Keeping Your Home Secure
Home security is an important issue for all homeowners. While crime rates have declined in recent years, break-ins and burglaries still occur far too frequently. There are many steps you can take to improve the security of your home to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Assess Your Home’s Vulnerabilities
Start by taking a careful look at your home and evaluating any weak spots a criminal could take advantage of. Check all your doors and windows – are there any that are loose or have weak locks that could easily be forced open? Are any obscured by bushes or trees that could provide cover for a burglar? Are your gate or fence inadequate to keep intruders out of your yard? Knowing where the vulnerabilities are will help you focus your security improvements.
Upgrade All Locks
One of the best ways to secure your home is to install strong, high-quality locks on all exterior doors and windows. Rekey or replace any locks that previous owners may still have keys for. Upgrade to deadbolt locks on exterior doors, preferably with a 1 inch throw length for maximum security. Also consider adding security film to ground floor windows to prevent smashing and grabbing. Investing in better locks makes your home a much harder target.
Install a Security System
Installing a monitored home security system can greatly improve your home’s security. Burglars are far less likely to target homes with alarm systems since they want to avoid drawing police attention. Monitored systems provide an extra layer of security – if the alarm is triggered, help will be on the way quickly. Systems can range from basic sensors on doors and windows to advanced systems with motion detectors, cameras, smoke detectors, and mobile access.
Improve Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting is essential for keeping your property visible and secure at night. Motion sensor lights near exterior doors will illuminate suspicious activity. Keeping your front and backyards well lit will eliminate hiding spots. Using energy efficient LED bulbs can allow you to keep lights on all night without running up your electricity bill. Make sure there are no dark corners around sheds, garages or fences for criminals to lurk.
Trim Bushes and Fences
Overgrown bushes, vegetation and fencing can easily conceal criminal activity on your property. Keep bushes trimmed around doors and windows so there’s no place for someone to hide. Make sure fence lines are clear of thick vegetation that could be used for climbing. If there are hidden corners or recessed areas around your yard, light them up and clear the space to eliminate blind spots.
Be Cautious About Sharing on Social Media
Social media can provide criminals easy access to information that could help them target your home, like when you’re on vacation or your kids’ sports schedules. Limit sharing details like your address and birthdays. While on vacation, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home or put a stop on mail/newspaper delivery. Don’t announce vacations in advance on public profiles.
Create the Illusion of Occupancy
When away for extended time periods, create the illusion that your home is occupied using smart home technology. Put interior and exterior lights on timers and motion sensors so they operate normally. Have a trusted person mow your lawn weekly and park in your driveway occasionally. Disconnect your garage door from WiFi/smart features so it can’t be hacked.
Know Your Neighbors
Getting to know your community and neighbors helps create a safer neighborhood for everyone. Exchange contact info and keep an eye on each other’s homes when someone is away. Don’t let strangers follow you inside controlled access buildings. Notice suspicious vehicles that seem to patrol the neighborhood. Building relationships leads to looking out for one another.
Keep valuables like jewelry, cash, passports and electronics locked up and out of sight, even when home. Create hidden or hard to find spaces to secure important items like a safe or lock box bolted out of sight. Make sure cash, car keys and small valuables aren’t left out on tables or countertops where they can be easily taken. Securing your valuables removes incentives for burglars.
Following basic home security practices will go a long way in keeping your property and family safe from crime. Assess your home for vulnerabilities, invest in better locks and lighting, create the illusion of occupancy when away and get to know your community. Taking proactive steps greatly reduces your risks.
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Reinforce strike plates
When installing new locks, also replace standard strike plates with heavy-duty, extended length strike plates using 3-4 inch screws. This reinforces the door frame against kick-in attacks.
Install high-security cylinders
Upgrade exterior door locks to high-security cylinders like Medeco or Mul-T-Lock, which are highly pick and drill resistant. This makes lock picking much more difficult.
Add supplemental locks
Consider adding latch guards, door bars, or supplemental locks to exterior doors for multi-point locking. This further strengthens door security.
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Employ a layered approach
Use multiple complementary security layers like door/window sensors, glass break detectors, motion detectors and cameras for comprehensive protection.
Conceal system wiring
Professionally install wiring so it is hidden and tamper-resistant. Hardwired systems are more secure than wireless systems.
Link fire monitoring
Tie your security system to fire monitoring and smoke detectors. Fires trigger an immediate alarm and response.
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Use smart lighting features
Connect outdoor lights to apps and smart home platforms to control them remotely. Adjust schedules and settings anytime.
Well-lit garages and sheds eliminate hiding places. Solar path lights work in remote areas.
Highlight house numbers
Well-lit house numbers help police and emergency responders locate your home quickly if needed.
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Use smart plugs
Smart plugs on lamps allow you to digitally turn lights on/off on schedules to mimic natural usage patterns.
Enable vacation modes
If you have an alarm system and smart home devices, enable vacation settings to randomly control lights and schedules.
Stopping services like newspaper delivery removes signals no one is home. Have mail held at post office.