If you’re a homeowner, you know that ensuring the safety of your family is your number one priority. With the rise of home invasions and burglaries across the country, homeowners must take active measures to thwart criminals at all costs. In this article, we’ll take a look at a number of aspects to consider and ways that you can bolster your home’s security.
Using Layers of Security
One of the most important aspects to consider for home security is that just one solution (i.e. home security alarm) isn’t enough to provide adequate protection. The truth is that every security solution has a weak spot and a countermeasure that criminals may be aware of. For instance, you may install a deadbolt on every door, but a criminal with locksmithing experience (or an unwitting accomplice) can easily defeat this security measure. Having redundancies for layers of protection ensures that if one security measure fails, there are others that can provide protection. Therefore, by using layers of security, criminals can be deterred and consider your home too risky to take a chance on.
Have Security Habits in Place
Having the right tools and measures in place to protect your home is important, but can be useless if they’re not actuated. Therefore, make sure to have a security protocol in place when leaving your home. All of your family members should be educated on how to lock doors, turn on/off security systems, and know what to do in an emergency.
Homes that Criminals Select
Criminals come in all shapes and sizes, from sophisticated criminals that use the same technology as law enforcement to opportunistic thieves that may make a spur of the moment decision to target your home. However, as a general rule of thumb, criminals select easy targets, low-risk high-reward. Often, they’ll gather intelligence on who regularly occupies your home, what valuables and assets you may have and the level of protection that you employ.
While firearms in the United States are a contentious issue for many citizens, there have been many recorded instances where a firearm has neutralized a threat into a home. Experts agree that guns can play a critical factor in ensuring your family’s safety, but careful thought must be taken to ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands.
First, having firearms training is critical for gunowners. Improper use of firearm can be deadly and of no use—or may escalate a situation, as many criminals carry weapons to intimidate a home’s occupants. This means that at least one adult in the home is trained properly on the use, safety, and maintenance of firearms.
Second, some experts recommend that you have them nearby to defend your home at all time, particularly if they’re staged around the house. While some people keep them in their bedrooms exclusively to protect a home during the night, most home invasions take place during daylight hours, typically between 10am to 3pm. Of course, the risk of children mishandling a gun goes up when guns are placed around the home, so proper care and measures need to be taken (ex. guns stored out of reach, locked safes, etc.). For those that live in high-crime areas, experts advice carrying them at certain times of the day if necessary.
Outside Home Maintenance
It’s a common fact that criminals target homes that look neglected. Often, this means that the home is less likely has an alarm system, that residents may not be home, or a myriad of reasons that imply that home security isn’t a top priority of your home. Therefore, it’s essential to clean up clutter outside of your home, repair any crumbling structural elements (shingles, roofing, doors), and so forth. In some instances, criminals have used discarded tools outside of a home for opportunistic crimes that left homeowners defenseless. Even cinder blocks can be used as battering rams for doors and breakage devices windows, so take a careful look around your home’s lawn and backyard for anything that may aid a home invader.
The windows of your home are the most easily accessible part of your home for criminals, leaving your home vulnerable to entry by criminals. There are a number of ways to reduce the vulnerability of your windows, such as always locking the latches when left unused or using a device that prevents windows from being opened beyond a certain point. Some homeowners also use grating and bars on windows to add another layer of protection, so that even if the window is broken, entry is impossible. Other homeowners use unbreakable windows to prevent criminals from breaking the windows easily—or at the very least, creating a substantial amount of noise to alert the home’s occupants. Also, using bushes and shrubs can provide obstacles in a criminal’s path.
As a last note, make sure to close your blinds at night—criminals will often look through a home’s windows on passing when sizing up a property for valuables. Televisions can illuminate your home’s possessions, making your home a target. Using window shades can reduce visibility and thwart potential criminals.
Having a dog is a smart decision when it comes to home security. While serving as protection for your home, dogs can also function as a alarm, barking at the sound of intrusion and those lurking outside. The presence of a dog can work as a deterrent for criminals that would otherwise target a home without a canine. For the best home protection, there are a number of breeds that blend a fierceness and loyalty to your family, while also serving as a faithful companion for years. Homes that have a dog should put up a Beware of Dog sign, even if you don’t have one.
Lighting around your home is a valuable asset to your home’s protection. Often, thieves will approach a home from the darkened corners of your property to make their entrance and escape more attainable. Therefore, making sure that your home is adequately lit is a serious step towards comprehensive home security. Also, homes equipped with motion sensor lights can thwart criminals that wrongly assume that your home is vulnerable.
There are many companies throughout the United States that offer a myriad of security systems, which range from silent alarms, dispatched guards, and automatic locking mechanisms. Be sure to fully investigate what each home system encompasses and what levels of protection are available. Also, putting up signage that states that your home is protected by a particular security system works as a deterrent for would-be criminals. And for those that may not have the budget for a comprehensive security system, putting up a sign of a security system even if you don’t have one can be enough evidence for criminals to avoid your property. .
Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), it is now possible to control and monitor your home’s security from the convenience of your smartphone. There’s a wide range of smart home solutions, including those that include a live feed that goes to your cell phone to monitor your property or sensors that alert you to the presence of broken windows (and other forms of unorthodox entry). Additionally, many of these smart home systems include sensors that detect smoke, carbon monoxide, and active fires.
Your home’s fencing serves as a barrier to entry for criminals. Protecting your home with unclimbable fencing ensures that athletic criminals can vault your fences and enter your home. High fences are recommended, while also using barbs and sharp points to deter criminals that don’t want to risk bodily injury.
Your home’s entryways are typically targeted by criminals as logical spots of home entry. The following are a number of ways that doors can be enhanced to avoid a forced entry:
- deadbolt locks and safety chains
- install doors the open outward, not inward
- the Nightlock, which increases the strength of a door
- strong, solid doors that can withstand heavy blows
- reinforced door frames (tip: use longer screws on hinges for doors for more strength, such as deck screws rated ~40lbs and above.)
By ensuring your home’s doors are as strong as possible, you can buy time to get prepared for a threat (or call the police) or frustrate a criminal that was looking for an easy target.