Rental Propert Security & Safety
With the recent spike of crime in Townsville, we have seen a number of rental properties targeted by thieves. There are several ways you can improve your home security, make your property more secure and stay safe in your own home. We have seen a number of tenants and homeowners install a range of home security measures to improve the safety of their property, from inexpensive and simple solutions to complex home security cameras and alarm systems.
We wanted to share our 11 Home Security Tips with you to ensure your home is secure as it can be and to limit the chance of a successful break-in.
1. Lock all doors with a key
Most screen doors have the option to flick a lock, we recommend locking all doors and screens with a key if the option is available. By key locking your screen door, it allows it to act as a mini deadbolt and can only be unlocked by a key. This greatly increases your home security
If all you do is flick the lock over, perpetrators can cut the screen and just flick it back to unlock. This decreases the security of your home.
2. Security Cameras and Sensor Lights
Sensor Lights – Proven and Reliable Home Security
If the property has security or sensor lights, test and ensure they are working properly.
You can often change the sensitivity and activation time of the light on the sensor.
Some security lights can be connected to a smart home system such as google home.
If light bulbs are blown, change them immediately. If you change the bulbs and the lights still do not work, log this as a maintenance request with your property manager or contact an electrician to attend and rectify the fault.
If you do not have a security/sensor light, most properties will have an external light at the entry of the property or at the rear door, change the bulb to LED and leave it on through the night, perpetrators are more likely to work in the dark rather than well lit and visible areas.Keeping your home well lit will help deter potential intruders.
Camera Security Systems
A lot of tenants dismiss the use of home security cameras as they believe they cannot be installed without damaging the property or an expensive repair bill. Home security system technology has progressed now so that wireless security cameras are commonly available. These cameras are often cheaper than traditional wired systems and the batteries can last up to 6 months. Some even come with solar panels for continuous use.
We highly recommend Arlo Pro 3 Wireless Security Floodlight camera which is available at Bunnings.
3. External Gates and Sheds
If you have a side access gate or garden shed, purchase your own padlock and ensure they are locked each night or when not in use.
To improve your home security you need to make it as difficult as possible to be accessed, thieves are unlikely to try to break or damage a good quality padlock, especially when it is on the other side of a gate.
4. Yard and Grounds Maintenance
Make sure your property is looking well maintained and as if someone is clearly home, freshly mowed lawns with no mail piling up is a clear indicator you’re not away!
Also ensure you haven’t left anything lying around that the perpetrator could use to break a door handle, window, or screens such as tools like a wrench from working on the car, shovels, or other gardening tools.
If your planning on taking a holiday or need to go away for a business trip, arrange for a lawn maintenance provider to attend and see if your neighbor or a family member can come by and collect your mail for you.
Remember even with extensive home security measures a determined thief will be able to breach your property with an axe or pick and enough time. Prevent them from having the access to these tools by securing them in a locked shed or box.
No shed no worries – increase your home security without spending $$$
Although having a shed to secure your garden tools and personal items is great often if your renting it can be impractical to purchase and install a shed just to have to move it when you vacate.
Just because a shed isn’t an option there are a number of lockable security containers you can purchase and use to store items that could be used to break into your home. For just $129 you can purchase a large metal lockable toolbox which is both cumbersome to steal and safely secures your garden tools.
5. Close Your Blinds
Windows at the front of the property should have full coverage window furnishings, it is a good idea to not leave these open for people to walk or drive past and see in full view what goodies you have inside such as the PlayStation in your child’s room or the new smart TV with a soundbar in the loungeroom.
6. Install Finger Guards on Screen Doors
To prevent perpetrators from cutting your screen door mesh and getting their fingers through to the internal lock and handle, we recommend installing metal or perspex finger guards where possible.
These can be purchased from Bunning or any other home improvements store from $12 each and can be installed by either yourself or by your agency’s preferred handyperson service.
If you are wanting to install them, please check with your landlord/ agency first in case there is a preference for metal or plastic guards to be used.
7. Front Door Deadbolts
If your property does not have one already, we recommend installing or requesting the installation of a deadbolt to the front door access of the property.
Most perpetrators will attempt to destroy or damage the door handle until it faults and breaks away from the door itself, often if they see the property also has a deadbolt as a secondary lock, they will not bother with that point of entry or just move onto a house that isn’t deadbolted.
Landlords are not under any obligation to install a deadbolt but more often than not, they are happy to approve the request if it means their tenant feels safer and their investment is harder to access.
8. Check on your Neighbour
Build a relationship with your neighbor, pop over and introduce yourself and explain that you will keep an eye and ear out for anything happening that could be suspicious at their property and would they be happy to do the same for you. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly and observant neighbor to greatly improve your home security.
Maybe even swap contact details if you feel comfortable, it is surprising the amount of times neighbors heard the exact moment of the break-in but had no way of informing the occupant at the time!
9. Take your Phone, Wallet and Keys to Bed
Any valuables such as your handbag, phone, wallet, car keys, house keys, jewelry, etc should be taken to bed with you and placed within reaching distance.
If someone does enter the property, you do not want your belongings in an easily accessible spot such as at the front door on a hallway bench or in the kitchen.
Especially if you wake up to someone in the house, you will need your phone on you to call the local police on 000. Although this doesn’t increase your home security it greatly improves your safety in a break-in situation.
For added peace of mind, if your bedroom door has a lock on it, also lock that to be safe rather than sorry.
10. Install Window Dowel
This is a trick as old as time to prevent perpetrators from accessing your property through windows.
Most screens can be easily removed and with a small amount of push force, the sliding window lock will become unclipped.
The window dowel won’t stop the screen from being removed but it will prevent anyone from being able to slide your window open.
Dowel is very cost-effective and if you take your window measurements to Bunnings or any other home improvement provider, they will even cut the dowel to your requested length for you!
11. Timer Lights – A basic Home Security System
Lastly, we suggest purchasing a timer to put on a lamp in a common area such as the kitchen, dining, or lounge space.
Not only for when you are away but to throw people off when scoping the property thinking you may still be up and awake.
Have the timer come on whenever you please but we recommend between 12 am – 4 am each morning.
Purchase an LED bulb and timer from Bunnings or any other home improvement provider to minimise the electricity cost of running this light.
Conclusion – Home Security Systems come in all shapes and sizes
When it comes to home security systems there is a number of different options that suit different budgets.
Security systems do not necessarily have to involve the latest and greatest smart home products and there is a number of tried and trusted security measures you can take to secure your home like the examples above.
There are so many products, systems, and methods that are now more accessible such as wireless cameras or sensor lights that make it easier for tenants that are unable to make major changes to a property so everyone can feel safe regardless.