Protect your home from burglars - Image: iStock

The family home is the biggest investment most of us will ever make, but it’s an unfortunate fact that it can become a target for thieves, especially when we’re away on holidays.

The best way to keep your place safe is by being vigilant and making it as secure as possible. If a home looks difficult to break into, it is far more likely to deter any would-be burglars.

Here are a few tricks you can use to minimise the risk of a break-in, so you can relax when you’re away.

1. Bolt up securely

Replace flimsy door locks and install deadbolts to reinforce entrances. Digital deadlocks feature numerical access codes and Bluetooth connectivity for added security and convenience.

Keep tools and ladders locked up, as these can be used to break into the house and access second-storey windows.

Install a lock on the electrical meter box as well, as thieves may attempt to turn off the power to disable an alarm system.

2. Keep it tidy

An unwatered garden signals that you’re away from home, so set up an automatic watering system using a tap timer.

Or, ask a neighbour to water the plants, and also have them put out your garbage bins and park in your driveway so your home will appear occupied.

3. Set up deterrents

Install solar-powered sensor lights at various points around the property so thieves aren’t able to use the cover of darkness.

Hang a ‘beware of the dog’ sign and get a water dish for the yard, even if you don’t have a dog. Set a timer to turn on lamps and tune a radio to a talkback station.

4. Add an alarm

There is now a huge range of affordable home security options available, from motion-activated alarms to multi-camera systems with live-access mobile feeds.

Whichever one you choose, make it highly visible so it will deter thieves from attempting to break into your home.

5. Boost the defences

Install alarms and burglar-proof mesh on all of your windows.

Ensure your door-hinge pins are on the inside and secure the lock strike plate to the house framing, not just the doorjamb.

Lay a metal pipe in sliding doors and window tracks to make them extremely hard to open.

Check out the latest issue of Handyman for more tips and ideas