Here's How You Can Improve Your Home's Security
Every homeowner wants the household to be a sanctuary, a place for everyone to relax in privacy. To enhance your security and guard your peace of mind, it’s essential to observe how all your locks are functioning, to keep an eye on your exterior doors, and to properly monitor the surrounding premises of your property. There are many relatively easy measures you can take to have the best security possible for your place of residence.
Have your family agree to always follow simple daily rules.
- Lock doors and windows every night before you turn in, and whenever you’re out.
- Answer the door only if you know the person. (It’s time to install a peephole if you don’t have one.)
- Always stow your valuables in uncommon places.
Be a good neighbor. Get acquainted with your neighbors, at least on each side of your house, as well as two or three neighbors across the street. Good neighbors watch out for each other. Communicate every so often. Establish trust. It’s not necessary to be friends; just be civil. A good neighbor will watch your home while you’re away. Some might pick up your mail, mow and water your lawn, or help in other ways to make it appear as if you’re home. Be sure to return the favor when given the opportunity.
DIY. If you don’t pay close attention to possible vulnerabilities in your security, your house will be more attractive to a thief. No one’s property is utterly impermeable, but there are many good ways to prevent criminal trespass. Let’s see what you could be overlooking.
Upgrade worn-out or weak locks. Any experienced locksmith will agree that deadbolts provide superior security. Get a grade-2 deadbolt lock, which penetrates the doorframe. Heavy-duty is always better. Digital or smart locks will add another layer of security. With some, you can synch your smart locks to your smart device, so you don’t have to use a key at all.
Reinforce your doors. Evaluate the quality of your exterior doors. A hollow door is susceptible, so replace it with a solid-core door made of wood or metal. Strengthen your doors’ locks by replacing the strike plate (that’s the stationary piece where the bolt enters), and mounting a solid metal plate on the doorjamb for the sliding bolt. Replace any short mounting screws with longer screws, which reach the door’s studs, thus fortifying the doorframe.
Don’t “hide” a key outside. Do not leave an extra key over the door, under the flower pot, or under your welcome mat. That’s just where an intruder will look. Do you think a keyholder inside a fake rock will be safer? Perhaps, except that a crook will probably already know what it looks like. It’s really better to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or friend instead.
Secure all windows and any glass doors. Any open window is attractive to a robber. First-floor windows are more at risk, but upper-floor windows are attractive, too, if a prowler can enter by ladder, stairway, balcony, tree, or fence. Therefore, use a blocking device, such as a wooden dowel, on each window to stop someone on the outside from sliding it open. Be sure you can easily remove these window-blocking devices from the inside, though, so people can get out in case of fire.
For ground-level sliding-glass doors, and for horizontally-sliding aluminum windows, anti-lift devices are required. Install screws half-way into the upper track of the movable glass panel, so it can’t be lifted out in the closed position. You can also stick a decal on windows and any glass door, next to the latch mechanisms, indicating that you’re part of a Neighborhood Watch program.
Logically store your keys and garage-door remote. It’s a bad idea to routinely put your keys and remotes near a window or door, visible to anyone outside. Instead, hide them in a drawer or on hooks inside a cupboard door.
Secure your air-conditioner. Use an air-conditioner bracket, a sliding window lock, or corner braces, so a burglar can’t enter through the unsecured opening.
Put your ladder away. Don’t leave a ladder outdoors, because someone with criminal intentions can pretend to be a contractor or handyman, and take the ladder to get inside through a balcony or window.
Protect your garage. A knowledgeable thief can get into your home through the garage without being seen. Therefore, whenever you’re not home, keep your garage door shut and locked.
Keep your yard in order. Regularly trim your shrubs, hedges, plants, and trees. If they’re not properly spaced, ungainly, or too tall, trespassers will have places to hide.
Keep your lights functioning. Install lights near each door, with motion detectors to discourage trespassers. Some lights also respond to fluctuations in daylight, temperature, or sound. Some you can connect to your smart device, so that you’ll be alerted about any undesirable activity and you can respond instantly, even if you’re gone.
Install timers. You can put timers on your porch lights. Make it look like people are home when nobody’s there ~ using timers on your lights, TVs, and radios. If you’re on vacation, you can even get a smart light timer, synced to your smart device, so you can control everything remotely with a mobile app.
Get an alarm system. If it’s within your budget, install an alarm system. Teach everyone in the family to use it correctly and daily. If you don’t arm your alarm system, it’s worthless. Always keep the batteries charged, so your home will remain secure even if a power outage happens. Consider:
- adding a fire alarm;
- adding a carbon monoxide monitor;
- keeping your system on a timing schedule;
- installing a moisture monitor for your basement to detect the first sign of flooding; and
- using a smart device for remote access to your system, so you can monitor and adjust it anytime.
Hire a professional. If you observe weaknesses in your home’s security, to find out how best to remedy each issue, it may be time to hire a reputable local locksmith company. If you’re in Evanston, Illinois, you may want to request a free consultation from a residential locksmith specialist on staff at Locksmith Pro Evanston.