What you need to know:
The biggest headache home owners grapple with is how to ensure that their homes and property are safe in their absence.
The biggest headache home owners grapple with is how to ensure that their homes and property are safe in their absence, whether they will be away for a few days, weeks, or even a month.
Just as you planned for your holiday break in advance, it is important to plan for your home’s security in advance.
Two security experts who explain how you can go about this.
Byron Adera, the Association of Corporate and Industrial Security Management Professionals of Kenya spokesperson, points out that incidents of burglaries, thefts and robberies have increased in the past two years, which could partly be due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, which has left many without a source of income.
As a result, there are quite a number of opportunistic crimes, and the festive season, when most leave their homes unattended, presents such opportunities. In mind is break-ins and theft of fittings such as water piping and electricity connections.
Richard Tuta, a security expert and analyst, adds vandalism and malicious damage to property to this list.
“What should guide you on the level of security arrangement you need to put in place is the worth of your property and the level of insecurity in the neighbourhood they live in,” says Tuta.
Depending on where you live and how secure the neighbourhood is, the wall or live fence you have in place is enough to protect your property since it conceals your home from prying eyes.
Others may require added security features such as a CCTV camera to deter burglars, while in some cases, a watchman stationed at the gate will do.
Adera advises making your home less desirable to thieves and burglars by investing in measures or solutions that will make break-ins difficult. This means investing in fences, access control systems, sturdy locks, doors, windows, and securing valuables items in safes or moving them to safe deposit box.
Tuta advises having padlocks and other forms of locks on the inside, rather than on the outside, where everyone passing by is able to tell whether you’re in or not.
It is also advisable to ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home in the duration that you will be away, that way, they can raise alarm should they spot anyone trying to gain entry into your home.
“You can take this further and ask a relative or anyone else you trust to house-sit for you, or even better, lease out your home for the duration you will be away, especially if you will be travelling for a week or two, or even a month,” says Adera.
It also pays to keep information about your impending travel out of town and how long you will be away to yourself, just in case this information gets to the wrong ears. Also refrain from posting holiday pictures on social media in real time, because sophisticated robbers can use such information to map out their break-ins.
It is also important to display some form of activity within your compound and outside because this indicates there are people in the home, which discourages a break-in. You can, for instance, instruct your caretaker to clean up, say trim the fence and weed and water the flower beds within and outside the compound.
“If nothing is happening around your home for days, and if all is silent during the day and dark at night for days, it is an indicator that no one is in, an invitation for an intruder on the lookout for an easy target,” adds Tuta.
Another option is installing a home security system which secures entry points into your home with sensors that sound the alarm and alerts a security company when a burglar gains entry into your home.
Before you read any further, consider how a home security system installed could give you peace of mind while you are away. In the simplest terms, a home security system is a set of electronic components that link together and monitor your home. Do you need a home security system? Only you can answer that question. We recommend, though, that all homeowners install security systems because, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And certainly having a security system makes it easier to check on your home when you’re on vacation.
What specific components do you need to purchase for your home security system? That will depend on your particular situation. An home in the village will demand a different setup from one in an urban centre, for example.
Outdoor security lights: Start by making sure thieves cannot use the cover of darkness to break into your house. Well-placed security lights can eliminate any shadowy hiding spots. What does “well-placed” mean, exactly? It means you should be mindful of how your lights affect your neighbors, but you should light up any entry point into your home, including all doors and windows. Finally, do not leave your lights on all the time. Lights that never go off are like red flags telling burglars you are not at home. Instead, use smart lights with built-in motion detection so they only pop on when they detect movement. For more, check out our article on smart lighting costs.
Security cameras: Security lights work particularly well when paired with security cameras. Lights can startle potential burglars, but cameras connected to security apps let you see exactly what’s happening at your house, even if you are hundreds of miles away in a hotel room. If you get alerted that an alarm has gone off, you can call the police and put a stop to it. You probably will not have to call the police, though, because the cameras themselves send messages to potential home invaders that you take your security seriously.
As with lights, think carefully about where you place cameras so that you can see all of your entry points. Installing outdoor security cameras 8 to 10 feet off the ground will ensure you get the best angles and make the cameras harder to steal. You might also consider hiding your outdoor cameras, though you may be more interested in using your security cameras to deter burglars. Hidden cameras don’t work as well at frightening burglars away.
Finally, think about the IP rating of your cameras. The IP rating tells you just what kind of weather a camera can withstand. You don’t want to lose your video feed just because a random thunderstorm pops up. Outdoor cameras need ratings of at least 65. At that level, they are dust-tight and can withstand water projected from a nozzle. However, for even more protection, you can purchase cameras with ratings up to 68. At that level, they resist dust, dirt, and sand, and can even be immersed in water up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes. If you are wondering which cameras measure up to these standards, you might take a look at our complete list of the best outdoor security cameras.
Video doorbells: Video doorbells are one of the most useful security products to hit the market in the last decade. Of course, as the name implies, these devices work great as cameras. They are placed to capture exactly what is happening on your doorstep. In addition, though, many video doorbells include two-way audio. Two-way audio allows you to talk to whoever happens to be knocking, giving that person the impression you are at home on the other side of the door, even if you are on the app across the country. Door sensors: Door sensors use magnetic circuits to send you alerts when your door is opened.
Window sensors: Much like door sensors, window sensors let you know when the seal on a window has been broken. Equipment options: Different kinds of homes need different security setups. Make a list of exactly what you need and look for companies that offer packages to suit those needs.
Additional reporting form security.org