Your home is your castle and just as kings and the noble people protected their homes, so should you. Unlike those looking to protect their stone fortresses from intruders, you do not have a moat, legions of knights or squads of archers at your disposal. But this doesn’t mean that your home needs to be any less protected.
Many people think that home security is only for the rich and famous, but any home is a target for potential thieves. In fact, house burglaries continue to be a widespread problem as they provide less risk and greater reward regarding money, valuables and easily pawned items such as tools or other household items. Luckily securing those valuables is not as complicated as you may think and many top security tips do not require a contractor or large investment in either time or money.
Target of Opportunity
The first thing you need to understand is that burglars are looking for targets of opportunity – houses which will offer the highest reward with the lowest risk of being caught. If you make your home a hard target, one which will take too long to break into or offer too great a risk of being caught, they are likely to pass it by for another more attractive target.
So how do you make your home less attractive to would-be thieves? First, walk around your house at view it as if you were a burglar trying to get in. Look for possible points of entry, hiding locations and weak points in your security. Pay special attention to the following items.
1. Home security system: Adding a home security system is one of the best ways to defeat would be burglars but only if it is a quality system and only if you actually use it every time you leave the house. While this is not something, you can do yourself it is well worth the investment and many security companies will install your new system a little or no cost with a monitoring contract. Because most security systems rely on the telephone line for connection to the monitoring system make sure the lines are not easily accessible as thieves will often cut them to delay detection.
2. Windows and doors: Each and every window or door must include a quality lock, and it is recommended that new locks be installed each time you move into a new home or apartment, a tenant moves out, or keys are lost. If you routinely have contractors, cleaners or other domestic help entering your home while you are away, consider installing an electronic lock at least on the door, they will be accessing. Many of these locks can be set to only open during pre-determined periods or offer specific entry codes for each user. Best of all the entry codes can be deleted or changes without the need to change the lock itself.
3. Remove potential hides: One of the things burglars look for when selecting a target is the ability to work unseen, often selecting homes with high shrubs or other features that obscure the view from the street. Make your home less attractive by cutting back the shrubs, trimming trees near the house (which could also provide access to per levels) and removing junk or debris. If you have an expansive yard consider adding motion activated lights to alert you if someone is prowling around your property, possibly in an attempt to learn your movements or determine a likely entry point.
4. Do not put valuables on display: Valuables that can be easily seen, especially from outside the home, are an invitation to burglars as it proves there is a potential payday to be had. Valuables you feel must be displayed to be enjoyed should be shielded from view either by being placed in interior rooms or by covering windows with drapes, curtains or blinds. For extra protection consider storing your most valuable possessions and important papers in the best fireproof safe, which will guard against both theft and disaster.
5. Secure garage and outbuildings: If you have a garage or outbuildings, you need to remember them in your security plan. Outbuildings offer excellent places for burglars to hide and most likely contain valuable tools or other equipment thieves would find attractive. Garages not only house additional valuables but also provide nearly unrestricted access to the main dwelling. You should not only secure access to the garage itself but install an upgraded door leasing from the garage to main house and ensure it is wired to any security system.
6. Light it up: Lights are burglar’s worst enemy as they remove the ability to go undetected. Adding a night light to the exterior entry area allows you to see potential visitors and makes this a less attractive entry point for uninvited guests as well. Adding automated lights that will turn on automatically when you are away from home is another important security feature. Even if you are simply returning later than normal, you will find comfort in knowing you will not be arriving at a dark doorway. Just remember to use a timer that shuts off the lights during daylight hours as lights that remain on when not needed are an indication no one is home.