Home security is important for several reasons, primarily for the safety and security of yourself and your family, but home security also helps protect your home and your things. As an added bonus, one of the ways that you can save on your homeowners’ insurance policy is if you have certain security measures in place to reduce the risk of a break-in, burglary, or vandalism. Here are a few tips to increase your home’s security:
- Landscaping and Lighting
Trees, shrubs, and gardens may serve to make your home more aesthetically pleasing but they can also be used to amplify your home’s security or deter potential burglars. Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed below window level so that they cannot be used as a hiding spot by burglars. Also, planting thorny bushes outside of entryway points can also keep any potential burglar from hiding behind them or from attempting to gain access. Most convicted burglars who have been interviewed claim that they look for homes with overgrown bushes, so they can go unnoticed by neighbors or cars passing by while they work to gain entry into your home. Lighting can add to your landscaping effect while also working as a deterrent, especially if they are motion activated.
- Reinforce Doorways and Windows
Changing your front door to open out instead of in can serve as several security improvements; outward opening doors are more difficult to kick in, an overlapping layer can be placed between the gap in the doorway to prevent someone on the outside from messing with the lock, and opening your door outward forces the person on the outside to take a step back away from the door. Entryway doors should also be made of metal or solid wood and be at least 1 ¾ inches thick. You can also burglar-proof your windows and sliding glass doors with reinforced glass or installing plexiglass (which is the same thickness of regular glass but is ten time stronger).
- Camera System
Cameras installed around your property are a major crime deterrent and help you stay aware of your property even while you are away. Placing a sticker or a sign that the property is under constant video surveillance on the edge of your property can help prevent potential burglars or vandals from even stepping foot on your property.
- Package-Theft Prevention
There have been many cases recently of thieves following mail delivery trucks and watching for any packages that may be potentially valuable; some companies ship items in their regular package, so the contents are easily spotted. When ordering high value items, request a signature delivery so that someone must be home for the delivery and the package is not left on the doorstep. You can also install a camera at your doorway that captures a full view of your porch to get any package thieves on video. There are several brands with high quality images that are relatively affordable. If the camera is visible, it may also force a potential package thief to rethink their actions.
- Strategic Placement
Have you ever watched a movie or TV show where the characters didn’t put their keys in a table or hook by the front door? This common practice is also known by thieves and it would be easy for them to break in and take your car keys. Also, consider how your furniture is arranged; can someone see the types of belongings you have if they are walking by outside? If you can’t rearrange your home layout to reduce the valuables on display, consider hanging blinds or curtains to reduce outside visibility into your home.
- Personal Habits
Many burglaries actually happen during the day or times when homeowners are likely to not be home. Burglars may even watch the routine of your whole street to see which homes are empty during the day, and which ones are also surrounded by other empty homes – so witnesses do not interrupt them or notify the police. Be sure to lock all doors and windows and set your home security alarm before you leave. Making this a part of your daily routine can deter a burglar watching for a weakness in home security. If you are going away for even just a few days follow these tips:
- Get a house sitter or notify a neighbor to keep an eye out for your property.
- Leave blinds in their regularly drawn position; if you suddenly lower all of them when you leave, it may signal to a watchful burglar that you won’t be home at your regular time.
- Remember to defer or have your mail held. A full mailbox is a sign that no one is home.
- Consider using light timers throughout your home while you are gone. They can be strategically programed to turn on during times you would normally be home; giving the appearance you never left.
- Don’t post on social media that you won’t be home. Wait to share your adventure until after you have returned.
- Remove house keys and when possible, use a car valet key when using a parking valet to reduce the risk of your key being copied or giving unnecessary access to areas in your car (like your locked glove box) to the valet.