Whether it is left vacant for a short or long period of time, it is important that your home is secured properly. If not, you could be putting your property in jeopardy by leaving it visibly abandoned, which makes it more attractive to vandals, thieves and squatters. Statistics show that vacant properties are significantly more vulnerable to crime than lived-in properties. For example, a study in America demonstrated that a 1% rise in a city’s home vacancy rate led to an overall 1.21% rise in crime. This article will outline three of the best ways to counter this increased threat of your premises being targeted.
1. Fully functional CCTV systems
One way to keep your vacant home secure is to invest in a fully functional CCTV system. Whilst displaying signs alluding to the presence of CCTV on your property, or even a prominent dummy camera on the outside of your premises, will likely have a deterrent effect, a fully functional CCTV system offers a more robust form of security. It will allow you to monitor any criminal activity yourself, and you will also be able to identify anyone who may trespass onto your property. The former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe emphasised their importance in helping solve crimes in 2015.
The deterrent effects of CCTV cameras have long been established. For example, a study of incarcerated burglars found that around 60% said the visible presence of CCTV systems and alarm systems was a deciding factor in whether to target a particular property. In addition, roughly 40% said a CCTV system would make them consider moving onto a different target.
However, it is not recommended that you install your CCTV system yourself; Bridger Security note that are a number of pitfalls to home CCTV installation, such as poor positioning and the ongoing cost of maintenance in the event of a malfunction. A security company will not only install the CCTV cameras for you, but will carry out a meticulous (and often free) assessment of your property beforehand, in order to work out how you can get the best bespoke security protection.
2. On-site guards
Another effective way to secure your vacant home is to have on-site guards. Whilst CCTV cameras can be a useful deterrent, they do not offer any physical protection like guards do, so it may be too late by the time any trespassers have gained access to residence or business.
That said, standard manned guarding is not always as secure as one might think, as static security guards typically make regular patrols at set times. Consequently, if a potential thief is monitoring your property over a longer period of time, they can predict when your guards will be away from a point of entry. It is instead recommended that you invest in property guardians, who live at the property, and are permanently stationed there.
As property protection company Oaksure highlight, property guardians represent an extremely effective way to secure a vacant property. Having people actually residing at the property not only creates a permanent protection against trespassers, but will again help to create a deterrent effect and counter the added vulnerability that such buildings typically face.
Such guardians will develop a close awareness of the building from permanently residing there, meaning they can react more effectively than on-site guards to any security threats. They are also better at preventing squatters from living on your property . Property guardians are also typically less expensive than standard security guards, meaning you will save money as well as getting the best protection possible for your home.
3. Avoid boarding up windows with wood
How many times do you see buildings which you can immediately tell are empty? Now, think about that from a perspective of a criminal; a boarded up property is a dead giveaway to criminals that they will find it easy to gain access without being caught. Window-covering wooden boards are extremely easy to breach, leaving your home incredibly vulnerable to theft, as well as a fire hazard.
Whilst boarding up your property with wood may seem like the most cost-effective option, it could be extremely costly in the long run if it results in either a break-in, or vandalism, that will be expensive to clean up. If you do have broken windows, then it is advisable to either replace them or look into metal boards or security bars, as these are much sturdier and more fire-resistant than wooden boards.