Tips for a more secure home
Security in the home is a significant part of your peace of mind. Not only does your house provide shelter from the elements, your house also naturally provides security for the people who live there as well as your possessions and valuable personal property.
In many cases, the steps you take to secure your house can add value, ambiance, and functionality as well. Utilizing a “deter, detect, delay” tactic in securing your home is a good approach. Criminals will look for the easiest target and if you take a few basic steps to secure your home you may avoid becoming a victim.
Recommended by Garett Huber of Berkshire Hathaway HomeService PenFed Realty, “Upgrading homes with more modern devices such as internet-based systems for windows, doors, and appliances will help keep the home safe from damage caused if the homeowner is away or an absentee owner who may have a second home or a rental. Having systems that monitor use will help keep the property safe with lower deferred maintenance.”
Door, Windows, Locks
Checking your locks is often overlooked, especially at night and when you are not at home. Many burglaries are no-force entries which means the burglars entered through an unlocked door or window. It is recommended windows, or doors-to-decks which are on the second floor also need to be locked. Intruders can gain access by climbing trees and/or shrubs. Be sure to keep trees and shrubbery trimmed to limit access to upper levels or to provide hiding places.
Utilizing a wood dowel is an inexpensive and convenient way to secure a sliding glass door. If a door or window is in an out-of-the-way place that is easily accessible, consider securing it with bars or an outer security door.
Not only are garage door openers convenient, they also provide security to your garage.
Studies show that the more difficult it is to enter the home, the greater the chances are that the burglar will move on.
Use of light can be an excellent deterrent. A well-lit exterior with well-lit entrance ways is both aesthetic and more secure. Motion detectors provides safety for the occupants of the house as well as providing more security. Be sure to check and replace burnt out bulbs. Jose Rivera of Option 1 Realty Group suggests, “Use Motion Detection Devices for night security as well as keep entrance clear and free of bushes where burglars can hide.” When not at home, leaving on a few lights on the interior is a good way to deter criminals as it provides the appearance that somebody is at home.
Fences and Gates
Fences can provide a certain amount of privacy as well as security. Tasteful fencing can create a feeling of “place” that provides a positive look and feel to your home, while also adding a deterrent and a delay to criminals. Limiting traffic to your property and creating barriers to individual entry make it more difficult to remove personal property.
Utilization of a security system is obviously great way to secure your home; however, most security systems require a monthly service which can be expensive. Fake security cameras are relatively inexpensive. Placing fake security cameras in conspicuous locations on the exterior of the house gives the illusion that a security system is in place. Simply seeing a camera is a deterrent. Even if a criminal may suspect fake cameras, there is a chance that they aren’t, and the psychological effect of “somebody may be watching me” is enough to deter most would be criminals.
There are security and monitoring systems available which do not require a service. Aside from the initial expense of purchasing and installing these systems, they are a good alternative to fully monitored security systems which require a service. These types of systems produce a loud alarm which will alert occupants and neighbors of an intrusion.
A draw back to a security system is that it is subject to power outages. If criminals have access to the main power switch, they can disable a security system. Securing power boxes can help alleviate this risk. Also, the use of uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) or a security system with a backup battery will also alleviate this risk.
Posting a sign that a security system and cameras are in operation is a good idea. Just the appearance of a security system sign is a good deterrent.
There is security in numbers. A neighborhood watch program adds security to all the houses in the neighborhood. Posting signs that there is a neighborhood watch will act as a deterrent to criminals. Knowing who your neighbors are and vice versa adds security to your neighborhood. It is a good practice to let your neighbors know that you will be gone for an extended period of time and when you will be back if you are going on a trip or vacation. While you do want neighbors to be informed to some degree, advertising more widely that you will be away from your home is less desirable. When seeking to find a house sitter or pet sitter, avoid advertising the dates of your travel. With an increase in social media and local email lists, people who are outside of your immediate circles could gain access to your plans and make use of that information.
A neighborhood watch program is an inexpensive way to add security.
Make it appear as if you are home
Simply leaving one light on in the house can give the appearance that someone is home even when nobody home. If nobody is going to be home for an extended period of time, such as a vacation, keep shades as they would normally be open or closed, and use timers to control lights and even music. Increasingly, “smart home” technology can enable homeowners to control the environment from a distance. Consider stopping deliveries or better yet, have someone stop by daily or stay in the home to pick up mail and newspapers, and to check on the house while you are gone.
In addition to companionship, a dog could be an excellent deterrent to a burglar. Barking serves as an alarm, helping to detect an intruder as well. Even small dogs who are not a physical threat can be a deterrent by simply barking at intruders. Often times criminals will move on to a different house as soon as they hear a dog.
Securing your valuables in a safe won’t stop a criminal from getting into your house, but it will stop them from stealing your valuables should they get in. Although safes are heavy and might be hard to move, ensure your safe is bolted down to stop a criminal from removing it. The potential for valuables being inside is worth the effort of removing a safe. Consider storing valuable paperwork (deeds, wills etc), guns & ammunition, cash, and valuable jewelry in your safe.