Naturally it’s always best for home security when a burglar simply cannot find a means of gaining access to a property. While no property is ever going to be completely secure, the fact is that suitable security measures are usually enough to deter all but the most desperate and opportunistic thieves. Yet for the sake of argument, in this article we’ll approach from the assumption that the criminal has managed to breach the property and is now inside. By following the advice in this piece we’ll see that while the situation is far from ideal, there are still plenty of home security precautions that can help force the burglar to flee empty handed.
The Burglar Will Be Under Extreme Stress
Before getting into detail it’s worth taking a moment just to consider the perspective of the burglar. They have made it into the property and will be looking for as many portable valuables as they can find, before getting out and away as quickly as possible. It’s rare for an urban home intrusion to last longer than a couple of minutes. A sensibly secured home will still have a security alarm going off, potentially alerting neighbors – both of which will be adding to the stress already racing through the burglar’s mind.
Such stress is one of the main reasons why law enforcement discourage residents from engaging burglars on their property. For the sake of this article we’ll assume that the property is vacant, but you can be certain that even the most veteran of burglars is going to find stress muddling their thinking. This leads to impulsive – often illogical decisions – which is another reason for why so many home invaders cause such a mess. They are literally desperate to find their loot and get away, which is why making this difficult for them should be a matter of course when it comes to sensible home security arrangements.
1) Consider Interior Locks
Not many people like the idea of having locks installed within their home. It hardly generates the most ‘homely’ of feelings, yet in some instances it can be a good idea. Remember that these locks needn’t be used every day – they are best intended for when the property is vacant for a long period of time. Excellent examples of this would be:
- Garages & Basements. Homes with either of these ought to have provision for keeping them locked. This is primarily because in many cases they will contain tools and a surprising amount of other miscellaneous valuables. Tools are the major concern as these can be used to help gain entry to other secured rooms – and even in the worst case scenario be employed as weapons.
- Home Offices. Plenty of people work from home nowadays and often will have plenty of high value equipment in home offices or studios. It’s a sensible precaution to ensure that these rooms have high quality lockable doors as you can be sure they will be one of the highest priorities on any burglar’s wish list.
2) Hide Essential House Keys
It’s amazing how many people keep all the keys for their home conveniently right next to their alarm keypad. Convenient as it might be for day to day living, doing so is basically opening up the entire property to the intruder. Rather than keep essential keys clearly visible, consider instead placing a key rack on the inside of an innocuous kitchen cupboard. These are the last places most burglars will ever consider looking for any valuables.
It should go without saying that under no circumstances, ever, should keys be left under any doormats. Emergency keys should be left with a trusted neighbor or if absolutely essential somewhere incredibly obscure and distant from the property itself. Remember that should a burglar gain access via lock and key, there’s a high chance it will invalidate home insurance policies.
3) Car Security
This rolls on from the point above but under no circumstances should car keys be kept alongside other domestic keys. Assuming that the family resident in our compromised property have gone on vacation and left their second vehicle at home, if a burglar finds that car key it’ll be like hitting the jackpot. Not only a high value asset – but also a ready made method quick escape!
Vehicles left in garages or even outside/under tarp should always be secured with disabling devices or at the very least wheel locks. A stressed out burglar won’t look twice at trying to operate a demobilized vehicle – and considering how cheap these devices are they should really be employed in daily use anyway.
4) Secure The Home Alarm System
Should the burglar hail from the more professional end of the spectrum, there’s a good chance that they’ll try and disable the alarm system. Performing this can be either amazingly easy or next to impossible – and 90% of determining this comes into how the system has been installed. Home security alarms should:
- Be situated within a cabinet, not wall mounted. This makes them far more difficult to break or isolate.
- Where possible literally installed into the wall. This helps make wires much more awkward to cut.
- Have multiple sirens positioned way out of easy reach.
As an incidental note on home alarm systems – trust no-one! The code should only be known by the residents and changed on a very regular basis. A good method of doing this for families is to change the code by rotating their dates of birth on the first of each month.
5) Make Escape Difficult
The vast majority of home intruders exit the property the same way that they got in. This is unless there is a much more convenient exit available – such as windows and doors with keys kept in their locks. Knowing that there’s multiple easy means of escape will give the burglar more confidence.
Keep all keys for all rooms hidden. Try not to label keys for specific doors or windows – basically make everything as ambiguous as possible.
6) Home Safes
This is worth an entire article on it’s own, but all families out to consider picking up a good quality family safe. There’s a huge range on the market nowadays and even reliable bio-metric models can be picked up surprisingly little. It needn’t be necessarily large but it ought to be secure. By this we’re not talking so much about it’s ability to stand up to a crowbar – but rather it should be secured to a wall or floor so that the burglar cannot simply throw it in a bag and run away with the whole safe.
The best location for a family safe is at the back of a closet and attached firmly to the floor. Unless the burglar has plenty of tools and time there’s next to no chance that they’ll be able to remove it.
On another note – gun safes. These have become really popular of late for people not just to transport their firearm safely but also their valuables. The problem is that keeping valuables inside a carry case is a recipe for disaster – the burglar will again just take the entire unit and worry themselves about gaining access later. Domestic gun safes should be also secured to a solid surface. A popular option is to attach it to the underside of a heavy duty piece of furniture where not only is it out of sight but also very awkward to detach.
Hopefully we’ll take from these pointers the simple lesson that even when a burglar has broken into the home, all is still not lost. People should expect home entertainment consumables such as games consoles, stereos and such like to be targeted but the real prize – money, jewelry and high value items – can be easily secured with little in the way of compromise. Anything that slows a burglar down is an advantage.