When it comes to protecting your home, can you afford to put a price on your family’s safety? Keeping your property and family safe should always be your number one priority, but there are ways to incorporate home security on a budget.
Izzy Schulman, Director at Keys 4 U, talks us through some ways you can do just that, including a simple change to your strike plate and a cost-effective alternative to CCTV systems.
Nail your home security
Over a quarter of UK burglaries are a result of simply forcing entry. It takes just seconds for someone to kick your front door open if the right precautions aren’t in place, so it’s important to reinforce your door to protect against brute force.
'One cost-effective way to secure your home is simply replacing the screws holding the strike plate and hinges in place. Often, the screws used to fix these in place are less than an inch, providing little resistance against repeated heavy strikes,' explains Izzy.
'Remove your existing screws with a drill and replace them with longer screws – around 70mm-80mm – so they reach beyond the door frame and into the structure of the house, giving them greater stability against forced entry.'
Make sure to remove the screws and replace them one at a time – this will keep your strike plate in place while you insert the new screws, preventing it from moving out of alignment with your lock.
Locked away and out of sight
Keeping your valuables locked away doesn’t have to mean investing in a safe. There are plenty of affordable lockable containers on the market – whether they come with a built-in safety element like a keyhole or combination lock, or with space for you to attach a padlock.
'Burglars aim to get in and out of each home as quickly as possible to avoid detection. And as almost half of UK burglaries are opportunistic, thieves often won’t be carrying tools to help them break open secure storage – keeping your valuables safe, even if the worst happens.'
So what's recommended? Key lock boxes are inexpensive devices to keep your spare keys locked away, requiring a corresponding key or passcode to access, and they're much safer than leaving a key under that mat.
Ex-burglars claim the biggest deterrent when choosing a target home is a visible CCTV system. However, for many homeowners, this could be a significant investment.
For a cost-effective alternative, consider installing a smart doorbell, suggests Izzy: 'The compact device lets homeowners record footage from their front door, putting off potential intruders in the same way as a larger camera system. Plus, they fit easily in place of your existing doorbell, saving on the cost of a professional installer, which would be needed to hook up a CCTV system.'
You should also consider wireless door and window alarms. 'Not only are they a fraction of the price of a complete home alarm system but unlike fitted systems, they’re versatile and can be moved around the home, wherever you need them,' Izzy explains.
The proactive approach
It pays to be ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting your home. Wear and tear on your locks mean you never know when they may stop working, leaving you unable to lock your home safely.
'Working with a locksmith on a non-emergency appointment saves you on the premium rates of an urgent callout. They assess your locks for weak points and make any necessary repairs there and then, before anything goes wrong,' says Izzy.
There are some simple, safe habits you can adopt to protect your home – and it doesn’t cost a penny. For a start, keeping your valuables out of sight of windows and letterboxes may deter opportunist thieves who are scouting properties and weighing up the risk and reward of breaking in.
If you’re going away on holiday, or even a short break, consider leaving the radio, TV or interior lights on to make it look like your home is occupied. See our tried and tested roundup of the best smart lights for your home.
You can also ask a neighbour or family member to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Giving them a spare key to your home means they can stop your mail building up – a telltale sign to burglars that your home is unoccupied.
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