We were recently challenged to come up with 10 simple things to help secure your home for under £100. At first it seemed an impossible task, however always up for a challenge we set out with shopping list in hand and were rather surprised myself to spend just £88.14 leaving £11.86 change out of the £100.
Security is like many things, on the whole you tend to get what you are prepared to pay for and sometimes cheap security offers little or no security or may let you down in some way just when it is needed, however with a little knowledge you needn’t pay the earth and most expensive is not always best.
We have assumed that you already have good sufficient locks on all of your ground floor doors.
Always read you insurance company’s minimum requirements for security (Usually they will require at least 5 lever British Standard lock or equivalent on the final exit point for example)
You may not be aware that if someone enters your house using a key, insurers may not pay out. It is always sound advice to change the locks when you move house so you can account for all of the keys.
The vast majority of residential burglaries are opportunist, what I mean by that is a burglar will walk along a street and look at the houses. Their aim is to get in and out as quickly and quietly as possible without being seen and therefore minimise the chance of being caught red handed.
This means that although there is no such thing as 100% security (and anyone that sells you that is wrong), every little thing that you add that will cause a burglar to make more noise, take more time or be more visual getting in will put them off. The chances are that if you have sufficient security they will in all likelihood burgle a house nearby that presents them less of a challenge.
With regards the items we have selected below, some are very good purchases that will do what they are meant to do but others may not to withstand the test of time and could let you down just when you need them therefore some examples below we would usually recommend something of better quality but our challenge was to find ten things for less than £100.
Our advice is to find a local trustworthy locksmith who will undertake a security survey for you. They will offer sound advice some of which you can undertake yourself and some are best left to a professional to undertake.
We have not used anything found on auction sites such as EBay as that might be dammed as cheating all of the products were found from normal retailers that are easily found.
There are many things that can be done at no cost whatsoever which I will cover in another blog in the near future.
Padlock and Hasp – Approx £11
There are a couple of issues with sheds; you probably don’t realize the total value of everything it contains if it were to be broken into and secondly it is likely to contain many tools and implements that an opportunist burglar could use to enter your home.
Motion sensor shed alarm – £6.73
The cheapest I could find on the internet. Following on from the link above this will add an additional layer of protection to you shed or garage. Noisy alarms will often cause the opportunist burglar to leave rather quickly.
Window locks – £7.29
Window locks are not normally this cheap but I struck lucky and found some in a sale. Most insurers insist as part of minimum security requirements that you have window locks on all ground floor windows and any accessible from the ground floor outside. If you do not have these and you are burgled, even if the window was not a point of entry, if an insurance assessor comes out they may refuse the claim.
Crimestoppers Property Protector – £19.99
One of my more expensive purchases but nevertheless worthwhile, this enables you to mark about 200 of your valued possessions with a unique coded fingerprint registered to you. Property coming into possession of police is scanned using special scanners. This means if items of value to you are marked there is a much greater chance of you being reunited with them if they are ever stolen.
Outdoor Motion detector light – £10.34
During the hours of darkness lighting can not only be a comfort factor for the occupant, it is an excellent deterrent for would be opportunist burglars who clearly do not want to be seen. Be sure to fit them out of reach so they cannot be tampered with and if they are bright halogen lights, not pointing directly at neighbors houses so as to cause a nuisance.
7 Day digital plug in timer – £7.33
During the hours of darkness at night time most opportunist burglars will move on to another premises rather than risk being caught where a home owner is indoors. Having one or two lights programmed to came on an off during the hours of darkness for instance the lounge during the evening followed by the bedroom a little later, can help to give the appearance that someone is at home,. Some timers are able to vary the times slightly each day to increase the randomness a little.
Low Energy 15w Sensor Bulb – £10.34
If you have outdoor lights, these bulbs are not only energy saving, they automatically come on at dusk and go off at dawn so you don’t have to remember to switch them on and off all of the time. They will always come on at dusk and go off at dawn whether you are home or away. The light in itself can be a deterrent during darkness and the fact that they always come on at night makes it harder for a would be opportunist burglar to determine whether you are home or not.
Hawthorn Shrub – £1.29
Preventing unwanted visitors entering your property is what one needs to achieve, but nobody wants their home looking like a prison surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and that is not necessary. Mother nature provides an environmentally friendly, attractive and particularly effective alternative – the prickly bush.
Pricky plants make very effective deterrent hedges. Don’t go for height particularly at the front of the house as this could hide unwanted visitors on your property from sight. A high hedge can be great for an opportunist theft as they are confident of not being seen while they are up to no good.
Suitable plants can also be positioned strategically in order to deter people climbing drainpipes or to protect vulnerable (e.g. ground floor) windows. Prickly plants act as a psychological and physical barrier intended to make your property a less suitable target to the opportunistic thief.
Draper Hand operated Shredder – £6.84
Identity fraud has been well publicised in theUKand appears to still be growing. I am extremely careful with my banking documents and just today have discovered someone has correctly entered all of my credit card details to make a purchase from a Chinese website. Putting any financial or personal documents into the waste un-shredded is just inviting potential problems, therefore a shredder is on my absolute must list.
Basic Magnetic door/window alarm – 6.99
This very basic magnetic alarm can be fitted to doors or windows that may be vulnerable and has it’s own inbuilt siren when the contact is broken. These devices might be a good idea to take on holiday if you are at all worried about hotel or villa security as they can be fixed in seconds with double sided tape.