With some of the highest crimes rates in the world, home security is one of the most important aspects of our everyday lives as South Africans. From electric fencing and security bars to motion sensors and CCTV systems, we spend thousands every year trying to protect our families and properties.
With such high security expenses, you’d think we’d make the most of our existing home security systems but, you’d be surprised at just how many people are doing it all wrong. From blocked motion sensors to incorrectly positioned cameras, here are 10 ways to boost your home security in 10 minutes.
#1: Lock your electric gate motor cage and access door
With frequent power outages and tight load shedding schedules, many South African homeowners are making the mistake of leaving their gate motor cages and anti-theft systems unlocked. In just a minute you can improve your home security simply by walking out to your gate motor and ensuring that it’s locked.
#2: Cleaning up around your security gate rail
You’d be surprised at just how much trouble a few stones and leave stuck between security gate rails and wheels have caused serious security issues and made gate motor maintenance even more costly. By simply raking and sweeping up around your gate rail, you can ensure the smooth running of your electric gate-an integral part of your home security.
#3: Changing burnt out light-bulbs
Lighting is a very important, especially when it comes to outdoor safety and security. Whether it’s work or, the kids, there’s always a long list of things that you need to get done and sometimes, home maintenance just takes a back seat. If you’re sitting with burnt out light bulbs, take a couple of minutes to change them, it will instantly boost your home security.
#4: Cutting down shrubs, branches and trimming grass
Not only does excessive shrubbery and thick branches offer criminals great hiding places and obscure your view of your property but, they make CCTV cameras useless by blocking views, make it impossible for your LED floodlights with PIR to function properly and can even affect the proper functioning of your electric fence. Cut them down and tidy them up to boost your home security instantly.
#5: Pack your tools and garden furniture away
Criminals will target homes where there are visible valuable items like tools and furniture lying around. Whether this is a hosepipe and lawnmower or a ladder and some garden tools, leaving such items out will put you at a greater risk of burglary so, pack them away! Many tools and furniture items are also very commonly used to break into their owner’s homes.
#6: Lock balcony, veranda and stoop doors and windows
Home invasions and burglaries do not generally originate from your front or even back doors – the ones that feature the strongest locks, have a camera pointed at them and are likely to have a magnet sensor on them too. Nope.
They originate from doors and windows which are not secured or left unlocked because they’re seen as secondary or, difficult to access by homeowners. Do a walk around of your home and lock all windows and doors-even the upstairs ones you think would be impossible to get to-these are the weakest points of your home security.
#7: Adjusting CCTV cameras for better views
Whether you have wireless smart cameras that you’ve setup yourself or an elaborate system set up by a security company, you could greatly improve your home security by simply adjusting the cameras to offer a better view.
You do not need to see more of your brick faced wall or more of the blue sky…you should be seeing more of your driveway or security gate. Have a look at your camera images and see if you can improve views and reduce blind spots by adjusting your cameras.
#8: Adjusting CCTV camera positions so night vision actually works
Many people that set up their own CCTV cameras make the mistake of setting them up in a way that the camera’s Infra-red LEDs are blocked. Infra-red light is invisible to the human eye but can be picked up by night vision cameras beautifully.
This allows us to enjoy video footage during the most dangerous times-when the cover of darkness brings criminals out. If you set up a camera in a way that it’s infra-red lights are blocked, you’re wasting a security feature. You should be able to see fairly clearly with an infra-red camera, even in low light situations.
IR glare could also be an issue. If you see a cloud on your screen at night, this is likely happening because your camera’s infra-red lights are being reflected off of something close by. Try adjusting the angle of the camera or removing the object reflecting its light.
#9: Draw or change your curtains
You should NEVER be able to see inside of your home from the street or from your gate – ever. Criminals are known to watch homeowners and their family members and workers going about their business before burglarizing or perpetrating a home invasion.
Always draw curtains in the evening and make sure they are not laced or sheer enough to allow someone to see through them. If you only have laced curtains in any room, add solid curtains that cannot be seen through.
#10: Lock your garage and the door leading from your garage into your home
Many homes that are burglarized are done so through the garage of the home. Since many homeowners automate their garages, they feel they do not need to lock the door leading from their garage into their kitchens or pantries.
Criminals have experience and this is the way first way that they’ll try and get into your home. Lock both your garage and door leading from your garage into your home as a rule to ensure extra safety.
Remember to develop an evening lock-up routine and ensure that your security gate, doors and windows are locked and that your alarm system armed. This reduces the chances that you’ll forget something crucial and have the unfortunate experience of having your home invaded or burglarized.