A wake-up call to improve our home security

It was silly o’clock in the morning and one of the kids was at my side waking me up. “Daddy, daddy it sounds like someone’s trying to get in to the house.” I thought our home security was pretty good so I assumed she was mistaken.

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We are taking home security much more seriously following a recent lucky escape. Pic credit: The Digital Way on Pixabay.

I listened for a moment. The only noise I could hear in my half-conscious state was the central heating system. I reassured her that’s all it was and settled her back to bed before drifting off to sleep again.

Later that morning, I was attempting to bundle the children into the car for the school run. It was then I noticed something sinister outside the house. I can’t reveal what, but it was evidence that someone had indeed tried to gain entry to our family home the previous night.

My instinct was to get on to the police immediately. I didn’t, however, want to upset the kids so I said nothing. Instead I did the school run as usual, although I was utterly preoccupied and distracted. I was concerned that someone could be watching the house, waiting for me to leave. I was concerned that the garden shed may have been raided (not that they would have got anything valuable) and on top of this there were 101 things I wanted to do to the house to improve our home security.

There’s obviously a limit to what I will say publicly. This all happened last week and on the night we had our unwelcome visitor(s),  a nearby property had been burgled.

Considering someone else had experienced a break-in, I hesitate to say we were lucky. That seems insensitive. Even so, we’d clearly had a near miss.

The awkward thing is, our house clearly looked like it was an easy target and I am to blame. The police thought this individual / these individuals were opportunists. I’d left a gate unlocked and they’d clearly tried it and found it to open with ease.

We had a security light on the front of the property. The bulb on it broke ages ago and because it required a lot of effort to replace, I simply hadn’t got around to doing it.

We used to have a home security system installed. It was superb and offered great peace of mind because no matter where we were in the world, we could check on the house using an app. It’s a long story, but I had to dismantle the system for technical reasons and I never replaced it.

I can tell you that gate is now locked. The light bulb has been replaced. In fact, I’ve gone a step further and installed a second security light on the property. Another home security system will be in place any day now.

This experience has shaken me. Worse still, it upset the children. If they hear the slightest noise at night, they wake up and come and tell us.

We’ve had very few undisturbed nights since this happened. It’s the impact on the little ones that bothers me most.

Mrs Adams and I weren’t sure whether to say anything to Helen and Izzy. In the end we felt we had no choice because we wanted to make sure they always locked the back door if they went out play or let the cat out.

If we hadn’t told them, it would have been taken out of our hands. During one of the snow days last week while the kids were at home, two police officers turned up to check on the property. That would have been difficult to explain if the kids weren’t aware of the situation!

With me being home almost every day day, I think I had got a little complacent. I didn’t think anyone would try breaking in during the daytime and the idea that someone would try it while all four of us were inside the property sleeping just seemed daft.

I’ve learned the hard way that was a naive way to think. Please learn from my mistakes. Don’t take your home security for granted.

While nothing was damaged and nothing taken, it’s deeply unpleasant knowing someone has tried to break into our home. Even though they didn’t get in to the property, it was an invasion of privacy and the impact on the kids has been horrible.

Is this something you have experienced? What steps do you take to keep your home secure? I’m looking for ideas to so please do leave a comment below with your suggestions.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. March 6, 2018 / 10:42 am

    **Editors note: This is an awesome comment with excellent suggestions and links to various products you can buy. For SEO purposes, I have broken the links below. To get them to work, simply copy and paste into your browser and remove the space I have added after the forward slash. Thank you Alex. You are amazing!**

    We were burgled almost 4 years ago now and had a lasting impact on the kids. Afterwards I spent some considerable time updating our security. I’d recommend a traditional security system over one of these flashy WiFi/Zeebee jobs (I’ve tried both). Something like a Yale alarm you can install yourself (https:// screwfix.com/p/yale-premium-wireless-alarm-kit/54473 ), with a sensor on every door & window. It just works and the deterrent value of a couple of big bright yellow boxes also means that your neighbour’s house without an alarm is more likely to be targeted.

    I also have 3 Arlo security cameras up. Arlo isn’t cheap but it is completely wireless, and unlike a lot of systems actually uses it’s own WiFi network so it doesn’t congest yours. Battery life is good and it’s very easy to set up. Cameras are waterproof for outside mounting but unless you’re up a long ladder to mount them, you need to put a security cage around them as they are pinchable (http:// amzn.to/2FjwKxI). Arlo also have a set of stickers proclaiming your home is security camera’d up. There are cheaper options but you end up paying in other ways (congested WiFi, more maintenance, hassle to set up properly).

    If you don’t have lights on a timer, it’s worth either getting some cheap old fashioned timers for table lamps or getting some Philips Hue bulbs for your main lights. You can set those to come on individually at pre determined times and given that 3-7pm is a very popular time for burglaries, having something come on at twilight gives the impression of someone being in. (http:// amzn.to/2FfYJ5j)

    • John Adams
      Author
      March 9, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Alex, you are an absolute legend. I love these suggestions and I am exploring some of them (along with many others). Having someone attempt to break in was frightening enough. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually have someone actually raid your property.

      As for the impact on the kids, well, it’s been serious enough on mine. I can completely understand why you’re having to leave the lights on. I can but hope time is a healer for your kids.

  2. March 6, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    Sorry to hear about your recent unwelcome visitors John.

    The only time I’ve ever had anything stolen was when we lived in Manchester and my mountain bike disappeared.

    We now live on a boarding school campus where my wife works. The gate closes electronically at 5:15pm which makes it relatively secure-ish.

    Like you, I’m at home most of the time so I’ve always consider the house to be pretty safe. But I’m sure there’s more we could do. Alex has made some great suggestions.

    We do always put lights on a timer if we’re going away for a few days. We don’t have anything more sophisticated than that though.

    I hope your unwelcome visitor never returns.

    • John Adams
      Author
      March 9, 2018 / 8:54 pm

      Oh I hope they never return Tim. I also hope you never have to deal with anything like this. The attempt to get in to the house was pretty feeble. To get to their attempted entry point, however, that took a little effort. It was unsettling knowing they’d tried this while we were all inside.

      Best to be vigilant Tim!