Home security should never be taken for granted. At the end of the day, you expect to go home to your family sleeping safe and sound in their rooms.
Leaving your residential property unprotected and unsecured poses a serious threat to your family’s safety, especially these days when crimes are rampant in the UK.
A perilous situation in the United Kingdom
According to Statista, the crime rate in Wales and England has increased dramatically over the span of five years. Statistics show that reported cases rose from 4.06 million in 2012-2013 to 5.5 million in 2017-2018.
Burglary is among the most reported crime in the country, with Ilford, London racking up the highest number of break-in cases. A great number of families on this side of London are exposed to violence every day – which is quite alarming.
Aside from Ilford, London, here’s the list of burglary hotspots in the UK:
- Greater Manchester
- West Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire
- Thames Valley
Whether you live in these burglary hotspots or in relatively safer areas, the UK government suggests upgrading your home security right away.
Best ways to upgrade residential security
There’s a myriad of home security tips out there. Some are quite useful, while others provide very little value. Here are some of the most reliable tips that we have gathered:
Get yourself a trusty guard dog
Dogs aren’t just man’s most loyal friend. They also come extra handy in discouraging criminals from sneaking into your home. Care.com suggests getting any of these seven family guard dogs:
- German Sheperd
- Doberman Pinscher
- Giant Schnauzer
- Great Dane
While big and agile dog breeds are preferred, you may opt for small but feisty breeds like the Chihuahua, Pomeranian and Miniature Pinscher and Bolognese. Always remember that you should make sure you have your dogs vaccinated.
Also, do put up a warning sign on your fences if you have a very aggressive dog. The warning sign will help you decrease your liability in case a trespasser gets bitten inside your property.
Install ample lighting outdoors
Every home needs to have a well-lit outdoor area. Investing in outdoor lighting fixtures for your lounge, garden, patio, balcony or any other type of outdoor space is a great idea. There are a lot of different lighting fixtures out there that will most likely suit the design and style of your outdoor area.
These lights can highlight the best aspects of your garden, provide a clear pathway for your visitors and help you foil the plans of trespassers.
Robbers, especially professional ones, avoid well-illuminated homes because they won’t risk being seen. It’s best to install outdoor lighting in your garden, backyard, patio, front porch and outdoor lounge.
Here are some examples of outdoor lights you can use to light up your residential property:
- Pendant lights – These are ideal for porches and entryways with high ceilings.
- Pier mounted lighting – If you want to accentuate your brick or stone pier in your yard and scare away robbers at the same, try using a pier mounted light.
- Floodlights – The garage is one of the most commonly used entry points for burglars. Secure it by installing floodlights.
- Motion-activated path lights – They add curb appeal to the yard during the day and add an extra layer of security to your property at night.
- Pot lights – Not a fan of installing large lighting fixtures on your porch? We suggest using pot lights. These tiny lights installed on the ceiling make a nice addition to your porch.
- Deck lights – Add these small type of outdoor lighting to help you see invaders walking on the deck.
- Bollard lights – Spacious driveways need to be equipped with heavy-duty bollard lights. These are similar to garden path lights but emit a brighter glow.
- Spotlight – Among all the outdoor lights, spotlights are the most versatile type. You can install them near your garage, on large trees on your backyard or in the pool area.
You should also install outdoor lights on your perimeter fence. Take note though that unshielded floodlights, mounted fixtures, refractor lens, or period style fixtures and motion-activated lights are not recommended for your fences. These may cause glaring which may bother your neighbours.
Reinforce your front and back door security
Many people believe that robbers are less inclined to enter through the front door of homes. Statistics reveal that this is not the case.
This is why you should start reevaluating your door security.
Is it secure enough to keep your family safe from harm? Does it have a durable and foolproof lock? How many locks do you currently use? What grade level of doorknobs are installed? These are just some of the key considerations you should make.
To upgrade the security features of your front and back doors, you can do the following:
- Use a door with a solid wood core – This type of door will remain intact even when a person tries to kick it open.
- Add structural reinforcements – In case you use a door made of metal, we suggest installing an interior reinforcement to prevent burglars from forcing it open using a crowbar or car jack.
- Invest in fibre glass – Doors made from fibre glass are ideal if you want to get more light into the house without compromising your security and safety.
