Five high-tech ways to make your home more secure

Five high-tech ways to make your home more secure

According to the Office for National Statistics, police forces in England and Wales recorded 438,971 burglary offences in the year ending December 2017, a 9% increase on the previous year. While crime figures are often disputed due to incidents frequently not being reported, the ONS report says:

“This is thought to reflect a genuine increase in this type of crime because it is generally well recorded by the police and well reported by victims. If the increases in burglary recorded by the police continue, we would expect these to show up in the survey in due course.”

Of course, you can take many conventional precautions to reduce your chances of being burgled, such as fitting window locks or installing a burglar alarm, but can technology provide any further options for protecting your home? Here are five high-tech ways to protect your home.

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1. Secure your shed with a smart padlock

The shed is often overlooked, yet it can be a handy source of tools that a burglar can then use to break into your house. While a standard padlock should be a basic precaution against this, an intruder may still be able to force the door open thanks to the relatively weak structure of the typical wooden garden shed.

A smart padlock takes this concept a bit further. Not only can you and any other authorised people (e.g. a neighbour) unlock it using your smartphone, it will also send an alert if it detects anyone trying to tamper with it.

2. Monitor who comes on your property with wireless IP cameras

One or more well-placed wireless security cameras can help deter burglars by recording high-quality footage of anyone coming onto your property. Affordable cameras can be fitted both inside, where they may provide police with valuable evidence to apprehend a home intruder, or on the outside, where they can detect a possible intruder before he or she enters your home. In addition to recording such incidents, good home security cameras systems also feature motion detection. When a camera detects motion (according to a specified threshold), it can send you an alert, often through email or a smartphone app. On checking the recorded images, you can decide if you should take further action, such as reporting it to the police.

When you install surveillance cameras for home use, you should make sure you cover all the possible points of entry and leave no blind spots for a burglar to exploit. You should, however, be respectful of other peoples’ privacy and avoid, for example, a wireless security camera being able to see through a neighbour’s window.

3. Be “in when you’re out” with a smart doorbell

It may not seem obvious, but your first line of defence against burglary could be the humble doorbell. Prospective burglars often ring the bell first to check the house is empty and then move on if they detect any movement inside, such as a light turning on.

Smart doorbells encompass video calling technology. Through an internet-connected smartphone, you will know when anyone presses the doorbell, even if you’re not home, and even see who it is through the doorbell’s built-in camera. What’s more, you can even talk with that person in an intercom-like fashion, giving the impression that you are home.

In addition to improving home security, smart doorbells can help in other areas as well, such as avoiding unwanted sales representatives at your door.

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4. Secure your doors with a smart lock

While a conventional lock is strong enough, people sometimes forget to lock the door on their way out, perhaps because they are in a hurry or distracted by something else. It is also a frustrating feeling to suspect you may have left the door unlocked but are unable to check it.

Like the other gadgets so far, a smart lock uses the internet to put you in control of it from wherever you are. You can then check its status through a smartphone app and lock it remotely if necessary. Some smart locks can be set up to communicate with your phone over Bluetooth and automatically lock when it detects you leaving. Furthermore, you can often easily authorise other people to open the lock through their smartphones without giving out keys.

If you lose your phone or the battery goes dead, most smart locks still allow you to unlock them the old-fashioned way – with a key.

5. Automate your lighting to deter intruders

Burglars tend to prefer to target homes where nobody is in, so seeing a light come on inside can often prompt them to abandon their efforts. With an automated home lighting system, you can control the lights in your home from wherever you are. For example, if your wireless security camera sends you an alert, and if the accompanying images give you sufficient cause for concern, you could turn some lights on remotely and possibly prevent a crime before it happens.

What’s more, automated home lighting systems can be programmed to turn certain lights on or off at particular times. In contrast to simply leaving a light on, this can give an impression of genuine activity when no one is at home for an extended period, such as for a family holiday. For example, the lights downstairs could turn off one-by-one at your usual bedtime, followed by the bedroom light coming on shortly after. Later on, that also turns off, giving the impression you have gone to sleep.

There are even standalone lightbulbs that react to the sound of your doorbell, which is often enough to deter a burglar when he or she rings the doorbell.

While not all of the above high-tech solutions may be useful for you, some will no doubt help you secure your home. It’s important to remember that a burglary is not just about the financial loss, which can often be mitigated through insurance anyway—it can also affect your emotional health. Many people feel a wide range of undesirable emotions following a burglary, and it often takes months for them to feel safe at home again.

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