Owning my home has opened my eyes to many new things, including home security. While I may not have expensive jewelry, or really anything of great value, it could still happen. I’ve already started to put some security measures in place in and around my home to prevent break-ins. There’s really no way to make a home ‘burglar proof’ without turning it into Fort Knox. My intent, instead, is to make my home less appealing to anyone who might think about breaking in.
In 2011 the FBI Crime Statistics estimated just over 9 million property crimes with an estimated loss of $15.6 billion. With statistics like that, I definitely want to protect my home and my family from any intruder.
Here are a few things you can implement immediately (or relatively soon) to reduce the appeal to burglars.
Free – Just a bit of your time:
- Cut bushes, trees, and shrubs back to reduce hiding places for an intruder.
- Ensure all windows, doors and porches are visible from the street.
- Open your curtains and take a walk around your house to see what is visible from the windows. If needed, rearrange a few things to keep high-priced items out of plain sight.
- Don’t put the empty boxes from your new flat screen TV or Xbox out at the curb – this lets potential intruders know what you have in your home before ever entering.
- Don’t leave toys, bicycles, etc. outside where people walking by can see them.
- Do not, I repeat do not leave a spare key under the rug or in a flower pot. Instead, give the spare key to a neighbor or friend in case you get locked out of your house.
- If you are going to be leaving town for a little while, call your local police department and let them know and ask for additional patrol to check on things while you’re away. You can also ask a neighbor to do this as well. In addition, ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers, and turn on a light or two at night to make it look like someone is home.
- Purchase (if you don’t have them already) window coverings (i.e. shades or curtains) and keep them closed at night to deter intruders from looking in when you can’t see them.
- Put locks on any gates or fences that lead to the rear of your property.
- Purchase and put wood dowels into the windows and sliding glass doors as an added level of security. If an intruder is somehow able to break the window lock, he won’t be able to open the window with a piece of wood in the way without breaking the window.
- If you have a sliding glass door you can install a small pin or nail into the frame of the door to reduce an intruder’s ability to lift the door and remove it altogether.
- Increase the amount of lighting around your home. I just had a motion sensor flood light installed on my front porch. Ensuring there is plenty of light (especially when it turns on unexpectedly when someone walks up) will help deter intruders.
- Purchase timers for your interior lights and set them to come on a few minutes before dark if you aren’t home. This will create the illusion that someone is home. You can purchase basic plug-in units, or have some hardwired that give you more options.
- If you have windows in or around your front door, install Plexiglas over these windows so intruders can’t break them and unlock the door.
- Install deadbolts on any exterior doors. Using a double cylinder deadbolt lock – one that requires a key to lock or unlock from both sides – is recommended to keep anyone from unlocking the door and entering your home if they break the glass surrounding the door.
- Install a home security system on your home. This will obviously notify you if someone attempts to enter your home. If you can’t afford a home security system, you can put home security signs and stickers in your yard and window. This could help deter burglars, but doesn’t guarantee that they won’t test out your security system.
A Bit More Expensive:
- Harden any ground-level entry points by installing steel wrapped or solid wood doors.
- Install a security gate that has a metal piece covering the strike plate and deadlatch, preventing someone from using a card to open your door.
Securing your home will help you and your family be and feel safer while at home and while away. Just a few minor changes can make all the difference.