You are leaving for work or school … Is your home really safe? You wonder. Protecting your home and family should be high on your list of priorities because you can make a difference.
The most common threat to our home is burglary. Burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds. Many of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or school.
Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. Statistically the months of July and August have the most burglaries while February has the fewest crimes. Most often burglaries are committed by young males under 25 looking for items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash such as cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, CDs and other small electronic devices
Here are a few suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.
Doors and Locks
It is called target hardening … in short, make your home more difficult to enter. Burglars will pass by your home if it is too difficult, or needs more skills or tools then they have available. They usually try to enter through the easiest place … which is usually the garage door, quickly followed by the back door. Why? This is where they find the best cover.
- Good deadbolt locks have a beveled casing to inhibit the use of channel-lock pliers used to shear off lock cylinder pins.
- Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points
- Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism
- Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame. When you have a wooden door jamb the easiest way to force entry is to kick it open. The weakest point is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place. Remember that the average door strike plate is secured only by the soft-wood doorjamb molding. These lightweight moldings are often tacked on to the door frame and can be torn away with a firm kick.
Sliding-Glass Patio Doors
Sliding glass doors, secured by latches not locks, and are often defective. This can be combated by placing a long piece of wood or metal into the track of the door to prevent its easy movement. But this does not make them totally secure. Some doors can be lifted and slid off their tracks. You can purchase locks and other safety devices at the hardware store that can sure-up your sliding door security.
Unfortunately, windows are the last thing people think to secure, and they are often the things left unlocked and opened the most. Make sure your windows, especially those most accessible, are not only locked, but also have a secondary locking mechanism. Like sliding glass doors, sticks or dowels that prevent upward movement work well. BUT, always make them easily removable in case of fire
Look Out For Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors on each side of your home, and even those across the street. Talk often. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, ask a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your home while you are away. If they see suspicious activity they can contact the police. Have them pick up your mail, newspapers, handbills, and inspect the outside or inside of your home periodically to see that all is well. Possibly they can park in your driveway from time to time to make it seem that you are home, rather than away on vacation.
Do not hide your house key outside the door. Experienced thieves know to look in your bushes, under doormats, rocks, on ledges, and inside of planters.
A darkened home at night, especially in the winter when it gets dark early, is an invitation to burglars. Turn on lights so people know, or think they know, you are home. If you are away for extended period of time use light timers to turn on and off your lights at irregular intervals so that someone watching you home does not see routine and suspect a timer, rather than someone living in your home.
Understand that exterior lighting is also very important. Good lighting is to allow you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your path. Make it bright enough for you to see 100-feet and it helps if you can identify colors. Good lighting is definitely a deterrent to criminals because they don’t want to be seen or identified. And remember not to leave your outside lights on at all times. This is a giveaway that you are gone for an extended period of time. Security lights with infra-red motion sensors are relatively inexpensive and can easily replace an exterior porch light or side door light on single family homes.
Security Systems / Alarms
Security alarm systems definitely have a place in a home security plan and are effective. Burglars fear being caught and alarms systems raise the risk of being detected, so burglars shy away from homes that are protected by alarms systems, or homes they believe are protected by alarm systems. Make sure you display signs on your home declaring that you have an alarm system. They maybe unsightly to some, but they serve as a great deterrent to would be thieves.
Keep a Safe At Home
You can purchase a quality home safe today at an affordable cost. Home safes can keep the smash and grab burglar, nosey kids, dishonest babysitter or housekeeper from gaining access to important documents and personal property.
- Use the safe everyday so it becomes routine
You Should Identify Your Personal Property
Photograph your valuables in their locations around your home and make a list of the make, model, and serial numbers. This is very important for proof when filing insurance claims. Keep this list in a safety deposit box or with a relative for safe keeping. Keep receipts of the larger items in case you need to prove the value of the items for insurance purposes. Photocopy important documents and the contents of your wallet. You will be thankful that you took these steps in case your home is ever destroyed by fire or flood, is ransacked, or if your wallet is lost or stolen.