Whether you live in an apartment building, a detached house or a room in a flatshare, your home is your castle. To ensure that it stays that way, there are a few simple measures you should take. We’ve gathered some simple and affordable tips that will help you keep your home and your belongings safe – so you can go out and simply enjoy life.
We recommend you install a burglar alarm where possible and store your most valuable items in a certified safe. If you’re on a budget and aren’t ready to invest in these options just yet, this article offers cheaper options that you can implement immediately.
Most burglars look for the easiest targets. They prefer to break into houses that are not occupied to reduce their risk of detection. If there is a light on in the window, the thieves are likely to stay away. But what if you’re away from home?
For little over €10, you can buy a timer plug to switch your lights on and off even when you’re not at home. This may be an old trick, but it takes almost no effort and can be effective when combined with other security measures.
If you’re away for a longer period of time, you should consider asking a trusted friend or neighbour to visit your home occasionally. You can ask your friend to adjust the blinds, collect your post and check everything’s ok in your flat. Not only will this make your home look like it is occupied, but your friend could even save your thirsty houseplants from dying. Best of all: this tip costs you nothing (although you probably should buy your friend a drink to say thanks).
Note: If you do give your friend or neighbour a key to your home, make sure to give it to them in person. Leaving keys in obvious hiding places, such as under the doormat or under a plant pot, is basically like welcoming the burglars into your home.
This is especially relevant if you live on the ground floor. If a potential burglar is passing by and takes a peek through your window, what would they see? TVs, games consoles, phones, jewellery and laptops are all attractive targets for thieves. Try to store these items out of view as much as possible. If you can’t position larger valuables out of sight, then you might want to consider privacy film for your windows to make it more difficult for burglars to scope out your house. You should also be careful not to leave valuables on show in your parked car.
You might think that burglars would prefer the cover of darkness. But surprisingly, 57.9% of all break-ins occur between 10am and 6pm, according to statistics from the German Insurance Association. This is because burglars assume that the inhabitants are out at work, leaving their homes empty. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, make sure to keep your trees, hedges and bushes trimmed. These can serve as useful hiding spots for thieves in broad daylight.
It’s really tempting, we know. But when you’re going on holiday, try to resist posting on social media. You never know who might be reading. It’s much safer to wait until you’re back home before posting your holiday photos online.
It might be more practical to leave items like your bike, lawnmower or garden furniture outside, but this can make them an easy target. Where possible, always lock your outdoor furniture and gardening equipment in a secure shed or outhouse. Alternatively, you should store these items inside – in a basement, garage or in your flat. Any items that you store in a shared area (e.g. a basement in an apartment building) should be behind a locked door or secured to an immovable object.
If all of these measures fail and a burglar still manages to break in and steal your possessions, you should of course contact the police immediately. When speaking to the police after a burglary, it can be helpful to have an inventory of the stolen items as well as photos and proof of purchase. Marking your items with a permanent UV marker can help the police to recover your stolen goods. It can also make it more difficult for thieves to sell the items.
The most effective way to prevent break-ins is to combine a variety of security measures, including an alarm system, secure doors and windows, and a safe for your valuables. While the tips above can help improve your overall home security, there is no 100% guarantee that a burglar will not succeed. We recommend getting contents insurance to cover this risk. Starting from €2.99 per month, you can protect the contents of your home against burglary, as well as damage from fire, leaking water and storms.