Home Security: How to Make Your Property Safer
While crime stats in Malta are relatively low, the increase in house break-ins over the last few years is a cause for worry and it may mean that you should be looking at home security as soon as possible. Many insurance companies will also require that you have at least what they consider as the minimum amount of security installed in your home.
Whether one likes it or not, it will happen sooner or later: theft of one’s personal possessions after a break-in at your property. What is worse than the feeling of having been violated and your sacred space compromised is the loss of items that are irreplaceable such as heirlooms and keepsakes.
The most common items snatched during a property break-ins are:
- Jewellery, as it is portable and saleable and can be melted down or altered
- Bank cards and credit cards for obvious reasons
- Laptops and tablets
- Valuable or smart watches
- Mobile phones
- Gaming devices
- Expensive tools
Here are some home security systems you can try to make your property safer from break-ins:
Very handy and always on, a smart doorbell will notify you of what is going on even when you are not at home via your mobile phone. You can also talk to anyone that is in front of the doorbell and you do not have to open the door! Do not be mistaken in thinking that this alone will be enough to safeguard you and your property.
This is usually installed in front of your main front door and will be retractable or permanently fixed and always made of strong metal with a secure lock. Having a security door will allow you to open your main front door and still be safely behind a barrier. It is also a good deterrent as it takes time to break through a security door and it makes a lot of noise if the burglars try and remove, break or bend it, attracting attention. If you install a retractable version, make sure it has permanent guide rails at the top and bottom as these are tougher to bend or break. Some doors come with a “slam lock”, meaning that should you enter in a hurry and slam the security door shut, it will automatically lock. The latter is useful should you be outside, get confronted and run for the safety of your house.
Something as simple as the double and triple glazing of windows can be a deterrent to intruders, as the windows will be tougher to break or smash. At the same time it will reduce noise and be more energy efficient and a bonus is that there are incentives available from the government for installing double-glazing. Double glazing on sliding doors will also help to improve energy efficiency and security, similar as in the case with windows.
Blinds, curtains and shutters are standard in most homes, so make sure you have these drawn most of the time as opportunistic criminals will not be able to gauge whether you are home or not and even if you are, what you are up to and where you are in the home.
Motion sensor activated lights
Have these installed all around your home as no potential thief wants to be caught in the harsh glare of a spotlight. It will also aid your CCTV in capturing better quality footage of any perpetrators.
One of the best deterrents is having an always-on CCTV home security system installed. It can record via a NVR 24 hours a day and keep the recordings on record for months. CCTV camera quality has improved immensely and the minimum standard for new systems is HD.
Have cameras that wirelessly communicate with the system as it is all too easy to snip a conventional cable and disable a wired camera’s recording capabilities. Also make it tamper-proof so that the camera automatically sends a tampering signal out if someone tries to disable it. Some cameras can automatically track movement and more expensive models are motorised so that it can be remotely controlled to zoom in and pan around. Make sure the CCTV is wired into you home alarm system so that the whole group of components can work together and provide you with the best protection possible.
Don't overshare information online
Never ever announce on social media that you are at the airport about to depart abroad or publicly post pictures of you and your family in exotic far-off locations until AFTER the fact. Social media is a very popular place for criminals to monitor who’s away from their homes. Do not ever advertise your absence from home.
Installing an alarm and CCTV system in your property will not only ensure that you have a peaceful night’s sleep, it will also add value to your property and provide you with undeniable concrete evidence should there be an attempt to break in. As we said, most insurance companies presently insist that you have some form of home security AND that it was activated or set properly prior to the break-in before they will consider any pay-outs. Don’t’ think you will get away with a fib when you forgot to arm the system, as the insurance company will ask for the system logs which will show them the date, time and whether it was activated or not…so when you have a system installed, get familiar with it and use it! It is after all for you and your family’s safety first and then secondly there to protect your belongings.