What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone mention home security? Maybe your mind immediately jumps to wireless video cameras. Perhaps you think of deadbolt door locks. Well, consider this: maximizing home security is not about one particular strategy. It’s a combination of multiple strategies all working together to keep you safe.
We all expect our homes to be safe places of refuge. Yet bad things still happen in our homes. From burglary to fire and home invasion, security risks are ever present. So, what do you do? How can you boost your own home security?
Check out these eight common sense tips, implementing as many as you can:
1. Be Particular About Your Locks
The easiest and most important thing you can do to boost home security is to be particular about your locks. Do not accept a cheaply made handle lock that can be easily breached with a screwdriver or crowbar. Rather, every exterior door on the first floor should be outfitted with a heavy-duty deadbolt.
In addition, always change the locks when you move. You have no way of knowing if the previous homeowner turned in all the keys – or even had a spare set made before closing. If you are a renter, ask the landlord to change or re-key the locks before you move in.
2. Don’t Leave Windows Wide Open
Opening the windows to get some fresh air isn’t a bad idea. But never open the windows and leave them wide open. You are better off keeping windows closed all the time. But if you want to get some fresh air, you can buy specially designed locks that only allow windows to open so far. Use them. They allow you to open windows enough to get some air but not enough to make entry possible.
3. Add a Home Security System
A home security system can add a significant boost to your safety. Vivint Smart Home, a nationwide provider of monitored home security systems, advises getting a system that includes video cameras.
Burglars and home invaders think twice before entering a home they know to be equipped with a security system. If that security system is monitored remotely, they have yet another reason to choose a different target. As for video surveillance, it provides evidence that police and prosecutors can use against criminals. This is a powerful deterrent.
An unmonitored security system can still be a successful deterrent. Just know that you will have to be more diligent about self-monitoring. That means setting up your system to send alerts to your phone or email whenever an alarm event is triggered.
4. Maintain Your Yard
Believe it or not, an unkept yard is an open invitation to criminals. Long grass and out-of-control shrubs tell burglars and home invaders two things:
They Have Cover – Overgrown landscaping provides cover. Criminals love that. The more cover they have, the less likely that they will be seen from the street.
You Are Careless – In addition to providing cover, overgrown lawns and shrubs tell burglars that you are careless. You do not make the effort to take care of the exterior of your home. How much effort have you taken to secure valuables inside?
Boost your home security by taking care of your yard. Keep the grass cut and trimmed. Trim bushes away from first-floor windows. If you have any large trees that completely block the front of your house, trim them back to open the view.
5. Be Wary of Strangers
We tell our children of stranger danger, and rightly so. But the same principle applies to boosting home security. In a nutshell, be wary of any strangers in your neighborhood. If someone looks out of place, call the authorities.
Also, never let anyone into your home without verifying identity and the purpose for the visit. Someone from the utility company should have a valid ID badge. You should be able call the company and verify that person’s employment.
If a stranger ever stops by your home and asks you to step outside for any reason, do not. That’s a common tactic burglars use to draw people out of their homes so their partners can go in and burglarize.
6. Don’t Leave Clues
Though some burglars and home invaders are not the brightest bulbs on the tree, they still do their utmost to avoid being caught. That includes looking for clues that would tell them whether a property is unoccupied. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave clues.
For example, do not leave a note on the door telling the UPS guy to leave your packages in the garage. It’s a dead giveaway. Don’t let the mail stack up while you’re out of town for couple of days. Drawing all the blinds and leaving a single light on in the kitchen telegraphs to criminals that you are not home.
7. Check Windows and Doors after Having Visitors
Sometimes you need to have visitors in your home. It is unavoidable. Let’s say you have a contractor in to clean the ductwork in preparation for colder winter weather. That contractor may have to work in multiple rooms to do his job. When he leaves, check all your windows and doors just to make sure nothing has been unlocked.
8. Never Leave the Garage Door Open
Whether you park your car in the garage or use the space for storage, you should never leave the overhead door open. Open it only when you need access. As soon as you’re done, close it. Otherwise, open overhead doors act like a magnet to criminals. They cannot resist peeking into the garage and, in some cases trying to enter the home.
It is impossible to adequately secure your home by relying on just one or two security strategies. Making your home as secure as it can be means taking every possible step to prevent breaches. This post has offered you suggestions for doing just that. If you can think of any more, by all means implement them.