Ring expert on how to avoid common home security mistakes
Ring MEA's Mohammad Hoda reveals the common security errors to avoid over the upcoming summer vacations
Home security measures are essential to ensure the safety of residents, and these mechanisms could range from installing security cameras to advanced locking systems across the structure, and as the summer vacations approach, Mohammad Meraj Hoda, vice president of business development for the Middle East and Africa at security company Ring – founded by Jamie Siminoff – lists the common and avoidable mistakes that home-owners often overlook, which could result in hefty losses of property if home-owners travel without checking these beforehand.
Ring's portfolio of security devices includes video doorbells, stick-up cameras, and floodlight cameras, all of which are linked with systems typically found in contemporary 'smart' homes.
The following are tips and insights from Hoda on the key areas to look out for to boost home security:
- Unlocked doors and windows
- Spare keys
- Garage doors
- Outdoor lighting
- Dense greenery
- Oversharing on social media
- Visibility of outdoor security devices
1. Unlocked doors and windows
"This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many instances where you may forget to close and lock your doors or windows," Hoda says.
"For example, during a hot summer, you may decide to leave a few windows cracked while you’re out of the house. Or if you’re in a hurry, you might leave the house without locking the door."
Tip: It is always advisable to double-check your door locks before leaving and even though you might want some fresh air to fill the room during summers, it is better to keep windows closed when you are away. Try using smart locks to make sure your smartphone can control your doors and notify you while you're away.
2. Hiding a spare key outside
Many people often leave a spare key under a door mat or in a flower pot outside their home for their kids to use when they come back from school or for a house maid who only drops in after you’ve left for work. This scenario has resulted in a number of house burglary cases.
Tip: "If you absolutely need a backup plan to enter your home, consider giving a spare key to a trusted neighbour or purchasing smart door locks, which will allow you to remotely open your door, even if you can’t find your keys," Hoda says.
3. Keep your garage doors locked
A garage area is an oft-overlooked part of the home when vacationers are in a hurry to reach the airport. Most garage doors are electronically controlled by universal remotes, making them vulnerable if modified remotes are used to open these doors.
Tip: A padlock or automated garage door-lock could help secure your garage while the time you are away, Hoda explains, adding that it is also important to "never leave your garage-door open in plain sight".
4. Poor outdoor lighting
Lighting is not just essential indoor, but in the outdoor areas as well, including front and back gardens. Thieves or trespassers typically try to enter homes at night, and bad or dull outdoor lighting will only make it harder for them ot be noticed or caught.
Tip: "Make sure there are no blind spots on the outside of your home," Hoda explains, adding: "Get a light for your front porch that stays on all night, and place motion-activated floodlights around your property."
5. Densely covered greenery
Tall and densely covered plants across your gardens would serve as the best hiding spots for intruders. Ensuring that your entire property is clearly visible from the street would help keep home invaders at bay.
Tip: "If your entire front garden is visible from the street, a home invader will most likely think twice before trying to break-in," Hoda says.
"If it’s possible, be sure to keep the plants in your garden trimmed and use accent lights and floodlights to expose dark areas."
6. Avoid sharing travel plans on social media
"Globally, there are countless horror stories of people announcing their plans online and getting robbed by people in their social networks, so you should always err on the side of caution," Hoda says.
Tip: Wait until you return from the holiday to talk and post about your holiday. If you want to share travel stories, make sure you only do so with a set of trusted friends or relatives.
7. Lack of effective and visible outside security
Techno-savvy home intruders are efficient at deactivating most security devices, Hoda explains.
"Some homeowners will try to save money by mounting fake security cameras around the house, but experienced home intruders will know all about the fake and ineffective devices you can buy," he adds.
Tip: According to Hoda, home security must not be "short-changed", and he adds that there are various Wi-Fi enabled and similar smart devices available to deter invaders and alert home-owners of risks.
He adds: "Sometimes, even just a security sign can deter a thief from breaking in, so get your devices set up, and make sure home intruders know that your home is protected."