- Remove shrubs – Shrubs or other types of plants don’t belong in areas near the door. These will only serve as hiding places of burglars. Have these plants removed or transferred to other parts of your property.
- Add a high-quality deadbolt – Deadbolts provide additional protection and security to any household. It will keep the door intact even when a burglar tries to force himself in.
- Double check the lockset plate – Replacing the lockset plate is very important for old doors. If the current plate installed looks flimsy or worn out, replace it with a new one.
- Pay attention to the frame – The frame is one of the most essential elements of your door security. One swift and forceful kick can render your door useless if you don’t have a durable and properly installed door frame.
Say yes to a professional alarm system
Studies prove that professional burglar alarm systems are highly effective at discouraging robbers from trespassing a property. Knowing that they can potentially get caught by the cops or a hired close protection officer and be sentenced to 5 to 20 years in prison will encourage them to avoid your property.
Professional alarm systems are installed in standard places such as doors and windows but you may ask to set-up additional devices in other parts of the house.
Increase security features in the garage
Burglars also use garages as entry points, so it’s crucial for you to install security features such as frosted windows to conceal the interiors, a sophisticated door opener to keep the door firmly shut, a CCTV camera for surveillance, and a burglar alarm system.
Aside from installing the necessary security add-ons, you should also check the condition of your garage door. Can a robber easily force it open? Are the moving parts free from corrosion? Does the door close properly? Does anybody have a copy of the remote device?
Opt for secured windows
Windows are also popular access points used by robbers. Keep yours protected by adding security locks and replacing the window panes. If you still use ordinary glass on your windows, consider switching to more durable materials such as laminated windows or fibre glass.
It is also advisable to add window bars. Even if a burglar successfully breaks the window glass, he will have a difficult time squeezing himself through the bars.
Improve your outdoor area security
Your garden, backyard, lounge or deck serves as a relaxing hangout place during early mornings or late afternoons.
If often a feature of your home, decorated with the finest outdoor furnishings and the most attractive outdoor decors. It most likely took you a long time to revamp the space and achieve the design you had in mind. You probably also spent thousands of pounds to create the perfect space for you and your family.
Needless to say, it is also advisable to implement measures to protect it from opportunistic burglars and trespassers. Below are the best garden security tips you can use:
- Grow a wall of thorns – Use your plant trellis to grow a wall of thorny shrubs such as roses, berries, hawthorns, bougainvillaea, firethorns and porcupine tomatoes.
- Add a surveillance camera – Focus the cameras near the toolshed, the plant nursery and other places that have valuable items.
- Keep expensive items in the shed – Some burglars don’t mind stealing heavy but expensive items such as mowers, glass blowers and even dining bistro sets. Keep such items well-secured in a locked shed especially when you go away for a long time.
- Use gravel on pathways – Do this so you can easily detect people trying to walk around the property.
- Keep your grass short – Thieves can conceal themselves behind tall grass blades, so you must keep the grass trimmed regularly.
- Check for gaps in between the fence – Make sure your perimeter fence is free from gaps or damages. Make a habit of checking the condition of your fencing every month. Replace or repair the damaged area as soon as possible.
- Install lights in the right places – Inspect the landscape to determine what type of lighting fixtures you need and where you should install them.
A few final safety reminders…
Aside from the tips we outlined above, here are our final reminders to help
you keep your possessions and loved ones safe from harm while you’re not around in the house:
- Never leave the doors or windows unlocked, especially at night.
- Padlock the garage door opener and unplug it from the switch if you plan to go on a long vacation.
- Avoid flaunting your valuables to your neighbours. This may attract the attention of curious-minded thieves who end up robbing your home.
- Invest in timer-controlled lights. This will come in handy when you’re not home for a couple of weeks. Set the timer to a random pattern so you create the illusion that someone’s home.
- Remember the golden rule in residential security – never let strangers inside your home – if you want to avoid being put in a dangerous situation.
- Ask a family member to stay in the house while you’re away.
- Reevaluate your home security features every once in a while. Your residential security devices may need replacing or repairing after a few months.
- Never be too confident about your home’s security.
- Be sharp and attentive at all times, even when you’re inside the house.
You can never be too safe these days. Criminals walk the streets waiting for the perfect time to strike. Creating a safe home provides you with a huge advantage against criminal activity. Start securing your residential property today by using the tips we shared above in this article.