By Mark Isaiah David
Home security used to be organic – my grandmother’s old wooden house used to have three locks on the door, wooden bars for the windows, and a dog that kept vigil at night. When we went on vacation and had to leave the house unguarded for a few days, we’d ask the neighbors to keep an eye out and they’d do it gladly – knowing that they can expect the same from us.
But times have changed. We no longer build bars for our windows, unwilling to block our view. We barely know our neighbors, much less employ communal security practices. We’ve shed these safeguards despite living in a more dangerous time.
Fortunately, technology and employing a little bit of sense can strengthen our home security. Here are some tips you can use to protect your home:
Don’t let them know it’s unguarded
The greatest deterrent to a break-in is still the presence of actual people who can raise the alarm. But leaving the house empty is sometimes unavoidable. As such, preventing thieves from knowing that there would be no one left in the house is of utmost importance.
Don’t announce on social media that you’ll go on vacation – wait until you get back before you post your pictures. Instead of making arrangements with the post office to hold your mail while you’re away, ask your neighbor to pick up flyers/newspapers or anything that will build up on your doorstep. Regular deliveries (without it piling up) creates the illusion of a manned home.If you still have a landline, turn down the ringer so that people won’t know there’s no one to answer. And you can always pretend to say goodbye to someone whenever you leave your house – if someone is watching you, they’d think someone is left guarding the fort.
Work with your neighbors
In your time of need, your neighbors might be the safety net that prevents you from falling all the way down. So get to know your neighbors. Talk to your BPSOs and Barangay captains. Even better – organize or join a neighborhood watch. It takes work, but in these dangerous times, knowing that someone has your back is all the more important.
Discourage the attempt
Thieves don’t hit houses blindly – they choose a target either because it’s easy or because it will be worthwhile for them. To that end, it is in your interest to dissuade their attention either by not being too tempting or by intimidating them.
Don’t leave boxes of your electronics – especially that 65-inch 4K TV you just bought – out on the street. That’s practically screaming “Rob me! Rob me!”.Close your blinds when you’re not at home so that people can’t look in. Don’t leave ladders (or anything that can be used to reach your 2nd floor) lying around – thieves don’t usually bring ladders and there’s no reason why you should help them.
If you don’t have the money for a home security system, there are still some things you can do that can make thieves think twice. You can buy fake alarm system decals, for example, or “Beware the Dog” signs – you might think it’s useless, but the thieves don’t know they’re fake and every little bit helps. You can also use automatic light timers; a house kept dark at night, after all, is a giveaway for thieves. Even better, if you can get a hold of motion-sensing lights that you can put around your home, that’s a huge deterrent to thieves. Fake CCTV cameras are also cheap yet effective in scaring away robbers.
In other countries, comprehensive home security systems are already available. Unfortunately, there is currently no such system in place in our country (no direct connection to the police yet).
Still, you can beef up your home security by tapping the right tools. CCTV cameras with feeds that you can monitor anywhere is already available. Wireless infrared motion detector sensors are relatively cheap and can be placed in strategic areas in your home. Smart locks and security modules can inform you via SMS when someone opens your door. Emergency buttons have emergency alarm trigger functionsthat can help those in need (especially children and senior citizens). There are many options – take a quick Google search and you can peruse what makes the most sense for you.
You can’t put a price on safety and security – especially when it’s your home that’s on the line. With a little bit of planning and with the judicious use of technology, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is safe and sound.