These days, there is a lot of advice available about how to keep safe online and data-security breaches at major organizations make new headlines. As Kim Kardashian recently demonstrated, however, breaches of physical security can be both frightening and costly (even with insurance). With that in mind, here are three pointers to keeping yourself and your valuables safe in the real world.
Be careful with the internet
Using cloud storage services to keep copies of valuable memories can be a great way to protect against the theft of the devices on which they are stored, but beware of posting pictures of your valuables on social media. Even if you know your way around your privacy settings, all it takes is for one person to share an image innocently and you literally never know where it is going to end up. Likewise be careful about sharing information about holidays you are on for the same reason. In very simple terms, assume anything which goes online is in the public domain and therefore keep social media for content you’re happy to share with the world.
In the real world, make yourself more hassle than you’re worth
The essence of protecting yourself from crime essentially involves making it more effort than it’s worth to target you. In terms of protecting your home, some simple and straightforward precautions can really go a long way to making this a reality. Make sure the entrance to your house has plenty of lighting, with a motion-sensitive trigger. This will both help you to see your way to your own front door, but make it obvious if anyone else is heading towards your property. On the subject of lights, internal lights can be fitted with a timer to go on and off when you’re out. Real CCTV has to be positioned with care (although any company involved in the industry can advise on this) but realistic fake cameras can act as a deterrent. Burglar alarms are cost-effective and free of the legalities of CCTV. Secure locks on both doors and windows will go a long way to preventing unauthorised entry and adding peep-holes and/or chains will make it easier for you to see who is at the door before you decide whether or not you want to answer it. On that note, remember to ensure that you know the identity of anyone who calls at your house not only before you let them in but before you divulge any details of your property and/or your habits. Most people will probably be who they say they are but one of them might be a burglar checking out a potential target. If you don’t have it already, double glazing is a whole lot harder to break than single glazing. Finally, if you do have any irreplaceable possessions, consider investing in a safe, ideally a hidden wall safe. If this is not practical, e.g. you’re renting, then think about imaginative hiding places, for example, you can get containers which look like tins of beans and which can be put in your cupboards (along with their real life counterparts).
Take stock of what you have so you can get the right cover for it
Much of what you have in your home is probably replaceable albeit at a cost. Items such as TVs and electronics are unlikely to have a huge amount of sentimental value, but have great attraction to thieves. Take the time to make an inventory of your possessions and their value. If possible gather up any documents showing proof of ownership and, ideally, take scans of them to store in the cloud. This will give you a reasonable figure for home contents insurance. When you choose your policy, check if there are any exclusions, limitations or stipulations for cover. For example some policies may require individual items over a certain value to be itemised. For possessions which really matter to you, e.g. jewellery, take clear pictures and note all relevant details. In a worst-case scenario, this may help you to recover a beloved item.