Home Security Tips
When it comes to safeguarding your home, implementing effective security measures is crucial. By following these home security tips, you can enhance the protection of your property and provide a safer environment for your loved ones.
- Secure Exterior Doors: Ensure that your exterior doors are equipped with quality deadbolt locks, featuring at least a 1″ throw. To reinforce the latch-strike plates, use screws that are at least 3″ long. Opt for solid hardwood or metal-clad doors for added durability. Install wide-angled peepholes at accessible heights or consider a voice intercom system for better identification of visitors. Strengthen your doorframe to prevent forced entry, and protect door hinges from tampering. Avoid placing locks within reach through mail slots, delivery ports, or pet entrances. If you like to keep your front door open during the day, install storm and screen doors with reliable locks. Whenever you move into a new home, change the locks and avoid hiding spare keys under doormats or in obvious locations. Instead, give them to a trusted neighbor. Additionally, trim your landscaping to ensure clear visibility of entryways from the street or public areas. Adequate exterior lighting is essential, so properly illuminate all entrances. Always remember to lock your doors when you’re at home and every time you leave your residence.
- Strengthen Sliding Glass Doors: Secure your sliding glass doors by preventing the removal of the sliding panel from its track. Choose one or more of the following options for added security: a track lock, an insertion pin lock, a hinged door bar, or a metal/wooden dowel in the track.
- Enhance Garage Door Security: The door connecting your garage to your living quarters should have locks that provide the same level of security as exterior doors, as it serves as an entry/exit point for your security system. Opt for a metal or solid wood door for increased strength. If your overhead garage door features an automatic opener, ensure it utilizes a “rolling code” to deter code grabbers. Keep your overhead garage doors closed and locked at all times. Consider installing a remote door position indicator inside your home to easily determine whether the garage door is open or closed.
- Secure Windows: Reinforce window security with auxiliary keyed window locks. These locks allow for ventilation while remaining securely locked. Keep the keys readily accessible for emergency situations. If auxiliary locks are not present, use pins, nails, or dowels to secure windows. Install screens or storm windows that can be locked from the inside. For sliding windows, place a dowel in the track to prevent forced entry. Basement windows should have a second lock or be covered with a grate or grille. Leave at least one window accessible as a fire exit. For windows with portable air conditioning units, consider installing security bars. Trim trees and shrubbery around upper floor windows to eliminate potential hiding spots for intruders. Store ladders securely to prevent unauthorized access. Promptly repair or replace any broken windows. Remember to always close and lock all windows, even when you’re away for just a short period.
- Enhance Outdoor Security: Ensure proper lighting for areas surrounding your house, garage, or yard, especially during nighttime. Bright, functional lights should be installed at all exterior entrances to illuminate visitors. Motion sensors are an effective way to control outdoor lighting. Display your house number clearly with at least 4″ tall numbers and a contrasting background on a post near the street or on your home. Use large, bold numbers on your mailbox, but avoid including your name. Keep all outdoor storage sheds, pool houses, and other exterior buildings locked. Secure bicycles, grills, and other valuable items by locking them or attaching them to stationary points. Use weatherproof padlocks to keep fence and gate latches locked. Always lock your vehicles and keep the windows closed. Plant prickly or thorny shrubbery near windows to discourage loitering or hiding. If you frequently travel or spend time in your backyard, consider installing a surveillance camera system to monitor the exterior of your home. Displaying alarm company signs, neighborhood watch signs, or dog decals on windows or in your yard can act as deterrents for potential burglars.
- Ensure Interior Security: Utilize automatic timers for lights to create the illusion of occupancy when you’re away. Always arm your security system to provide comprehensive protection. Keep window shades and blinds closed when you’re not at home to prevent visibility into your property. Exercise caution when answering the door; verify the identity of visitors before opening it. Avoid providing unnecessary information or revealing your absence when recording your answering machine message. Maintain an up-to-date inventory of valuable items within your home, including makes, models, serial numbers, photographs, and videos. Store these records in a safety deposit box rather than at home. Engrave valuable items with your driver’s license number (not your social security number) to aid in recovery if stolen. Use a fire-rated safe or safety deposit box to safeguard valuable items and important documents.
- Security Measures While on Vacation: Before leaving for a vacation, complete any necessary yard work to maintain the appearance of an occupied home. Temporarily discontinue mail and newspaper services to avoid accumulating noticeable deliveries. Request a friend or neighbor to regularly check on your home. Avoid leaving a message on your answering machine indicating your absence. Leave a radio on, tuned to a talk-radio station, to simulate activity inside the house. Set timers for lights to turn on and off in a logical sequence. Similarly, set a timer for your television or radio to create the impression that someone is home. Request a neighbor to park their vehicle in your driveway or leave your own vehicle there.
- Optimize Your Alarm System: Consistently use your alarm system and exercise caution when sharing alarm codes and key fobs. To ensure prompt response, connect your alarm system to a central station capable of dispatching authorities if necessary. Consider installing a backup cellular connection for your alarm system in case of a disruption in telephone service. Test your system weekly and schedule an annual service with your alarm company for maintenance.
By implementing these home security tips, you can significantly enhance the safety and protection of your home and loved ones. Stay vigilant, stay secure.