Many incorrectly believe a truly safe home requires an elaborate security system. Actually, most dismiss alarms as accidental. Even a national alarm corporation advertises their employee telephoning a residence to ensure assistance is necessary before calling local authorities. Burglars recognize ample time exists to gain entry, steal, and escape before law enforcement arrives. Examining these five basic areas protects against home invasion.
Examine your residence from the perspective of home intruders.
Why would a prowler select your residence over another nearby? Consider these points when investigating potential weaknesses:
- Inspect your home both day and night. Most people work during the day when a significant percentage of residential break-ins transpire.
- At night exterior lighting is critical, especially where housebreakers might enter. While some residents like motion-activated detectors, burglars are less likely to approach already lit locations. Consider dusk-to-dawn lighting. Outside lamps should illuminate exterior window areas without lighting up the interiors and proving annoying. An intruder cannot easily deactivate lighting installed overhead.
- Consider how landscaping or other items afford locations where intruders might hide. Keep your yard pleasantly decorative without being potentially dangerous.
- Mailboxes need only reflect addresses where possible. If names are necessary, provide only surnames and initials. This precludes strangers approaching as if they know you. (This last suggestion also applies to telephone listings.)
- Forbid entry to unknown individuals. Call for emergency assistance yourself if anyone claims need.
- Perpetrators recognize spare keys are typically kept under doormats, in mailboxes, beneath flowerpots, and near doors. If you must use one, hide it away from the door.
- While some do not fear alarms, others opt for easier targets. Window stickers, entry warnings, and yard signs announcing security protection are available even when none is actually in place.
Make it appear to a housebreaker like you are always at home.
Most housebreakers avoid confrontations. Evade announcing you are gone with these simple methods:
- Curtains or blinds preclude outsiders from peering in. Use when absent as well as other times because burglars recognize habits.
- Utilize timers that switch your lights and radios on and off when gone. Televisions provide noise, and after dark afford flickering light against sheer curtains to those outside.
- Refrain from leaving notes for others on your door. These provide bold announcements of your absence.
- When gone for any period, place holds on your mail, newspaper, package delivery, or other services that leave things outside proclaiming you are gone.
- Dogs of all sizes provide noisy deterrents. They hear outside noises and start barking promptly from inside. Devices are available that begin “barking” upon sensing disturbances. These are relatively inexpensive yet without canine ownership responsibilities.
Secure doors that afford home access to burglars.
Residents enter homes through the same doors prowlers use. These methods help strengthen weak aspects:
- 1-inch deadbolt locks preclude Intrusion using plastic cards to wedge locks open. Deadbolts are vulnerable only to tools between the door and frame.
- Reinforce doors and frames as necessary. Use sheet metal or 3/4-inch plywood. Replace any rotten framework.
- Install the best door peephole camera to see people before they get to the door.
- Exterior hinges allow access by simply punching the pins out and pulling the door open. Reset these hinges inside or install locking pins that extend between the frame and the door when shut. This prevents it from being pulled open.
- As many perpetrators gain entry through unsecured doors, lockup even when leaving for only short periods.
- Replace your locks if you move into a new residence or lose your keys.
Protect window or glass security weaknesses from break-ins.
Glass is the most fragile aspect of home security. Here are ways to reinforce it:
- With patio doors open, partially install screws in the tracks at points to be directly over the doors once shut. Depths must allow clearance to close doors, but prevent lifting it from the lower track.
- Insert a metal pipe or bar of comparable length to the open track behind the interior sliding door.
- On units where more than one door slides, inexpensive lock pins are available to insert through the overlapping frames when shut.
- Various pipes and key locks are available for vertically sliding windows.
- Insert solder drips over screw heads of window locks. Such glass panes are typically the weakest and easily cut. This precludes such devices being removed through cut or broken panes.
Garage security methods are often forgotten.
Residents frequently overlook garages, especially detached structures. Alarm companies typically ignore these areas, too. Housebreakers do not, so consider these points:
- Garages are the common location for circuit breaker, telephone, and main electrical boxes. Here they are easily subject to disabling.
- Remedy interior doors between the garages and residences that are neither metal nor solid wood, or expose outward-swinging hinges. Peepholes and deadbolts are equally important.
- Secure exterior walk-in garage doors using identical methods as for the home.
- Cover garage windows as in your home, so whether your car is there remains unseen. Curtains, interior shutters, frosted panes, or simply painting them inside will suffice.
- Electric door openers generally preclude access except via exterior code pads or remote controls. Do not leave these in automobiles outside. Maintain them in purses or use keychain models.
- Roller doors may be additionally secured during lengthy absences. When shut, drill a hole into the wide flat track surface directly above a roller and just large enough for a padlock. This prevents the door from opening.
- Another method to secure rolling doors is by tightening a C-clamp onto the track directly above a roller.
The goal is to dissuade potential prowlers.
I cannot cover every possible weak point, nor do all tips apply. By addressing these you will remedy potential issues and likely find others.