Basic Home Security Tips

home security cameraIt’s a good thing if you feel safe in your neighborhood. It shows that you trust your neighbors and that you have faith in the safety of your family. However, many of us grow so comfortable that we overlook simple security measures that will only improve the safety of your property and your family.

Each year in the U.S. there are millions of property crimes carried out. Burglary accounts for a large amount of these crimes. People often say that if a burglar wants to gain entry to your home they’ll find a way and determine not to take security measures seriously. If you’re of the “it couldn’t happen to me” mentality, read no further. But if you want to learn some basic tools and practices that will keep you and your family safer, read on.

Be the burglar

Not literally. But pretend to be. Go through the exterior of your house and think like a burglar.

Check your windows.

Especially the low-hanging ones. Are all of your locks secured? Do you make it a point to lock them nightly?

 

Test your locks. 

Not all locks are created equal. Doorknob locks are often easily picked or forced open. Deadbolts are harder. However, none of these things matter if the integrity of your door is compromised. French doors, for example, are particularly easy to force open. If you’re worried about your locks, consult a locksmith that can help you choose better options.

Look inside your home from the sidewalk.

Are there valuables within view from the street? Do you have a tendency to leave your garage door open, exposing expensive items like lawnmowers, grills, or even motorcycles?

Burglars don’t just target homes.

Don’t end your search with the house. Many items are stolen from sheds, backyards, and even off of porches, which happened to me as a child when a bicycle was taken from our porch in the night.

Tighten up security

The number of small steps we can take to improve security and mitigate risk of burglary is boundless. Here are some security tips that should be on every checklist for home safety:

  • Use a security mailbox and don’t leave mail with personal information exposed in front of your home
  • Install a fireproof safe in your home. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Keep your important documents in the safe, and better yet, keep them backed up in a secure file on the cloud like Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Use motion light detectors. When calibrated correctly they won’t go off for every car or cat that happens by and they’re a great theft deterrent.
  • Tell your neighbors if you’re going out of town, and have someone take in your mail/newspapers for you. Keep a kitchen light on and a car parked in the driveway if possible.
  • Don’t leave spare keys under the rug or anywhere obvious. Also, keep tabs on all of the keys to your home. Know who has a copy and check up on the spare keys on occasion.

Changing Your Locks.

If you are a new homeowner and haven’t changed your locks yet, then you should strongly consider doing so as soon as possible.  You  have no way of knowing who holds keys to your new home.  Thankfully, there are really cheap ways to go about accomplishing this.  Hiring a locksmith to come into your home and change the locks can be expensive, but is an option if you are pressed for time.  However, you can take your locks to a local locksmith shop and have them changed for a fraction of the price.

If you have different keys for different doors, you can use this as an opportunity to make all of your locks match.  Additionally, you can choose to purchase knobs and deadbolts that suit your decorative flair a little more.  Sets can be ordered online, or through your local hardware store.  Styles like egg-shaped bronze, handle pulls, oil-rubbed bronze, and riverwind doorknobs can add a touch of personality to what can ordinarily be a home fixture easily looked past.

After refitting your home with new locks, be sure to pay attention to the placement of your new keys.  Wait until you get to know your neighbors a little better before you leave a spare key with them.  Until you become a part of the neighborhood, keep a spare key handy, but hidden.  Hideaway rocks, potted plants, and magnets can all be employed as a good hiding place, provided they aren’t too conspicuous-looking.