and this allows them to scope out their jobs and see when the home is unattended. It is important to not relax your guard during the day.
Home Security Myth 6: No Mail is better than some mail.
We learnt from our Holiday Home Security Checklist article, that letting the mail and flyers pile up, alerts criminals that you’re away. However, not having anything delivered at all, could also be a sign to someone who’s watching your home that you’ve gone away. The presence of mail is just one example of the many pieces of information that we inadvertently give to criminals. But by doing these three things you can make it more difficult for them to gauge.
Have your mail collected
Get a friend or a neighbour to collect mail while you’re on vacation to give the impression you’re still at the property.
Leave a light on
Leave a light on, or even better, get a timer that activates your lights at night. This will help it look like the property is occupied to a potential criminal.
Ask a neighbour to pop in every now and then
Having a neighbour or friend pop in occasionally can also send the message that the home is occupied. You can ask your friend to air out your home for a bit, and maybe water your houseplants too.
Home Security Myth 7: Having an alarm is enough of a deterrent for burglars
A lot of us tend to put alarm decals on our property to show which security system and company we are using. For those pro burglars, that’s just the info they need to research the company and find ways around it. Instead, keep them guessing, put generic signage up or varied signage to help keep your home and your valuables secure.
Prevent home burglary with LockLatch now
Knowing security myths can ensure you don’t have a false sense of security and make your home much safer from break-ins. If you’re looking for more security and safety tips, read more on our blog. Have burglary security tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or contact us via email at [email protected] or call Steve on +27 82 447 2809.