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Tips For Securing Your Home and Home Safety
Bad Things Do Not Only Happen to Others It Can Happen To You Too!
It has been reported that a burglary now happens every 15 seconds in a city like Mumbai and with the growing number of residential properties coming up this frequency is only going to get higher. As such, the chances of your own home actually being at risk from a break in are greatly increased, and it does not matter where you live.
However, when people think of a break in, they think of someone gaining entry in to their home through breaking a glass window or smashing down doors. Yet there are certain things which could actually extend an invitation to those unwanted intruders to make an attempt at getting into your home. An open balcony door for instance. The recent rape case in Bandra, Mumbai where a thief out on bail (infamously known in the ghetto where he resided as Chor Badshah or the King of Thieves) easily climbed up a drain pipe to get access through the open balcony door of an apartment and robbed and raped a young Spanish lady who was residing alone in the apartment at that time. The emotional, financial and physical turmoil that followed has easily scarred her for life even though the thief has been caught and is currently cooling his heels behind bars.
There are many places which are vulnerable to attack from an intruder to your home, and therefore you must set up a daily or nightly routine before retiring for the night which will then provide an intruder with less opportunities of breaking in to your home. Below, we look at what are considered to be some of the weak areas in your home security routine which could help to prevent any kind of break in from occurring.
In India especially in Mumbai, working couples think nothing before making duplicate keys and handing it over to their maids who usually come in to finish their chores after their employers have left for work during the day. This is a bad idea! Keys are also given to workers such as carpenters who are carrying out repair or interior work in the house. Of course then there is the 'inner circle' - the 'trusted' family and friends (for a little nookie!) who are given keys too for arbitrary purposes.
Although you may think it is a convenient idea, lending keys to family, friends and workers greatly increases the chances of your keys being placed into the wrong hands. Although the people you provide a key to might appear be completely trustworthy, you cannot control where the keys are once they are out of your hands. The chances of your keys being duplicated for the purpose of gaining illegal entry into your house are greatly increased. For example the lover of your friend who has come to your flat for some afternoon sex might turn out be a shady character with a criminal mind and could easily walk out of your apartment on some pretext and get a duplicate key made within 5 minutes. In Mumbai almost every locality has neighbourhood key guys who can duplicate any key within minutes. What is then stopping him / her to enter your flat one afternoon and disappear with your valuables while you are at away or at work blissfully unaware of the loss that is being perpetrated in your beloved precincts at that very moment!
So it is highly important that you think about whom you are issuing keys to,. Also very important - Always keep an eye on your own master key that you have with throughout the day. Do not keep your keys carelessly lying around especially in the living room in the presence of guests. Always keep your keys in a secret spot in your bedroom. Also, never ever place keys in those secret nooks and crannies outside the home, as the smart burglar will know exactly where to look for them.
A recent case that comes to mind and proves how carelessness can cost you your life is that of the young lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha who was brutally raped and murdered after the keys to her house which was carelessly abandoned in the living room was pocketed by the armed guard during a previous visit and who then easily entered her home the same night while she was sleeping and attempted to rape her. When Pallavi resisted his advances, the incensed guard slashed her throat with a knife by the psychotic guard. As Pallavi bled to death in the middle of the night, the guard quietly crept away. Pallavi had to pay for this error with her life.
Bottomline: Never ever hand out duplicates of your keys to servants, friends or other family members who may be good people but you cannot trust those desperadoes who these people may come in contact with.
Doors which have handle locks are very easy for a burglar to get into, as all he requires is a plastic credit card. Therefore it is best if you install good quality deadbolts to all entry points (doors) into your home.
Although you may have very good locks installed on all your exterior doors, they are only as effective as the actual strength of the door, the hinges and door frame. The weakest area on most doors is not the locks or hinges, but on the door frame in the area where the strike plate is located. 73% of all burglars gain entry through a door entry way and 80% of the time DOOR FRAME FAILURE is the cause. Beefing up your door frames is the #1 best (and least expensive) thing you can do to improve the security of your home.
Sliding Patio Doors or French Windows
These doors which are commonly found in most new apartment buildings in Mumbai have several distinct disadvantages to them when compared to other doors. The main reason is that they come with much less sophisticated locks on them. There are even some much older models which, unfortunately, can be easily lifted off of the tracks that they run on and provide any intruder with a way of gaining easy access to a home. Install collapsible iron grills directly behind the French Windows and Sliding Doors with immediate effect if you do not already have them installed. And of course it goes without saying, lock the collapsible metal gates with a heavy lock at night and every time you step out of your home.
Windows which are left open and unattended not only provide intruders with easy access, but they allow them to quickly view what is available to them. Install iron bars and grills outside your windows and ensure that they are periodically maintained and refitted especially after monsoons when they get all loose and rusty.
Both shrubbery and trees provide a way of allowing intruders to gain access to your property. Not only do they provide ideal coverage, but can also provide them with ways to gain access to your home easily and quickly. Keep trimming excess foliage off the trees and ensure that the barks of a tree are at least 5 metres away from the windows of your apartment. If they any nearer have those branches cut off immediately.
Above we have looked at areas of the home where assistance can be provided to intruders to your property. But later we will be taking a closer look at some ways of improving your home security, and hopefully help to prevent intruders from wanting to try their luck and break in.
Lock The Windows Before Leaving Home
Everybody thinks that their home is secure. Today, most homes are now fitted with good quality doors and windows which have good quality locks and bolts fixed. Often when we are going out in the evening, we will draw the curtains and leave a few lights on to make it appear that there is someone in. However there are occasions, especially in summer seasons when the sun is still out as you are going out, that you decide not do this, and this unfortunately is when you are providing an opportunity to any burglar to gain easy access to your home.
Often an intruder, rather than trying to gain access through the front door as they are likely to be seen by your neighbors, will then try to gain access to your property at the back, usually through the back door and in the case of apartment buildings clamber on to a tree or drain pipes. Unfortunately, it will only take them a few attempts, and they can actually gain access to your home very quickly without your neighbors becoming aware that anything has trespassed.
When this type of break in occurs, then the burglar will only take things that are easy to carry, and in most cases can be placed inside a pillowcase such as smartphones, laptops, cameras, jewelry or cash. Generally, they will not bother to steal large electronic items like TV's, desktop computers and stereo players because the returns are just not worth the risk involved.
Therefore it is wise that whenever you leave your home for any length of time, both during the day time, and at night, that you make sure everything is secure, and nothing can be seen from the road which is likely to tempt the burglar to try to gain entry to your property.
Do Not Let Workers Work Alone At Home
If you are having any work carried out on your home, it is not wise to leave the workers alone at home. I know that the majority of workers and contract labourers today can be trusted, but there are going
to be occasions when the contractor you are using is new to you, and you have no idea about the credentials of the people that they employ. In Pallavi Purkayastha's case the security agency did not
even perform a cursory background check of the Kashmiri guard before employing him and posting him as a guard at an upmarket residential complex.
Moral of the Story:You have to remember that most often contractors and agencies are trying to grapple with too much work and not enough manpower and so random people who arrive everyday in Mumbai from India's poorer regions are hired even though they may not meet basic skills and background requirements Therefore when having work carried out on your home, arrange for either yourself or a partner or a close friend or family member to supervise them while they are in your home.
Unfortunately a lot of people today in India's cities will often arrange to install a burglar alarms in Mumbai or home security system in Mumbai after they have had a bad experience in the past where an intruder has gained entry to their own property to to someone else's home within their inner circle. This is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. It is therefore important that you start looking at ways to improve your home security to ensure that you do not just become another statistic.
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