It's Time to Evaluate your Home's Security
You want your home to be your sanctuary, a safe place from the rest of the world, where you can relax. In order to preserve your peace of mind, it’s important every day to keep an eye on the locks, points of entry, and the surrounding premises of your property.
There are always things you can do to make your home more secure.
No home is impermeable, but there are many ways you can effectively protect your home and family from criminal trespass. If you choose not to pay attention to possible vulnerabilities in your home’s security, your property will become more attractive to a robber. Let’s consider what you may be overlooking.
Secure windows and glass doors.
A visibly open window is obviously attractive to a potential intruder. Ground floor windows are of course more susceptible to break-ins. Upper floor windows can also be attractive if a robber can get in from a stairway, ladder, balcony, tree, or fence. Use a secondary blocking device, such as a wooden dowel, on each window to prevent someone from sliding it open from the outside. To comply with fire code safety, be sure these window blocking devices can be easily removed from the inside.
Anti-lift devices are needed for ground level sliding-glass doors, and for aluminum windows that slide horizontally. Install screws half-way into the upper track of the movable glass panel so as to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position. Place a decal on the glass door or window, near the latch mechanism, indicating that an alarm system, or a neighborhood watch system is in place.
Don’t keep a “hidden” house key.
Don’t keep a key under the mat, inside the mailbox, or under a flower pot. That’s exactly where a burglar will look. If you have a keyholder disguised as a rock, a smart intruder will already know what it looks like. It’s a better idea to give your spare key to a trusted neighbor instead.
Sensibly store keys and garage-door remotes.
It’s a bad idea to keep your keys and remotes near a door with a window, or otherwise visible to someone outside. It’s best to keep them hidden inside a drawer or cupboard instead.
Store your ladders.
Don’t keep a ladder outside, where a burglar may easily use it to get in. A burglar can pretend to be a handyman, using your ladder to enter through a window on your upper floor or to make it up to your balcony.
Keep your garage secure.
Most people forget about securing the garage. Every burglar knows that it’s easier to get into your garage or back doors without being seen. Keep the garage door closed and locked.
Keep your yard tidy.
Eliminate potential intruder hiding spots by keeping your hedges, shrubs, plants, and trees trimmed. If they’re too tall, not well spaced, or unwieldy, a potential burglar can hide easily.
Keep your air-conditioning unit secure.
Use an air-conditioner bracket, corner braces, or a sliding window lock so that a robber cannot get through the unsecured window opening.
Check the quality of your lighting, and keep lights in working order.
Near each door, install outdoor lights with infrared motion detectors. Motion detector lights help discourage trespassers. They can even be connected to your smart device so you can detect possible undesirable activity and respond immediately. You may also want to choose lights that respond to changes in temperature, light, or sound.
You can put your porch lights on timers. When you’re gone for the day, or away longer, you can make it look like someone’s at home by using timers on your lights, radios, and TVs. If you’re away for an extended vacation, you can get a smart light timer installed, so you can monitor and control everything with a mobile app, making it look like your home is occupied all while you’re gone.
Fortify your doors.
Keep an eye on all your outside entry points. A hollow door is easier to penetrate. As soon as possible, replace it with a solid-core wood or metal door. If an outside door has a weak lock or weak resistance, it’s vulnerable. Strengthen your doors’ locks by replacing the strike plate (the stationary piece that the bolt enters), and mounting a solid metal plate on the doorjamb for the sliding bolt. Replace short mounting screws with longer screws that will reach the door’s studs, adding more strength to the doorframe.
Replace weak or worn-out locks with upgraded locks.
Any locksmith expert will tell you that deadbolts will always provide extra security. Be sure to get a grade-2 deadbolt lock, which penetrates the doorframe. Heavy-duty is always better. Of course, smart or digital locks will provide another layer of security. With some, you can synchronize your smart lock with your smart device, so you won’t have to carry a key at all.
Use your alarm system, if you have one.
If you have an alarm system, be sure you learn to use it, and then make sure you do! Teach each family member to use it properly and daily. If you’re not arming your alarm system, it’s worthless. Consider these strategies:
- Put your system on a timing schedule.
- With some systems, you can use your smart device to gain access to your system remotely, so you can monitor and adjust your security system anytime.
- Keep your batteries charged. They should have a warning system that tells you whenever batteries are getting low, so you won’t ever allow them to drain entirely. You want your home to be continuously protected, even in a power outage.
- Add a carbon monoxide monitor.
- Add a fire alarm.
- Do you live in an area prone to floods? You may want to install a moisture monitor for your basement to detect flooding.
Follow simple daily rules.
- Answer the door only if you know the person. (If you don’t have a peephole, install one. Use a wide-angle 160-degree peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches)
- Lock doors and windows whenever you go out, and before you go to sleep.
- Keep your valuables well hidden in unconventional locations.
Finally, be a good neighbor
Good neighbors look out for each other. Get to know your neighbors, at least on each side of your home as well as the two or three across the street. Communicate often and establish trust. Neighbors don’t have to be friends to help each other; simply be civil. A good neighbor will watch out for your home while you’re away. Some may even be willing to mow and water your lawn, pick up mail, etc. or do other things that can make it look like you’re home. Then return the favor.
Hire a professional.
If you come across weak spots in your home’s security, ask an expert about how best to remedy the situation. If you’re in Miramar, Florida, you may want to request a free consultation from Locksmith Miramar.