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The Security Sleuth

Your home security is not mission impossible

 
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Home security may not have been at the top of people’s agenda during lockdown – after all, we’ve acted as our own home security by being in it all the time! But with more people now going out to work or heading off to enjoy an evening out or a long overdue break, it’s time to turn our minds back to protecting our homes.

In this week's Which Make Yourself at Home-r are you? it's the turn of the home Security Sleuth. We asked our in-house experts Jane Farrell, Head of Security UK&I, and Stephen Giles, Security Optimisation Manager, for their tips on how to beat the burglars.

Jane told us that a big part of our security mindset is based on the acceptance of the fact that something may happen to us in the first place: "It isn’t nice to think about being burgled and a recent survey by SimpliSafe revealed that around half of us aren’t worried about it at all – but no one is immune."

"During lockdown, people have generally become more relaxed, so we all need to start thinking about reinstating the steps we used to take when leaving the house on a regular basis. If you want to perform a quick check to make sure everything’s as it should be, you can use this handy guide from Yale."

"Opportunists are still striking and, very sadly, some criminals are targeting vulnerable groups during the pandemic. We should all do our bit in making sure that older people or those with physical or mental disabilities are aware of potential security risks. For example, to avoid doorstep scams, don’t immediately agree to any offer that involves an advance payment or having to sign a contract on the spot. Always speak with a friend or family member first."

Also, during lockdown, many cars have been sitting neglected on driveways, so Jane advises us to cover all bases when it comes to our four-wheeled friends: “Don’t forget about car security. It’s too easy to lock and go after a busy day – do a quick check to ensure valuables are hidden away when you leave the vehicle, and store your keys out of sight in your house – try using an RFID pouch to protect them." Sounds like sage advice to make sure our cars are still on our drives when we need them again!

Hopefully you enjoyed The Titchmarsh’s horticultural tips last week, but if you’ve invested in an expensive new lawnmower – be careful. ‘Outdoor security is often overlooked," says Jane, "but an estimated £4bn is spent every year on garden supplies and decorative furniture and thieves will even target plants! Consider adding a small gravel or stone area so you can hear intruders approach and always treat the wooden fences and sheds that protect your belongings regularly to stop them rotting.

Bikes are often targeted too – either by opportunists who can just ride off, or by specialists who know what they’re looking for. Make sure bikes aren’t visible and lock them up – ideally to a secure anchor point within a garage or shed."

Luckily, the market for security technology is developing fast and there are lots of gadgets available to help you keep things secure. Stephen gives us a quick run-down: "A home security system is a great deterrent – especially if it looks clean and well-maintained. But technology has recently gone one step further. You might be familiar with video doorbells such as Ring, but you can also get smart door locks which work through your phone, so you can set doors to lock automatically after a certain amount of time and grant access without a key if necessary."

Jane’s last word goes to insurance: "It won’t prevent theft or damage, but it does provide a financial safety net. Home insurance depends on your needs so it’s always worth checking what’s covered, and don’t assume an expensive policy is necessarily better."

Well that’s us covered! Next week, in the last of our mini-series, we turn to The Techsplorer. Navigating their way through a new world of home working with ease – Techsplorers have a (keyboard) shortcut for everything.

 

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