Forget smart homes: Low-tech security solutions for the safety-conscious homeowner
Home security technology is more advanced, complex, and widely available than ever. Many “Internet of Things” enabled security devices, notably found in “smart homes”, are making normal homes look more like futuristic security compounds. Smart home security systems now include such elaborate devices as the FakeTV—a box that generates a television-esque flickering light to trick observers into thinking you’re home watching TV when you are actually out. There are also facial recognition cameras, keyless smart padlocks, solar powered electric locks, and AI home hubs that open and close doors by voice command.
As impressive as all this technology is, it is mostly a distraction for the decidedly low-tech security solutions that are actually far more important to—and effective at—keeping your home safe. If you really want to make your home safer, you’re much better off saving money on lower budget security tech that will keep you safe.
Routine visits from keyholders can be more effective than any technology
Involving very little technology on your end, keyholding services involve handing over a copy of your keys to a team of security experts, and relying on them to come to your aid should you experience any problems on your property.
Firms like CMS Keyholding have an in-house alarm response team, who can drive straight to your property and investigate any potential incident. If it looks like there’s been a break-in, they can contact the police. If something else has triggered the alarm, such as a leak or natural disaster, they can help alleviate the situation there, too.
All keyholders go through a rigorous application process before the government grants them their Security Industry Authority (SIA) license, so you can rest assured that these are people you can trust. It’s not completely low-tech—a keyholder’s job is much easier if they can monitor your property remotely via CCTV—but it’s definitely a lot less technological than AI-enabled homehub that opens and closes doors.
Quality locks, doors, and windows are essential
Though locks, doors, and windows can all be augmented with modern technological devices, their low-tech, analogue function is the most important factor in your home security. Whether they have to dodge face-recognising cameras, deactivate voice-activated alarms, or duck lethal laser beams (not yet on the market), ultimately burglars still must pick a lock, break down a door, or prise open a window if they want to gain unauthorised access to a property.
Because of this, any safety-conscious homeowner should make sure their house’s doors, locks and windows are as strong and secure as possible. With locks, you should settle for nothing less than a 5 lever mortice deadlock on your front and back doors. This guide from Go Compare can help you check what kind of lock you currently have. If your lock doesn’t meet this standard, you should consider getting it replaced with a lock that does.
Window-wise, strong locks are just as important. BBC’s Crimewatch recommends adding additional locks to your windows whenever possible. With wooden-framed windows, it is possible to fit mortice locks, but whatever your window is made of, Crimewatch says the locks that come built-in will not be enough.
Join a neighbourhood watch to protect yourself and others
Like keyholders, neighbourhood watch schemes rely on your fellow human beings to keep you safe. Rather than respond to specific crimes or specific incidents, neighbourhood watches aim to help keep the local community safe in general.
The Merseyside Police reports that statistics show that joining a neighbourhood watch scheme “significantly reduces the possibility of becoming a victim of crime.” Neighbourhood watches involve members of the community working together on a volunteer basis to keep the neighbourhood safe, using their own strengths in different areas, and of course putting up “Neighbourhood Watch” signs to keep criminals in line.
Check the OurWatch.org website to see if there is already a neighbourhood watch scheme in your area. If there isn’t, you can set one up of your own.