You’ve probably heard stories of eccentric relatives who hide wads of cash under their mattress, keep their jewellery inside stuffed animals and file important papers in the freezer for safekeeping. While they definitely get points for creativity, these aren’t necessarily the most reliable ways to protect valuables in our homes.
Whether you define your valuables as sentimental items or the latest tech, they’re things that are important to you, so you want to be assured they’re as safe as they can be. We’ve put together some easy things you can do to help protect your treasured belongings and some simple ways to help keep your home safe - whether you’re at home or away.
Out of sight, out of mind
It’s always a good idea to keep items that would be considered a theft risk out of plain sight in your home. Things like jewellery, watches and small electronics shouldn’t be left where they can tempt prying eyes through windows or doors.
Find a safe place to keep handbags and wallets. Choose a drawer or corner where they’re not immediately obvious to anyone coming to your door. Spots like hall tables might be convenient for you, but if you get called to another room suddenly or need to answer the phone, they might be easily grabbed if you have the front or back door open.
Keep your home secure
Speaking of doors, lockable security screens for windows and doors are a good choice for home security. They keep bugs out and let fresh air in while also letting you see who’s coming to your door, so you can decide whether to welcome them in or have a chat through the screen. They’re also a benefit when you’re out, as a security screens give a second layer of locked security to your home’s entryways and act as both a visual and physical deterrent for would-be burglars.
There’s a wide range of electronic home security options to consider too, from personal safes, to do-it-yourself motion sensor lighting and the latest tech in home connectivity: the smart doorbell. These clever gadgets do more than ding-dong when someone’s on your doorstep. They give you a 24/7 view of your front door whether you’re at home or away, so you can track deliveries, spot visitors coming to your door (and parcel-pinchers) via your smartphone. Brands such as Ring typically use Wi-Fi to stream live video or stills to an app on your smartphone and offer other features such as motion detection, intercom chat, sirens and some can even be synced up with your locks and other smart home devices. And as an added bonus, they can also help you avoid awkward chats with unsolicited door-to-door sales reps.
When you’re out and about
To protect your valuables when you’re not home, it goes without saying that you should always lock up when you go out. If you’re going to be away for any length of time, there are a few things you to be mindful of in order to avoid drawing attention to the fact you’re away. Don’t leave parcels or uncollected mail lying around. If you’re going away, ask a trusted neighbour to collect them for you and suspend any newspaper subscriptions. Consider asking a neighbour to park their car in your driveway too, so it looks like someone is home.
Before you leave, put away any outdoor ladders and remove any garden furniture next to your windows that could make access easier. CrimeStoppers has a handy rundown on the basics you should do before leaving to go on holidays and strongly recommends you don’t post your holiday snaps in real time on your social channels (no matter how excited you are to be watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand) as it practically shouts “I’m not home!” to opportunistic crooks.
Protect your home 24/7
Of course, you can’t be home all day, every day so it’s also important to make sure you have contents insurance for your home. Nobody ever wants or expects to have to make a claim, but if you do find yourself in a position where you need to, you want to be sure you have the right cover in case of theft, fire or flood. If you’re not sure where to start, try the NRMA Insurance contents calculator to help you get started on finding the right cover so you can be safe in the knowledge that the things you value are protected.
For more tips on protecting your home and valuables, the NSW Police Force has a handy downloadable brochure as part of their Home Safe program, with more helpful ideas to keep your home safe.