Keeping your home secure when you’re not around

This has been a concern since the dawn of mankind. Maslow tells us that as human beings, finding shelter is one of our primary needs for survival. Being hunter-gatherers, we needed a place to store all our gatherings, too. Thus came to be the age old problem of home security. Stopping other hunter-gatherers from gathering our stuff when we’re not at home! Despite this being one of the oldest and most important problems we face as humans, it seems some of us really don’t have a clue where to start. So let’s look at some good solutions.

One of the best ways is to have people visit your home regularly when you are not there. Even better, have someone house-sit. These could be your neighbors, close friends or family members. Just make sure that they know how to leave the house fully locked up and protected when they’re not around. Have them visit at different times every day. Have them draw curtains for the night time and open them in the morning. Make sure mail doesn’t accumulate in your mail box. Have them put out the trash and recycling cans, even if they’re empty. The main aim is to make anybody and everybody think that it’s business as usual at your place.

Even if your street doesn’t have a neighbourhood watch scheme, start putting one together. Have your trusted neighbors look out for your property when you are not there. You can return the courtesy when they take their vacations. Simply putting up a sign or sticker saying ‘Neighborhood Watch’ tells would-be burglars that there’s a good chance they are being watched at that very moment. This alone could be enough to deter them.

Another smart thing to do is not mention your vacation on social media at all until you’re safely back home. No photos, no countdowns “only 14 days to go, can’t wait!” telling criminals exactly when you’ll not be around. Don’t tell anyone, in fact. If you have to say something, perhaps within earshot of people you don’t know, tell them you’re having a ‘staycation’. You’ll be spending two weeks at home patrolling the perimeter of your property with a shotgun and a large dog.

Which brings me to the next tip. Have a dog. Have your neighbors feed and walk the dog for you. If that’s not possible, have a recording of a scary-sounding dog barking and clawing at the door every time someone triggers a sensor or rings the doorbell. At very least put a visible sign up saying “Beware of the dog” along with a picture of a dog taking a bite out of a burglar.

Any measures you take to secure your property from the exterior, such as putting up window shutters or chains and padlocks on doors will alert bad guys that you’re not around. Fit new locks if you have to, but don’t make it obvious. If you have an old garage door, check that it’s not likely to be easily hacked by garage door code breakers. You can learn more about this at Garage Automatics.

Finally, take a look at complete home security systems. These can be as simple or as sophisticated as your overdraft will allow. The most advanced systems will allow you to control your house’s security online from anywhere in the world, see what’s going on from security cameras and take defensive measures such as shining intense bright lights on potential intruders, talking to them and directly alerting the cops. Remember that any system like this on a network is vulnerable to being hacked itself. A heavy door with a complicated locking system is no use if your would-be burglar can disable it and have it open within seconds by simply typing a few lines of code into their laptop.

Beware of external digital meters and other such devices, which may betray the fact that you are away by showing the unusually low amount of consumption over recent days. These devices are better used indoors, but if they absolutely must be placed outside, have them locked. Still, the information that you’re not around is available to whoever works for the utility company, plus whoever they may decide to mention it to.