How to Secure Your Home from Thieves and Looters — Forget about the security system until the very end. In some municipalities, the alarm systems are set off by accident and waste valuable police time. As a result, homeowners are assessed penalties for false alarms or police departments refuse to take those calls from security centers.
How to Secure Your Home from Thieves and Looters
Single Family Homes
Think like a burglar or pretend you forgot your keys. How would you get into the home? If you have immediately thought of a way, you need to address that immediately. A thief, as repulsive as the profession is, happens to be a professional and if he is going to enter your home, he already knows what you were thinking. He has seen it too when he was casing your home as a potential target.
If your landscape obscures your home from the street, begin pruning and make sure your neighbors can see you home from the street. Giving thieves places to hide from view is an open invitation to walk away with your valuables.
Motion sensor lights are fairly inexpensive and anyone approaching your home with the intent of gaining unlawful entry will quickly walk away when they are center stage and bathed in lighting. This also deters people walking their dogs from allowing them to use your lawn as a public landfill.
If you or your kid can easily pull up to the inside of the home through a window, you have an easy-accessibility problem. Invest on hedges and bushes to create a prickly barrier between the outside of the home and unlocked window.
Needless to say, locks on windows are a must to prevent entry. Hardware stores carry all sorts of locks. Invest in those that allow the window to be locked in several positions – This will allow fresh air but prevent a body from coming though the space. Cut branches from trees if it is an easy way to gain entry through a second story window.
Whether you are home or away from home, it is a good idea to have a timer that will turn certain lights in the home on and off at pre-set times of your choosing and never on the same schedule. This makes a thief consider a different house that seems to be vacant.
Make sure your exterior doors are not hollow, if so, replace with solid-core doors. For doors in which you want to use a key, Install a set that includes a lock in the knob or handle and a dead bolt. These locks are harder to manipulate to someone without a key.
If you constantly loose your keys, invest in a lock that requires a numeric combination or fingerprint to open the door. Numeric keypads are not only for automatic garage doors.
Consider your garage as another easy entry-point and keep it locked when not in use.
Door jambs are typically cheaply made and easy to break with some force. Invest in solid frames to replace existing ones, or invest in reinforcing existing ones with metal pieces at the juncture where the lock and frame meet. Use good locks in all exterior doors. The one pictured on the left is an example of a solid lock. Home improvement centers have many variations and you can find additional locks with extra safety features through their catalogs or online.
Sliding patio doors can be lifted off the frames – Go to the nearest home improvement home and ask for an anti-lifting device for your sliding door. Some are simple bars that attach the sliding door to the fixed portion of the door and others require that you remember to latch the lock at the top of the door and frame. A lot of people use a bar that fits into the track system of the fixed portion, but this is only marginally effective if the sliding portion is easy to tilt and lift off the track.
City Slickers and Apartment Dwellers
For those who live in a big city, the idea of looking around and being aware of the surrounding environment seems to be part of every daily interaction. For those who are new to the city, the first thing to do is get to know your neighbors without intruding in their space.
You are not looking for immediate friendships, you are looking for familiarity.It is second nature to those who live in your building to immediately notice new faces. This is part of their environmental makeup, so use it to your advantage and let them see you coming and going after your introductions. In a short period of time, they will know your routine and most importantly, who does not belong near your space.
Common areas need to be well lit, if this is not the case, it falls on you to request maintenance from the building’s manager. Your own interior lighting must be seen from the street and through the peep hole on the door. Anyone wanting to gain access to any part of the building will avoid a window that is well lit or a door that shows some light through the peep hole.
Reinforce the doorjamb with a metal plate at the weakest point: the lock area. Ensure the peep hole allows you a wide view of whoever is directly in front of the door and peripheral areas. Install a second peep hole at a child’s level as well. This helps the children to establish a routine before opening the door.
For safety reasons, ensure that in case of fire, the fire escape is operational. Afterwards, secure the window that leads to the fire escape with a latch that prevents the window from tilting and lifting. This is the same hardware home owners should have on their sliding patio doors. If you choose to use security bars, ensure they can be unlocked easily from the inside by children and adults alike but not from the outside. Bars on windows and doors must meet fire department standards to ensure the family can escape or be rescued.
Dogs and People
Noisy animals are a good way to deter thieves. A small dog yapping tends to be more annoying, loud and consistent than a big dog. Nervous dogs who bark at the sign of someone unfamiliar are the best for those who live in small apartments, while larger breeds that are trained to protect their turf and their people are more suitable for single-family homes in the suburbs.
How safe do you feel? do you live in a neighborhood where people feel comfortable leaving their doors unlocked or open most of the time? Do they realize in the morning that they left the side doors unlocked? This is a fact that thieves already know about your neighborhood. They go into unlocked vehicles and steal valuables. They walk right into the home and quietly take things out while the family sleeps. The neighborhood is easy pickings.
Consider the Following:
- Coordinate a neighborhood watch.
- Know your neighbors and let them know when you’ll be away and back.
- Offer to watch their home when they go on vacation.
- Get to know your neighborhood patrol car or police officer.
Between the pets and the people in the neighborhood, thieves will be hard-pressed to attempt entering the homes on your street.
The exterior cameras, recording hard drives and color monitors are fairly inexpensive and easy to install in both single-family homes and apartments, however, if the doors and windows are left unsecured regularly, no amount of security stickers on windows or alarm systems will prevent thieves from gaining access. The best security is a routine of safety measures.
Note: Violent home invasions count on people being home after work and school because they know people don’t normally lock their doors and windows until they retire for the evening. Keep that in mind while surveying the property and making the necessary adjustments to keep your home and family safe.
Good Resource: The Best Home Security System for 2017