Five free ways to protect your home from a break in

Want to avoid your holiday, or even just a day trip to the beach, being ruined? Here are five free ways you can prevent a break in.

As the nation begins to emerge from lockdown, much of the population is beginning to enjoy time outside their homes. As a result, there is possibility for a rise in burglaries as homes are left unoccupied for several hours or even days as we embark on staycations.

There are several products on the market that serve to protect the home however, they can be costly.

To help you, security expert Tom Mae from Unclutterer shares five ways you can prevent and deter a break in within the home that are completely free. 

1) Don’t give away any clues

In my experience, it is rare that a burglary occurs from an opportunist criminal. They tend to scout locations to determine which properties they deem desirable and work to gain insight into the occupants’ habits.

Often, burglars have no option but to judge a book by its cover and take their surroundings at face value.

If you have expensive bikes (whether they are children’s or adult), that you leave on the front garden, this indicates that you invest in quality products but do not look after them in the way that you perhaps should.

Therefore, it is likely that you have expensive items inside the home, but your careless nature means that you have left a window or door unlocked. Ensure that you leave no items in your front garden at any time.

2) Watch out for ‘house drafts’

Burglars who regularly break into properties are experts within their field. They will assess areas and leave assets behind to indicate the occupier’s movements.

A ‘house draft’ is a term used by both criminals and the authorities and refers to the instance where a criminal will choose a home that they deem a desirable target and leave something behind at the property.

This action works to A) remind them of their chosen property and B) see if the asset is taken away, indicating that someone is in the property.

Sometimes, when debris is left in our garden, or even on the pavement outside our home, we can feel a little lazy and leave it there until we have time to throw it away. My advice is to move any products or debris from your home immediately as these may be house drafts.

If you are vacating your property for a period, ask a neighbour to look out for any rubbish that accumulates on the property and to remove it. It is also worth asking them to ensure that your post is not hanging half in and half out of your post box as this can also indicate that no one is home. 

3) Don’t advertise your empty home on social media

Social media is so integrated into our every day lives that often, we update our channels without thinking. However, this can have major consequences.

Showing off your new purchases on social media can reveal to burglars what kind of belongings they are likely to find in your home. If your social media settings see that your profile is open to the public, you may want to adjust your settings.

I am always surprised how many people tag themselves in at airports, boast that they are about to embark on a road trip or upload the obligatory ‘sausage legs’, image by the pool.

You literally may as well update your status to ‘my home is empty’. I know that getting away is exciting, especially in the current climate, but post your images once you have returned home with a caption that is in the past tens. 

4) Keep keys out of sight

Returning home leads many to throw their keys on the side and forget about them until they need them again. But leaving your keys in front of the window gives the green light for burglars to break in and steal the keys to your home and vehicles.

Make it as hard as you can for burglars to obtain keys to your valuables. The solution is not to leave the keys in a drawer instead, opt for place that is really unusual.

I advise that you get creative for example, washing a tin of beans once used and placing your keys in there and then in your cupboard is a great hiding place. Some people also gain reassurance in changing up their hiding spaces on a regular basis.’

5) Never let your guard down – not even ‘this once’

I cannot tell you how many times a person who is a victim of a burglary says, ‘the only time I didn’t lock the back door I was burgled’, etc. Even if you are just popping out, close all of your windows.

It does not matter if you are simply walking to your local corner shop, you never know who is watching. I never want to scare people, but it is wise to be mindful and get into the habit of adopting precautions before you leave the house. 

Photo by Tucker Good