Now is the time to beef up security around your home, before you wish you had done so earlier. Thieves and burglars are still plying their trade. We hear every day of victims of home intrusion, burglary, and even violence. To help you avoid being one of those statistics, here are the 10 best home security practices you can implement right now.
To get started, do this first. After that we’ll count down to the best and most important security practice. Expect to be surprised at which practice is #1, not to mention how easy it is to do.
Walk around your house and property and pretend you are the burglar casing out your house.
Is the view of the front door blocked from the street? 34% of burglars enter through the front door, like you do.
- Is there tall vegetation blocking the view of any of the windows? To a burglar, these are very attractive ways to enter a house.
- Is there a sliding glass door facing the back yard or on the side of the house? Your burglar will look for these, even if he must climb a fence to do it. These are fantastically easy to breach.
- Are any of these points of entry in the dark at night? Burglars like to work cloaked in darkness.
Any of these conditions will make your home more attractive to a burglar than other houses which may offer more challenges to them.
- Get a dog.
Your big friendly Great Dane will not slow a burglar down even a little bit, if he doesn’t announce his presence. Any dog, even a tiny one that barks or howls when someone approaches a door or window will cause an intruder to stop and reconsider his plan to enter your house. Ex-burglars when interviewed by security experts often say that a barking dog will cause them to choose a different house.
- Remove or prune back vegetation that conceals exterior doors or windows.
Make these points of entry visible to the street and your neighbors. A would-be intruder doesn’t want someone to call the police before they can get inside.
Or better yet, you can pull them out and plant for security instead. A thick hedge with intertwining branches can be a barrier to windows. Nastier yet to your potential thief, would be some stunningly beautiful (and thorny) like Euphorbia milli. Thorny plants do not have to be unattractive. Consider planting these; Acacia spinesvens, Bougainvillea, Bromeliads, Cactus, Cycads, Grevillea acanthifolia, and Roses. There are a lot of possibilities. Ask your local nursery for suggestions.
- Install window locks or track dowels.
Any lock is better than no lock or just a latch. The burglar is going to see if a window opens. If it doesn’t, he will move to the next. A simple, yet very effective solution is to cut a wooden dowel to length (with the window shut) and drop it into the track.
- Install a protective film on all windows and glass doors to make them shatter-proof.
If your burglar decides that a window is their best way into your house and it is locked, it is easy to break it. You can buy a transparent film that you place directly on your glass. It strengthens the pane, making it shatter-proof.
- Conceal your valuables.
Don’t let a thief see your valuable possessions. The windows and sliding glass doors that are all around your house put your possessions on display. Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree or a computer on your desk could tempt a thief. Draw blinds or curtains, especially at night. A lit room puts everything sharply on display to someone standing outside in the dark.
- Install motion activated flood lights at all exterior doors and windows.
There are two equally important components to this security practice. The motion detector switches the light on before the burglar touches your house. The flood light casts a very bright and wide area of light. Both these things will jar and annoy them. This says to the world “Look over here! There is something going on!” Chances are very good that burglar will see these from far away when he is casing your house and decide to avoid it.
- Replace any hollow exterior doors with solid core doors.
Why is this item more important than the previous one? Because a burglar who has decided to burgle your house almost certainly will try your door first. If he can tell it is hollow core, he will do the simplest and quickest thing to it. He will kick it in. It only takes a minute and all the previous security practices are defeated.
- Install reinforced strike plates on all exterior doors.
If you have a solid core door, a burglar may still try to kick your door in. He knows most strike plates are secured just to the door jamb with very short screws. A swift kick to the door will still work. The door won’t be damaged, but the door jamb will splinter when the screws tear out. The door will swing open and let the burglar inside just as fast as if you had a hollow core door. Replace your original strike plate with a higher quality one (which may be called a strike box). Instead of short screws that came with your original strike plate, install 3-inch screws that will go all the way through the door jamb and into the wall stud.
- Install deadbolts on all exterior doors.
The door knob, which has a latch bolt lock, is no match for a burglar. It is short and spring-loaded. It is not kick-proof. It can be manipulated open. It has a weak strike plate. If that is the only lock he can see on that door, then that is the way he is coming in. Install a good quality deadbolt and do security practices 4 and 3 as well.
- Use your door and window locks every day.
Are you surprised that this is the most important item on this list? It is shocking how many burglars gain entry by just walking through an unlocked door or climbing through an unlocked or open window. It happens many times every day. Get in the habit of closing and locking all ground floor doors and windows.