How to protect your goods on a budget

Put yourself in an intruder’s shoes

Burglars look for the easy route, so start by thinking like they do. Their modus operandi is to choose the softest target in the neighbourhood, and they can read the smallest signs of weakness like an open book.

The key to a good security system lies in the words themselves: it has to be systematic to be secure, with several parts working together as a whole. This means not relying on a single security measure – a multi-pronged attack is the best defence.

There are two main considerations when planning the protection of your goods: how to deter thieves from entering the property and how to secure the valuables themselves.

DIY security measures

If money won’t stretch to the installation of a burglar alarm, buy an alarm warning sign that looks like the real thing or, for a little extra outlay, buy a battery-operated, flashing look-alike alarm box.

Daily habits should include hiding valuables from view by drawing the curtains in areas of the property where a burglar can look in at night, and using an inexpensive wooden pole to block a sliding patio door from being opened.

If going away on holiday, use inexpensive timer switches on ground floor lamps, which will turn on lighting in the evening and for short periods in the middle of the night. Ask neighbours to remove mail from an overfilled post box and, if possible, ask them to park a spare car in the driveway.

Budget safes to protect your valuables

When planning indoor security measures, bear in mind that most burglars are in a hurry – the average time a burglar spends on a residential break-in is eight minutes. They target cash, credit cards and jewellery because they’re immediately usable or easy to fence. You can protect these quick currency items using any number of inexpensive budget safes.

The ultimate shoestring budget safes come under the category of decoy safes. These cheap options typically take the form of non-locking containers disguised as everyday items like baked bean tins or toiletries. If you need to stash some cash, keep it in one of these.

The range of these replicas is vast and highly inventive. If you’re willing to undertake the effort to create a purpose-built wall cavity, one of the most ingenious decoys is the imitation double plug socket.

The benefit of these budget safes is that you can keep them in places that burglars won’t think to look, or don’t have time to look. They don’t tend to spend time in the kitchen,…

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