Securing the outside of your home is important to ensuring that everything is safe and should be the starting point to your attempts to improve security. Not just the outside of the building, but the property as a whole.
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Gates and Gate Locks
Think about the access points for your property. Where are the gates, where can they be seen from, how to they lock, how secure are they? These are the sorts of questions you should be asking yourself if you want to keep your home safe from unwanted intruders. Make a list of things you might need to think about, such as if your gate is easy to climb over, doesn't lock properly or even just needs maintenance. Maintaining the gate and the gate lock are important aspects of home improvement to keeping them functional and keeping your property safe, so check it every so often and if you notice something wrong deal with it as soon as possible.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are the most likely entry points to your property, for obvious reasons. You should ensure that you have double glazing, not only because this is the most energy efficient option, but because it is an increasingly cost effective solution these days as well as the most secure choice available for such a low budget, which will certainly help to make it worth your while. Toughened glass or double glazing is particularly important on the ground floor, where someone is more likely to attempt to smash the windows in order to gain access to the property.
Fences and Fence Maintenance
Fences and walls aren't much use if they aren't properly maintained. You should be sure that there are no gaps or weak points around the perimeter, as well as being sure that your fence or wall is high enough to prevent easy access. You could also try using specific types of paint that make the surface harder to climb over or leave a mark on those who do attempt it so that they can be more easily tracked down.
The maintenance of the fences and walls is not the only thing you should concern yourself with; you should think about what is around your fences and walls too. Having trees growing close to the walls and fences can not only cause damage to them over time, but can make it easier for them to be climbed over. Low walls close to a high wall and walls close to an accessible part of a building can also create a vulnerability.
Also, consider how vulnerable your neighbours' properties are; is it possible that their vulnerabilities could create an access point to your own property? If this is the case you might want to consider discussing the vulnerabilities with your neighbours, or even just pointing out some weak areas of their security to them in order to help them protect themselves.
Even if the outside of your home is as secure as could be, you can further your efforts by ensuring that the inside of your home is just as secure, this will help to reduce damage and loss should someone manage to gain entry into the property despite your efforts to the outside.
Internal door and window locks
Make sure you close and lock your windows and doors when you leave the house, even if you aren't going out for long you should ensure that the windows and doors are closed and locked. You should also ensure that the type of lock you use for your windows and doors is suitable, windows that require a key to open and can only be opened from the inside are the most suitable option. Additionally reinforcements that prevent the window from being opened beyond a certain point help to ensure that access is prevented.
Items out of sight
It's surprising that something as simple as keeping your valuable out of sight of the outside could have such an impact, but the idea is just not to tempt people. Most people don't wander along the street with the plan to bust into your house and take your stuff - they do so based on opportunity, and if they walk past and see hundreds of pounds worth of kit just sitting on your windowsill they're probably going to at least consider it.
Keep your valuables away from windows and doors, and close the curtains at night so that people outside can't see so easily into your house. You may also consider installing blinds to obscure their view into your property. Don't make things easy for them and don't advertise your possessions, this will help to prevent any attacks of opportunity.
If you have something of particular value it is always a good idea to ensure that it is well protected. This might means that it is kept in a room that can be locked, or a safe. Safes are common for things such as valuable jewellery and objects of sentimental value; things that you don't use often but don't want to lose. Of course ensuring that expensive items like game consoles and televisions are protected can mean installing security systems or getting good insurance, as these aren't as easy to protect if your property is still vulnerable.
One of the easiest ways of protecting yourself from financial loss should anything happen, is to insure your property and your possessions. In a lot of cases your home insurance also covers the contents of your home, so you can be confident that if your security fails and you are at a loss you can have the stolen items replaced or you can be compensated so as to replace them. Insurance can cost a bit and consists of regular payments, but it would certainly be worth it if something did happen.
Security alarms have two key benefits; the first of all is exactly what they're designed to do. They alert everyone in the surrounding area that there has been a breach of security, which hopefully means that if someone does manage to break into your property at least action will be taken before they can get away with anything; so you won't really lose out.
The second benefit of a security alarm is that their presence is a deterrent. Which is why a box is placed on the front of the property when the alarm is installed, not only to emit the loud noise - but to make potential intruders aware that the property is protected.
Get a dog. Really. Even if you're allergic to dogs there are hypoallergenic breeds that could be ideal for you. The fact of the matter is that a dog makes an excellent companion and protector, even if they just bark it can help to deter intruders. Dogs are well known for protecting their homes against intruders and are commonly used to guard properties and objects that are valuable; and even the best guard dogs can make fantastic and loving family pets.