By the time you’ve bought your home, you’re deeply familiar with how much everything costs.
Mortgages, solicitors, removals -- it can feel endless.
But there’s one thing you can’t put a price on: feeling safe. And while it’s impossible to completely eliminate risk, you can make your new home as secure as possible.
The need to feel safe and protected is at the very centre of our well-being.
In fact, studies show that feeling safe can dramatically boost our own mental health.
It is especially important for children. Research has consistently demonstrated that a safe and secure home is a necessary condition for giving kids the best opportunity to succeed in life.
From a practical point of view, your new home is also a major financial investment, which requires protection.
You may be unfamiliar with the area you’ve just moved to, so it’s worthwhile checking out local crime statistics before move-in day.
If you’re in England, Northern Ireland, or Wales, your first port of call should be Police.uk, which allows you to plug in your postcode for specific local information. The site, which includes interactive maps, tells you the location of your nearest police station and it categorises crime in your area by type.
Sure, you’re excited about the big move. But think twice about posting photos on social media of yourself standing in front of your new home, especially if the address is visible.
Similarly, it may be best to avoid using location markers and the check-in facilities that many social media apps allow.
You never know who’s lurking online and may try to take advantage of the disorganisation that may accompany a big move.
If you still feel that you must do it, tighten up your security settings so only people you know very well have access to those updates.
Then, after you’ve settled in and gone on holiday, maybe consider waiting to post those awesome travel photos to your social media once you’re safely back at home. After all, burglars love an empty home.
Check out our blog on how to make moving house less stressful.
To protect your home against burglars, it helps to think like a burglar.
What are your home’s weak points? Where are its vulnerabilities?
Some things that burglars assess when deciding on potential targets include:
Access points (doors, windows)
Alarm systems or cameras
Brightness (or darkness) of home
Proximity to other people and residences
Building and being part of a strong community is an excellent way to help ensure that everyone is looking out for each other.
Start by making friends with your new neighbours. Once you’ve exchanged phone numbers, you can text each other for help, socialising, or if someone notices that a door or window has been left open.
Plus, your new neighbours can fill you in on what you should know about safety and security in the area.
Neighbourhood Watch groups can be useful to join, too.
If you just want a general overview of your new neighbourhood, the Office for National Statistics can help. It offers details on your area’s age range, life expectancy, and education levels.
Read our blog for advice on moving to a new city in the UK.
More burglars enter homes through doors than windows -- 70% compared to 30%, according to government data -- but it’s essential to keep all entryways secure.
Begin by ensuring that all of your outside doors are sturdy and have strong, protected hinges attaching them to their frames.
If your doors have a mail slot or pet door, check that no one can reach through to unlock the door or otherwise wriggle their way inside.
How are the locks? If your new home was previously occupied, change the locks as soon as possible.
Smart locks have grown increasingly common in recent years and may be worth the added investment.
You can also install deadbolts on your doors to reduce the threat of a picked lock. An additional option is a strike plate, which attaches to the door jam and makes it more difficult to force open a door.
Many people overlook their windows, but try to install windows that have sturdy locks and protect against draughts.
For the forgetful among us, some security specialists advise attaching a label to each window as a reminder to lock it.
Home-security systems, including alarms and cameras, are vital for anyone serious about protecting their home.
One 2012 study found that 60% of burglars said they’d ignore a particular home that had an alarm system in favour of an easier target.
Do your own research to find what’s right for you, but security systems range from full-service, to ones you can install yourself.
Many full-service options put security professionals in direct touch with the homeowner, so you’ll feel like you’ve got your own dedicated security team on standby should you need them. Most security companies also coordinate with local police.
Alarms often emit an ear-splitting sound whenever an entry point has been breached – just make sure all pets and children are inside before you set the alarm!
Sometimes even just the sight of an alarm system or camera is enough to frighten off a would-be burglar.
A popular place for a camera is simply the entryway, which will give you a visual on whoever is approaching your front door. Cameras can also be placed within your doorbell and accessed via a mobile app.
But cameras can be placed wherever you’d like, as long as they’re not pointed at the street or a neighbour’s property.
Having remote access to their feeds will allow you to keep eyes on your property at all times.
Burglars and vandals prefer to work in the shadows, so simply increasing your outdoor lighting can help ward off unwanted visitors.
Light up your front and rear gardens, as a well as any side areas close to your house or garage.
You can also install motion detector lights or other devices set on a timer outside your home to throw off potential intruders.
Similarly, though many of us love to have ample garden growth, those overgrown bushes and other dark outdoor spots can also provide cover for an intruder.
Keep your hedges and trees trimmed to reduce hiding places for potential lurkers.
I’m biased, but canines are the best friends you can have. They’re also excellent security for your home, even if just as a deterrent.
Dogs are very territorial, so they’ll bark loudly if a stranger enters your garden or tries to enter your home.
At the very least, that will alert you or your neighbours and it will probably be enough to frighten off any intruder. Depending on the dog, they may even attack the stranger.
Dogs are a commitment, so don’t think of them as simply a four-legged security guard. When you take the time to devote to training, building a bond, and exercising your dog, you’ll be rewarded with a friend for life!
Insurance alone won’t make your home any safer, but knowing that you’re entitled to some compensation in the event of a burglary will help you rest a little easier at night.
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