Make it difficult for burglars to get in. Picture: iStock
WHEN I was having lunch with a friend recently, her phone pinged every few minutes — she had just installed a front-door camera that sent an alert to her smartphone every time someone approached the door.
The problem was her front door was only a couple of metres from the footpath, so all these lunch interruptions were not would-be burglars, after all; simply innocent passers-by.
The camera sounded like a nifty little security device, actually — it just needed its settings tweaked.
Home security has changed quite a lot since wi-fi and smartphones entered our lives.
As Bryan de Caires, chief executive of the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL), pointed out: we live in a connected world.
“We can remotely open or close our front door to let people in or for deliveries to be dropped off,” he said.
“We can monitor surveillance cameras in our home from our smartphone anywhere in the world.”
He added we could also use smartphones to make it seem like someone was at home — by using smart technologies to remotely turn on the lights, music and TV.
A home-security camera offers an extra layer of protection. Picture: iStock
Adding up the cost
With smart security technologies available, is it really necessary to have monitored home security?
“While a stand-alone alarm system without monitoring can be an effective deterrent to would-be thieves, it relies on a neighbour or yourself actioning the alarm to get assistance, which may not always be possible,” Mr de Caires said.
Of course, it depends how much you want to spend on your home security. Good-quality security doors and locks, plus sensor lights, might appeal more than a monthly fee for security monitoring.
Use common sense
Regardless of whatever hi-tech home-security systems they’ve installed, people can become complacent, which can make them vulnerable to being burgled.
“People are often the weakest link,” Mr de Caires said.
“Be sensible and make sure doors and windows are locked before you go out — even if you’re popping out just for a few minutes.
“Don’t leave a laptop or smartphone within easy reach of an open window. And don’t leave items such as ladders and rubbish bins outside near windows that offer thieves easy access.”
Mr de Caires has these other handy tips:
• Don’t leave your key ‘hidden’ outside. If you need to leave out a spare key, put it in a lockbox that requires a PIN to open.
• Don’t advertise you’re on holiday on social media. Only use closed groups for your good friends and family to keep in touch while you’re away. Also, have a neighbour park in your driveway and keep your bins inside so your house doesn’t look as though there’s no one home.
• Don’t advertise you have fancy new household items by leaving large electronics boxes poking out of your recycling bin. Break the boxes down and put them under the boring recycling.
• If your power or fuse box is located outside your house, keep it locked with quality keyed locks at all times. This means burglars can’t shut off your power to disable your alarm. Consult your power company about the best way to secure your power box.
• Only use a licensed security professional to install a security system — after all, you’re placing a lot of trust in the person. A licensed professional would have been vetted and passed a police check.
Consider investing in an outdoor lockbox. Picture: iStock
I was chuffed to receive a small discount on my new home-and-contents insurance because I have a dog over a certain weight (10kg) — apparently, it didn’t matter that my dog is more teddy bear than vicious guard dog.
A study published by the Australian Institute of Criminology supports this doggie discount policy.
Researchers asked people who had committed burglaries what would deter them from breaking into a property and the interviewees revealed barking dogs were even more of a deterrent than working alarm systems.
Your dog could make you eligible for an insurance discount. Picture: iStock
Having a sturdy security door is definitely a good way to keep your home safe, but why settle for something merely functional when there are beauties like this Decoview security screen door (pictured below) available?
Made to measure from ultra-strong, marine-grade, laser-cut aluminium screens, Decoview doors are available in 50 designs and more than 150 colours (plus, there’s a custom-design service). Prices start at $1500 for a standard-sized door. See www.decoview.com.au.
Make a style statement with a security door. Picture: Decoview