Home Security – 8 Tips
Home security systems are only as strong as their weakest link, and if you set up equipment that’s too technical and highly complicated for household members to use, they are most likely to ignore the equipment or work around it. Keep in mind that the occupants in your home are crucial to any security arrangements you make, so you have to be practical about how many headaches they are willing to accept in the name of better security.
1. Be sure your home appears to be occupied at all times.
Most thieves are very opportunistic. They enter into a community and look for homes that seem poorly defended and vacant. An crucial part of proper home security is making your home look occupied at all times.
One big sign to crooks that you are out of town is if your newspapers or mail are building up in front of your home. Make sure to make arrangements so newspapers and mail do not accumulate in the front yard. Ask a trusted member of the community to do daily mail pickups.
Interior lights are also very important in making a house look active and occupied. Not only should the lights be on, but the pattern of lights should alternate just as it would if the house was occupied. The easiest way to do this is with electrical timers that can be purchased at any hardware store.
Another very easy way to make a house appear occupied is to leave on a TV or radio with the volume turned up loud enough to be heard by someone approaching the doors or windows.
Leaving a car in the garage or driveway may also keep intruders at bay. If you are going on a extended trip and not able to leave a car at home, you should consult with the next door neighbor to park one of their cars in your driveway until you return.
2. Create perimeter defenses.
Another important home security measure involves making it difficult to get near the house. The most common way to do this is to build a high wall or fence.
In many parts of the world, this is the primary home security measure, but it does have its inadequacies. Often, it is easier to creep undetected over or under a open barrier than it is to force entry into a closed structure.
Yet perimeter defenses often give occupants of the home a false sense of home security that may cause them to get lazy about locking all doors and windows when leaving. For this important reason, perimeter defenses are most effective when they are either very difficult to penetrate or are augmented by cameras and/or motion detectors.
3. Make sure all the structures entrances are properly lit.
For most homes, perimeter defenses like fences and walls are of little to no use at all. Most people believe that the next element of defense is windows and doors, but there is something else that comes first. It’s based on the fact that burglars want to perform their work out of sight of the public. This means you want to make sure the outside of your home is well illuminated; particularly at any possible points of entry. An effective solution to this problem is motion detector lights. These relatively affordable home security devices can be programmed to turn on whenever anything moves near it.
4. Install deadbolts and peepholes on doors.
Most home security measures are focused mainly on the doors. With doors there are two vulnerable factors: the structural integrity and quality of the locks.
Recommended for all of your exterior doors, deadbolt locks are very strong locks that lock the door into the structures frame. Deadbolts come in keyed versions (which always need a key), and levered versions that only need a key to open from the outside of the door. If no glass is around the area, the lever version is best as it is more likely to be used.
Sliding glass doors present a unique situation. Most are highly vulnerable to shattering. The easiest home security feature is to put a solid bar or broom handle in the inside floor track. Most sliding glass doors can simply be lifted out of their tracks. There are screws at the bottom and top of the inside of the door that control how it sits in the track. Maneuver these so that the door can’t be lifted so high that the bottom comes free from the track.
Every homes front door needs to be equipped with a peephole to ensure proper home security. This is a affordable, simple to install device that enables you to view a visitor before you open your door. An intercom can also allow you to communicate with a visitor before deciding to open then door.
5. Secure all of your home’s windows.
Your home may only have one or a couple doors but it may have a dozen or more windows. Thief’s know that if they thoroughly check all the windows in a house, there is a good possibility that at least one window will be unlocked.
Even if all your windows are locked most standard window locks are very simple to pry or force open. Heavy duty locks will increase your homes security quite a bit. Another simple, affordable tactic that is great for double hung windows (two independently vertically moving windows in one frame) are window pins. These are specially made pins, or large nails that can easily be installed.
6. Remember your home’s other points of access.
Exterior windows and doors are not the only way to enter most homes. Many burglaries happen in the garage itself. Other than having valuables stolen from the garage, the door that connects the garage to the house is usually unsecured or not strong enough to stop a potential burglar.
Also check to see if the skylights, attic vents, crawl spaces and other openings may provide thieves with easy access into your home.
7. Consider installing a Home Security alarm system.
Alarm systems offer little in the way of physical barriers to criminals. However they do offer an important psychological obstacle.
In a community with an good police department, the home security alarm significantly increases the odds that the burglar will be caught. Even in neighborhoods where police response times are poor, the attention from the noise of an alarm may scare the burglar from finishing the robbery.
The price of home security alarm systems varies from hundreds to thousands of dollars. A burglar easily can bypass some of the primitive, less costly alarm devices. The more complex and sophisticated the combination of devices, the more likely the thief is to trigger the alarm or to not try to disable it.
Response times to home security alarms are driven by many factors. First is the effectiveness of the monitoring system that you are using. When choosing a monitoring service you should ask currents users of the service about the response time, if possible.
The second important factor is the method that you request that the monitoring service employ. What authorities do you have them call and in what order? What is the average response time? You need to be sure that the proper security protocol is being used.
The third factor is the 911 services in your city. Most work well but depend on your location and proximity. While you have no direct control over the 911 services in your area, you may be able to draw attention to the problem of a slow 911 service and seek a solution through the political lobbying process.
8. Keep a detailed record of all your valuables.
Many police departments encourage homeowners to engrave their social security number on the metal surfaces of valuables that are targets of theft. When police recover the stolen merchandise, they can easily find the true owner by seeing the SIN and return it quickly. Photographs of especially valuable items like artwork and antiques can also help police recover once stolen goods.