As the school holidays get underway, and everyone feels a little more relaxed during the summer months too (we hope!) it's easy to overlook the importance of maintaining your home security. Warmer days and nights often mean we've got doors and windows open more than usual, and those lazy weekend summer BBQs where the drinks are flowing freely may make us a little ..... forgetful .... when we get home again.
Being burgled is not something anyone wants to experience. Aside from the loss of personal property, there's the emotional impact of knowing that someone has been in your home without permission, violating your personal space and dealing with that often takes longer than the insurance claim process.
So what can you do to help keep your home, possessions and property safe this summer (and all year round)?
If it's got a lock on it, use it! Whether that's the door or window, if it's got the ability to be locked, then make sure it is. Even if you're at home during the day, it's worth keeping doors and windows locked to prevent unauthorised access to your premises. You might be out in the back garden enjoying some sunshine and not hear the front door open. Your home security is important and your insurer may well take a rather dim view of a claim being made when the doors haven't been locked! Of course, if you've got children or you are going in and out of the house frequently it can be frustrating to keep locking and unlocking the door, but maybe there's another way to keep the main entrance to the home secure whilst still allowing easy passage for your family - consider using the garden gate and back door if you're mostly in the garden, or consider fitting door alarms that sound when a door is opened.
When it comes to the windows, don't forget that a determined thief will wriggle their way through a fairly small gap! Of course, when the temperatures are rising, we want to have the windows open to get some air flowing, but again don't want any uninvited visitors using them. Fortunately devices such as window restrictors can help here, allowing the window to be partially opened, whilst also securing it against being opened any further. We have a range of these suitable for a variety of window types on the link below:
Don't forget too that it is well worth reading the small print on your home insurance documents to see what they say about insurance approved locks - boosting your home security by fitting British Standard locks can help reduce your insurance premiums. You may find it more difficult to insure your home if you don't have adequate locks on your doors. Keep keys out of sight, and don't leave them in the lock either.
2) Gates, garages and sheds
In the same way that we keep the main doors and windows on our homes secure, we should also pay attention to other access points to the premises, and external storage such as sheds and garages. If you're considering using padlocks for this, take a look at this article on the key things to consider when choosing your padlock - they come in all shapes and sizes so it's worth making sure you get the right one for your needs. Alternatively you may wish to fit a more substantial gate lock or one that requires an access code to be entered - again we've a range of such items for you to view, and please do get in touch if you've got any questions on which would be the best for your needs!
3) Alarm Systems
Depending on where you live, you may also have or wish to have an alarm system to form part of your home security. These systems range in complexity from self install versions through to those you'd be advised to have installed by a specialist, and may or may not be linked to an external monitoring centre. If you do have one, make sure you check it over regularly, and that any components requiring batteries have working ones (check your smoke alarms at the same time!) and ensure that any faults are addressed. For more help and advice regarding alarm systems get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help.
4) Don't let your common sense go on holiday!
If you're heading off for a few days away, excited as you may be, resist the temptation to post your holiday countdown on social media, or make comments about how much you're looking forward to meeting Mickey Mouse! Even if your personal profile pages are reasonably well controlled with tight privacy settings, if a friend 'likes' something on your page, other people may well be able to see that too and you don't know who they might be! It's easy to inadvertently post your location on such sites too, and when combined with other clues like photos, it can be fairly easy to work out where your property is.
Consider asking a neighbour to pop in and open and close curtains or blinds, move the post from the door mat, and water the houseplants, thereby reducing the visual clues that you're away. Perhaps consider use of a timer switch or two to turn lamps on and off at certain times in the evening too to give the impression of the property being occupied. If you're going away before your refuse collection is due, don't put it out early. Either take it the local tip before you go, or store it securely out of sight until the next collection is due, remembering of course that boxes and packing from new purchases of some value could also give potential burglars a reason to consider taking a closer look!
So with our top tips in mind get out and about and enjoy the summer, whilst making sure you keep your home security in fine form too!