Living in Spain is great, but just like most places in the world today, you have to be mindful of security; not that the Spanish are more criminally minded than other Europeans; in fact they are pretty good as a nation, but there are other elements from other countries here in Spain who are unfortunately quite active, so it pays to be careful.
The first thing you should do of course is to make sure that your property and its contents are properly insured, and you’ll find, just like back in the UK, that the better your property security is, the cheaper your premiums will be. So here in this brief article, we’re just going to run through a few basic tips on security to help avert any possible break-ins, and to help keep your insurance costs down at the same time.
Location, Location, Location
It’s worth bearing in mind of course that your location will have a big influence on your exposure to break-ins. If for example your property is in a holiday resort, it will be more prone to crime out of season when there are fewer people around. Also, in the winter months, the longer periods of darkness give rise to greater opportunity for wrong doing.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that living in an apartment means they are safe from being broken into. Wrong! Yes, you will get a certain degree of protection from the fact that you have neighbours all around you, but one of the favourite tricks of burglars is to break into your apartment by climbing in from next door’s balcony – particularly when your neighbours are either out , or staying away.
The best thing in this instance is to have a PIR security light installed – one which works by sensing movement. No would-be burglar will relish the idea of being in the spotlight when they are in the act of crossing over to your balcony. It’s a bit of a give-away. You can, by the way, also get PIR lights that also take photographs of intruders!
Most properties here in Spain (apartments included) have some sort or shutters, such as “Persianas”. Whilst these are not built for strength, they do pose quite a problem to a wannabe burglar, and on the same principle as the PIR light, no wrong doer wants to be seen drawing attention to their activities.
Stand Alone Properties
Stand alone properties, (Villas and Fincas) may be more prone to burglary, particularly if they stand remote in their own grounds, away from public sight. In these instances, perimeter lighting is always a good advance warning, albeit for the residents or near neighbours rather than general onlookers.
But the most effective security system is a good old fashioned audible burglar alarm, particularly one that is linked to a security company. You just need to be a little careful, both with your choice of alarm, and your choice of security service provider. One of the biggest “cons” is the large security company who sells cheap alarm system, but who then charge you monthly for the monitoring services, which often leave much to be desired. It may be worth considering installing one of new alarms that are so loud, it’s impossible to stay inside the premises once they have been activated.
Tried & Trusted
One of the most tried and trusted forms of security are metal grills or “Rejas”. These are made out of strong wrought iron (usually painted black or white), and are sunk into the brickwork. In order to remove them, a burglar would have to literally rip them out of the wall. These pose quite a deterrent, but one thing you must do before you install them or buy a property with them already installed, is to make sure that you can get out of the property in an emergency situation, for example if a fire breaks out.
Some urbanisations are anti rejas, because they think they are a bit of an eye sore. Whether or not you agree with this, you must check with the community or the property company before you consider installing them.
Where there’s a Will there’s a Way
An unfortunate truth of life is that where there’s a will, there’s a way. If a burglar has got their heart set on breaking into your property they probably will. The only thing you can do is make the deterrent as visible and as threatening as possible. The quality of locks here in Spain is not as good as those back in the UK, so you should make sure that you install plenty of them. The more overtly difficult you make for the would-be burglar, the greater the chance that he will target someone else’s property that is less secure than yours.
To learn how to report a burglary in Spain, see our article