If you’ve just got the keys to your new dream home, you’ll have hundreds of things on your to-do list - from decorating to DIY. But right at the top of that list should be home security.
New properties are often targeted by burglars, especially if there are expensive power tools on-site while a house is being renovated. Ensuring your home and family are protected is more urgent than decorating the spare room, so get it sorted before you pick up a paintbrush.
To help you put the right home security measures in place, here’s a handy guide to the key essentials to start thinking about. Not all of these may be doable at first, as your budget may be tight after buying a property. But these pointers should help you put together at least a basic home security plan.
Yes, curtains. They may not be remotely high-tech, but it’s amazing how much protection from opportunistic burglars a pair of closed curtains can provide. Many new homeowners don’t get round to putting theirs up (or even buying some) until a few days/weeks after they get the keys, but during this time your valuables will be on full display to any passer-by.
Motion-activated security lights
If you’re buying a new home in winter, this is a significant security measure to install. Burglars and trespassers like to operate under cover of darkness, so they won’t like a bright light shining on them when they approach the house.
CCTV cameras serve a couple of important purposes within home security. Firstly, they’re a deterrent to would-be burglars. No one wants to be caught on camera committing a crime, so if your CCTV is spotted it's likely the burglar will try their luck elsewhere. But if something does happen, your surveillance camera can record evidence that the police can hopefully use to prosecute.
A burglar alarm system
An alarm system is particularly recommended if you won’t live in your new home for a while. For example, if you need to take a few weeks to renovate it, staying elsewhere in the meantime. A burglar alarm protects your property when you’re not there. Tip - make sure you use lighting timers if you are away for days at a time, to make it appear as if someone’s home.
Home office protection
If you are working from home, you’ll need to take some steps to secure your home office space - especially if you deal with confidential information or documents. You’re moving into a brand new property, so you never know who your neighbours are or who’s lived in the house before you.
You may feel a little paranoid, but sweeping the home office with a bug detector at least gives you peace of mind that no one is watching or listening in. These detectors are more widely used than you may think, especially for home-based businesses needing to protect sensitive commercial information.
Coordinate with your neighbours
It’s the lowest-tech solution but often one of the most effective. Your neighbours can be your greatest weapon in the fight against property crime. This is especially important for people who may have started using their home as an office and now have hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds worth of office equipment.
Many communities utilise Facebook and WhatsApp to coordinate informal and unofficial ‘neighbourhood watch’ groups. They can be extremely effective in tackling low-level petty crime and high-level property crime.
See somebody or something that doesn’t seem right? Flag it with your neighbours to warn them and to find out if you ought to be worried. They’ll either be able to confirm any suspicions you may have or put your mind at rest. What could look like a criminal casing your house may be a tradesperson who has access to your neighbour’s back garden for the day.
Neighbours working together can also be very effective in solving crimes that would otherwise go unpunished. If one neighbour gets a partial description of a criminal while the other manages to catch their car's registration, this patchwork of information can be put together to create a fuller picture.
Expecting a package but you’re going to be out? Ask your neighbours to make sure the delivery person doesn’t just leave it in your front garden.
Make sure your neighbours know how to contact you in an emergency and vice versa.