Ever wonder if your home is a target for burglaries — if burglars look hungrily at your poorly lit, flimsy front door? View your home the way a burglar would, and think about what you see. Boosting your home security will give you peace of mind, and help prevent a robbery.
How to Make Your Home More Secure
You don’t have to barricade your doors and windows to keep burglars out of your home. But you do need to make sure that your home is protected, with no weak spots where burglars can enter or hide out. Here are some ways to strengthen your home security:
- Door security. Use solid metal or wood doors with deadbolt locks, and hinges without removable pins when possible. If you have sliding glass doors, secure them with screws that keep them from being lifted off their tracks and lock them with a deadbolt lock. Make sure all doors in the house, including patio and side doors, are secured at all times.
- Close the garage. Keep your garage doors and windows closed and locked, including those doors leading from the garage into the home.
- Light your home. Make sure doors and windows are well lit. Exterior and interior lighting is important for deterring burglars. No burglar wants to get caught trying to break in through a door or window with a light shining brightly on him or her.
- Lock windows. All windows on the main floor of your home — which are probably pretty easy to get into — should be securely locked. Also secure all screens and storm windows, and basement windows as well.
- Protect upper floors. If you home is two stories or higher, don’t underestimate a burglar’s ability to climb up to get inside. Keep trees trimmed away from windows to prevent climbing in, and make sure there is no access to a ladder. If upper windows have locks, use them; if they don’t, consider installing them.
- Trim shrubbery. Don’t give burglars a place to hide by allowing landscaping to get too lush or overgrown, blocking windows and doors. Keep all trees and bushes around your home neat and trimmed.
- Talk to neighbors. If you are concerned about home security and burglaries, talk to trusted neighbors. Neighbors can do more than lend a cup of sugar — ask them to let you know if they see anyone suspicious around your home, and offer to do the same for them.
- Fence in your yard. A fence, particularly one with only a narrow gate, may deter burglars. A fence makes it more difficult to get in and out, especially lugging big, awkward items like a TV out of your home.
- Consider a burglar alarm. An alarm can certainly scare off burglars and offer you peace of mind. A loud alarm will sound when your home is broken into, and some alarms automatically call the police or a security company when triggered.
- Take a self-defense class. If you’re worried about how to react if an intruder breaks in, consider taking a self-defense class. You’ll learn how to surprise a burglar, and have him heading for the door — and you’ll feel more confident in your abilities.
- Get a dog. Most dogs make a lot of noise when they hear something suspicious, and the last thing a burglar wants is for people to be made aware of his presence.
Home Security When You Travel
You may be particularly concerned about home protection while you’re traveling or on vacation, and rightly so. Burglars look for good opportunities, like plenty of time to break in without worrying about someone coming home and disrupting them.
Take these extra precautions before heading out of town so that you don’t leave your home vulnerable to burglary:
- Make sure all doors and windows are securely locked.
- Leave lights on inside and outside your home, such as front porch lights, and side and back door lights.
- Turn on a radio to make it seem like someone is home. Better yet, install a timer to turn on lights and a radio or TV at specific times of the day.
- Instead of boarding your dog, leave Fido home and hire a pet sitter to care for your dog – and your home.
- Have mail and newspapers collected every day, or stop delivery ahead of time.
What Kids Should Know About Home Security
Security measures should become second nature for every member of the family, even the youngest ones. Try these strategies:
- Teach children to be careful about keeping doors locked, and not be careless about forgetting to lock or close a door or window here or there.
- Make sure children know not to open the door for strangers. This can never be repeated enough.
- Once old enough, kids should know how to operate the burglar alarm system, and have it on when they’re home alone.
Home security is a family affair. It takes everyone’s involvement. No matter how safe your neighborhood, don’t be careless around your home — someone may be waiting to take advantage of it.