Following Thursdays little incident, I’ve taken some serious measures to improve my home security. I haven’t just improved it with one or two steps, but rather five measures to really maximise the potential. A home is a man’s castle, and while I may not have anything of value to protect, I at least have my privacy.
The psychological impact from Thursday has lasted much longer than the concern about protecting my home and I’m still experiencing chronic bloating and other yucky IBS symptoms 4 days on. I’ve put myself on a very bland diet to help with it too, which is so incredibly boring when there is all of that festive yumminess – boo!
Gastrointestinal distress aside, today I wanted to share with you the ways in which I have improved my home security for under £500.
A disclaimer: Prior to boosting security even more, I already had a few measures in place, including the Ring Cam View Doorbell, priced at £249 and a small Yale home safe which is bolted to the floor, which cost £33. Whether you invest in these measures is entirely up to you, but if you do, then you will have 7 ways for approximately £750 – which kind of gives your home that Fort Knox feel!
- Ring – My love for Ring started with my View Cam doorbell. I love that the doorbell gives you live feed as well as motion detections and doorbell notifications. After Thursdays incident, We invested in the Ring 5 Piece Started Alarm Kit, plus 2 extra contact sensors, for £308. It took us about 20 minutes to set up and there is absolutely no drilling required. The alarm can be activated and deactivated via the keypad, or via the app. You also receive updates as to where motion has been detected and what door or windows (that have contact sensors) are opened or closed. When tested, the alarm gave us both headaches and the bright red LEDs on the hub when the alarm is activated are sure to let you know that you’ve screwed up. My husband has been increasingly diligent in making sure he turns the alarm off each morning before he leaves the bedroom, lest he makes a complete tool of himself and sets the alarm off!
As an added precaution, we also have the Ring Stick Up camera. Priced at £89, it allows us to be notified of motion before anyone even enters the gate. I didn’t want a camera in the bedroom because of the risk of hackers, but having enabled two-step authentication and secured our wi-fi, I feel a bit safer.
The only downfall with Ring cameras (kind of) is that they do come with stickers in several different languages and you are legally required to display it in the language that is appropriate for you, warning visitors (wanted or otherwise!) that they are on camera. You also need to pay £8 per month For the security though, it’s not that big of a deal, really.
2. Philips Hue
I’ve talked about Philips Hue before, but the 2 metre light strip LEDs that are stuck to my doorstep act like a camera flash for my Ring doorbell camera. With the addition of a Philips Hue motion sensor, these lights have been programmed to come on as soon as someone approaches my door, along with my hallway light. They are bright, and leave a would-be crook nowhere to hide. The light strip and motion sensor together set me back £108.
To prevent anyone from stealing the light strip in itself, I also cabletied the power lead and light strip together in three places, making it extremely difficult to removed the LEDs. Even if they come close to the power adapter, they will be picked up by the door camera and shared for all of the world to see.
Although you won’t get the full benefits of your Philips Hue lights, they can be paired with most smart devices (Alexa, Google etc) so much so that they can be turned on or off with the app and will give off enough light to deter criminal activity. To enjoy the full benefits (including setting light sequences and patterns), a Philips Hue Bridge will set you back approximately £50 extra. I haven’t included it in my summary because flashing light displays outside your home is probably a great way to attract attention, rather than deter it!
3. Lockable A4 Storage Box
One of the most frightening things I’ve read was how valueable sensitive information is for crooks. Bank details, records and passports can all be held for an unimaginable ransom. With that in mind, I picked myself up a lockable organiser box to keep all of our paperwork in. £17 seems like nothing for peace of mind.
Cathedral Metal A4 File Box, Amazon
4. Mail Catcher
Another simple installation, a £16 mail catcher stops the dog from chewing up my mail and took only 10 minutes to install. They are available in chrome or brass finishes, allowing you to choose a look that best suits your home. Mail cages are designed primarily with elderly and disabled people in mind to eliminate the need to bend and pick up the mail, but they also serve well to stop crooks from hooking anything through your letterbox, including your car keys.
Select Letter Catcher, Amazon
5. Set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
A Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, even an informal one, will help to deter crooks. If they know your neighbours watch out for you, they are less likely to try and burglarize you. It is free to set up, and can be as big or as small as you would like it to be. When I spoke to one of my neighbours, he informed me that he had been a victim of an attempted burglary in 2014. There was an immediate desire to work together to work together and stamp out any would-be nefarious activity between our properties.
Neighbourhood Watch scheme aside, I sent a notice out to make my neighbours aware of what has happened. Even without a scheme, the more friendly you are with your neighbours, the better it is for everyone.
Sadly, there is no way to guarantee that anyone will ever avoid a burglary, but we can go a long way towards protecting our homes. The kind of burglars that most of us experience are opportunist thieves looking to make some extra cash rather than experienced criminals, and so taking measures to make it harder for them can go a long way towards protecting our homes. With even just one or two of these measures in place, a chance thief could be easily deterred.
Stay safe and stay well folks!