One of the biggest questions when it comes to home security is “where do I start?” There are just so many options out there and so much different advice on what the best solution is. And depending on what you decide the cost can be a barrier that stops you ensuring that your home is as safe as it needs to be.
But never fear, we’ve compiled this useful guide to easy and simple security options that can be implemented immediately, so there will be nothing stopping you from making your home safer today.
Secure all doors
According to the FBI crime statistics, about a third of burglars gain entry through the front door, making this by far the most common entry point for thieves. Some burglars are so brazen that they will even knock to make sure nobody is home before attempting to gain entry.
Change your locks
Have you ever had your home painted, or fumigated, or had renovations done? Then you have probably let a stranger into your home. While the majority of service providers are trustworthy these types of situations potentially give burglary syndicates access to alarm codes and keys. That is why it is prudent to change your locks if you think your home might be at risk, or if you move into a new home.
Install door latches
Door latches, such as LockLatch, PetLatch or MiniLatch, are special devices made from tough C-304 stainless steel, which you fit onto your door frame and attach to the door with an adjustable metal arm. The door latch allows you to keep your door open while still being locked in place, which has a host of advantages such as letting fresh air in or letting pets out. The best part is LockLatch will install in minutes onto any type of door, making it a quintessential simple and easy home security option.
Video doorbells are becoming more and more popular, and it’s easy to understand why. They not only allow you to see who is at the door, which gives you the power when someone knocks, but versions that detect movement allow you to keep an eye on any packages being delivered to your door and to help deter potential package thieves.
Install a security gate
If you live in a particularly unsafe neighborhood you might consider installing a security gate. Although they are a slightly more expensive alternative to lockable door latches they serve a similar purpose in providing an extra layer of door security, while also allowing you to keep your doors open when you want to allow airflow in your home.
Secure your windows
The second most common way that burglars gain entry into homes is through windows. And while you may first think that this involves smashing the window pane, the truth is that windows are often left unlocked or have poor locks that can be easily forced open. Let’s take a look at some easy and simple ways to start improving your window security today.
Replace window locks or add locks
Window locks are an often-overlooked element of home security. It is important to take the time to check your window locks periodically to make sure they are still functioning as they should be. If your windows don’t have locks it is important that you install them. You don’t necessarily have to replace the window itself as there are a variety of solutions that will fit onto your existing window.
Install window security latches
One solution that allows you to add lock functionality to a window that lacks it, is a lockable window latch. Like with lockable door latches these are usually devices that allow you to keep your window open, but securely locked. Lockable window latches such as LockLatch or MiniLatch are perfect for windows with no existing locks. They allow you to secure your window and also leave it slightly ajar to encourage airflow and ventilation in the home without creating a security risk.
Reinforced window security films
Now that we’ve seen how we can prevent burglars from opening windows, what can we do about them breaking the glass? One solution is to apply a reinforced security film to the window. This transparent layer is stuck onto the glass with a high tack adhesive and is designed to not shatter when a window is broken, which prevents burglars from gaining quick access to the home.
Intruders will often enter through the garden as it provides cover as they approach the house and improving your garden security can be a simple and cost effective way to discourage these potential burglars before they even reach the home.
Trim the bushes
Probably the most cost-effective way to make your garden more secure is to invest in a hedge trimmer or pruning shears. Burglars will often use overgrown bushes to approach a property without being seen or use them as cover when staking out a potential score, and so maintaining your garden can be a great deterrent. Trees can also provide access to balconies or second floor windows, so it is also good practice to make sure these are trimmed away to prevent access.
Increase your lighting
Staying on the subject of visibility another way to stop potential thieves from lurking in your backyard is to ensure that it is adequately lit. A well-lit property presents a far less attractive prospect for robbers than one shrouded in darkness.
Solar lights provide a cost effective and energy efficient way to light up large sections of your yard. Although they are often not the most powerful lights they come in a wide variety of styles and are available at a range of prices. The best part is that they are a once off investment that will continue to light up your yard without running up a large electrical bill.
Motion activated lights
Motion activated lights not only save electricity by switching themselves off, but they also provide added security by potentially startling and scaring away intruders when they are activated, making the burglar think that someone is home.
Security cameras have become far more affordable in recent years with high tech options that transmit directly to your smartphone. And while their primary purpose is still to allow you to keep an eye on your property, they also serve as a deterrent if placed in highly visible areas, as no burglar wants to be caught on camera.
Secure your sliding/patio door
Patio doors are notorious for being security weak spots. Because these doors slide along a rail they can often be lifted up and moved or the glass can be broken providing easy access to the home. Because they often feature aluminum frames it can be hard to add additional security. Luckily certain door latches such as LockLatch can be easily fitted to these types of doors and make it almost impossible to lift them off the rails.
Checklist: Before you leave the house
All the security measures in the world won’t make any difference if you don’t utilize them correctly. Simple mistakes like not locking a door or arming an alarm can have big consequences if your home is targeted by a burglar.
Check windows and doors are locked
Always check your windows and doors are locked before leaving the house. This includes windows on the second floor and balcony doors. An unlocked window or door accounts for almost 50% of illegal entries into the home across the US.
It is also important to make sure burglars can’t gain entry through your garage. If you have an automatic garage door, make sure that you wait until the door is completely shut before driving off.
Set security alarm
Be sure to set your security alarm before leaving as this is also a good way to see if any doors or windows have been left open without having to inspect the whole house.
All security gate closed and locked
Finally, make sure all security gates are closed and securely locked to ensure total safety in your home.
Checklist: Home security for vacation
When you leave your home for a longer period such as a vacation simply locking up may not be enough. Burglars may notice that the family is away and this means they can gain entry and spend more time in a home to find valuables. If you go on holiday you should employ some of the measures below to ensure your home is safe.
House sitters are a great way to keep your home safe. While there are agencies that provide house sitting services, it is often better to get someone you know and trust to look after your home. Be sure to provide your house sitter with a security checklist so they have all the information they need on hand in the case of an emergency.
Ask a neighbor to check in
If you decide not to get a house sitter, it’s a good idea to ask a neighbor to check in on your property while you are away. Doing simple things like leaving a light on or collecting any mail that might be building up makes it look like someone is home and will make your home less of a target for thieves.
No hidden spare keys
While we may think our spare key hiding place is brilliant, burglars know them all. While it isn’t a good idea to ever keep a spare key hidden outside your home this is even more important if you are away for extended periods. Rather give your spare key to a neighbor or friend you can trust.
Contact your security company and inform them that you will be away
Telling your security company that you will be away means that they will be more likely to spot any unusual behavior and may respond quicker if an intruder gains entry to your home.