Five home security hacks you need to know
WE SPOKE to NRMA Insurance home security expert Ross Mangano to bring you some of the best tips and home hacks that can help make your property safer, and provide you with that extra bit of confidence when you're not around.
1. Jam your windows and doors
This might just be the cheapest security measure you can install, and it's been around for decades: jamming your windows and doors shut.
"You can either get security locks professionally done, or you can stick a piece of timber between the sliding door or window,” Mangano says.
Mangano says it's simply a matter of cutting a piece of timber that will fit snugly in the empty tracks beside your sliding door or window.
It'll prevent someone from being able to slide the door or window from the outside, even if they've managed to pick or break your lock.
"That's something you can even leave there permanently as extra security,” he says.
2. Make it look like somebody's home
Nothing says "I'm home” like a light being on inside a house at night. But no one wants the electricity bill that comes with leaving lights on 24-7.
Thankfully there are devices that connect to your power points and can turn a light or lamp on at a particular time, to give the appearance of someone being home at night, and then switch it off in the morning.
Mangano says the ability to turn lights on and off remotely is also a feature of many app-based security systems, which allows people to control selected lights from their smartphone, even if they're on holiday.
3. Know thy neighbour
Peoples' sense of neighbourhood and community has dwindled in recent years as we become busier and suburbs more built-up and developed.
But Mangano says there's still nothing quite like being friendly enough with your neighbours to ask them to keep an eye on things while you're away.
"It's easy to just walk around to the neighbour's house and say, 'Look, I'm going away',” he says.
"I even know some customers who leave an alarm remote control with their neighbours and say, 'If it goes off while we're away, can you check it out and turn it off for me?'.”
Most neighbours are also happy to collect your mail and bring in your bins while you're away, as long as you're willing to reciprocate!
4. Store your valuables out of sight
Mangano says once a burglar has entered your house they'll likely turn the place upside down looking for valuable goods, so it can pay not to give them any encouragement by leaving expensive items visible through windows.
"It's like leaving change in your car - if they see money in the car they break into the car and take the money,” he says.
So it's best to hide that stuff - laptops, iPads, phones, cash and jewellery - whatever they can sell easily.”
5. Install home security
Home security systems have come a long way in recent years, and are well and truly embracing modern mobile technology.
NRMA's Beam Home Security System is one package that provides comparatively cheap security for your home, and allows homeowners to use their smartphone to view video cameras, lock doors, receive alerts from motion-activated sensors, turn lights on and off and automatically contact a security company, as well as requiring almost no installation.
"Everything's meant to deter the burglar that wants to break into your house,” Mangano says.
"It's just to save that guy from looking in your house, saying 'I don't want to waste my time breaking in there'.”
Presented by NRMA Insurance