So, you’ve done it, you’ve bought a home. Firstly, congratulations, you are now part of the 65.8% of Americans who own a home. While it might have taken a lot to get here, your journey is only just beginning and we at LockLatch wish you many happy years in your new space. Many aspects of home ownership, only become apparent once you have completed the purchase process. For now, you may be discovering new tax implications, insurance needs and the general cost of maintenance, but one of the most pressing considerations for first-time homeowners is home security. In this article we take a look at what new homeowners need to know about security, and what they can do to make sure their property is secure.
Before you buy: Home security features to be aware of
So for those who have already bought a property, this section might come a little bit too late, but if you are still in the process of finding the perfect home, there are a number of considerations you should take into account when it comes to home security.
In 1944 Harold Samuel stated “There are three things that matter in property – location, location, location.” This phrase has almost become a cliche in the real estate industry, but with good reason. The location of your property has a bearing on almost every aspect of home ownership, and home security is no different. This isn’t just about purchasing property in the safest or most expensive markets, instead it is about understanding how the location of your property impacts on its present and future value. Often the best investments are in areas that are improving instead of buying in the most expensive areas. It is important that you do due diligence on researching the area you are looking to buy in, so you can best understand what this means for your home security.
Real estate agents or sellers are often reluctant to share crime statistics (particularly if they are bad). However, there are a number of resources you can turn to, to get a better sense of crime in your area. One of our favourites comes courtesy of security company ADT – their interactive crime statistics portal allows you to search by neighborhood to get a sense of the crime in the area you are looking at. Another alternative for finding statistics in your area is neighborhoodscout.com, which works in a similar way, although you will need a paid subscription to get access to all the stats.
Visible security patrols
Another area worth investigating is whether the neighborhood has visible security patrols. You don’t even need to necessarily be signed up to a security company, but having vehicles or security officers patrolling an area, makes it a far less attractive proposition for opportunistic criminals.
Well lit streets
A 2019 study by Crime Lab found that adequate lighting reduced the incidence of index crimes (a subset of felony crimes that includes murder, robber and certain property crimes) by as much as 36%. This study goes a long way to show the importance of well-lit streets for the safety of a neighborhood.
Active neighborhood watch
Just like security patrols an active neighborhood watch program can be a great resource for crime prevention and generally making neighborhoods safer. If you are struggling to find out if your area has an active neighborhood watch, you can use the National Neighborhood Watch’s Find a Neighborhood Watch Programto locate one in your neighborhood.
While vandalism may not seem like the biggest security consideration it can be a warning sign of urban decay and the inability of local authorities to maintain public facilities. Not only should it be a warning sign, but a well-known criminological theory called the broken windows theory proposes that crimes such as vandalism encourage other forms of violent crime.
First-time homeowners security checklist
Once you’ve done your homework on the area and neighborhood, you should perform a home security audit on the property itself, while this process could necessitate an entire article on its own, you can use the excellent home security checklist from Safewise to help you in this process.
Check for easy access points
Nearly one third of burglars enter through the front door, that’s why it is essential to make sure you check all access points to ensure that there aren’t weak spots that provide easy access to your home.
Check garage doors
Following on from the point above, 9% of burglars enter through the garage door. This is mostly because homeowners neglect to lock their garage door, which presents an open invitation to opportunistic thieves.
Get to know your neighbors
Getting to know your neighbors is one home security tip that is universal to every home and neighborhood. Your neighbors not only know the area and any risks to be found there, but having someone who can act as an extra set of eyes and notify you of any strange activity can greatly reduce your risk of burglary.
Home security technology
If you decide that your home needs a security upgrade, then fortunately for you, there are a wide variety of options open to new homeowners. What you choose, will largely depend on your personal needs and budget, so continue reading to find the solution that’s right for you.
Window locks such as LockLatch or MiniLatch are a great way to add extra window security to your home. Studies show that windows are the second most popular entry point for burglars after the front door. LockLatch is designed to fit onto any style of window, regardless of type or material. The adjustable C-304 stainless steel arm allows you to keep your windows slightly open, but securely locked to prevent burglars from getting in.
As we mentioned in the preceding paragraph, front doors are the single most common entry point for burglars, so it is not surprising that there are many types of locks for doors ranging from deadbolts to security chains. However, this becomes complicated if you prefer to leave your door open for ventilation. Luckily, LockLatch and PetLatch also make great door locks with the same quick and easy installation process regardless of whether they are used on a door or a window.
Electric fencing on border walls
Electric fences are another great way to stop burglars or home invaders from entering your home. While these can be expensive to install and require ongoing maintenance they are a great countermeasure against opportunistic thieves.
Motion sensor lighting
While it is important that your property is well-lit overall, motion centre lighting comes with the added bonus of possibly scaring thieves as they approach the home.
While many people may have indoor beams installed, outdoor beams alert you to intruders before they attempt to access the house itself. Whether they are linked to cameras or an alarm system they provide an important layer of security.
Both indoor and outdoor beams aren’t much use if they aren’t connected to an alarm system. Not only will the system itself alert you if there is an unwanted presence, but the signage you get from your alarm company also acts as a deterrent.
Home security loopholes from a burglar’s POV
One tip that is often given to those looking to improve their home security is to think like a burglar. Placing yourself in a burglar’s point of view can help you spot weak spots and loopholes that burglars like to exploit. Burglars will often look for the absence of alarm systems; thick garden bushes; poorly lit or isolated homes; easy access points; and how busy or quiet the neighborhood is when finding a target home. Make sure your home doesn’t tick any of these boxes.
Before investing in added home security
As you can see from this article there are a multitude of factors that will influence which security solution to pick for your home. That is why proper preparation and research is required before committing to a home security plan.
Some home security solutions should only be installed by professionals, but for those that fall into the category of DIY solutions. You need to make sure that you have the equipment needed to perform these installations. When you choose a security solution, be sure to read the fineprint to ensure that you have the required equipment.
Budget will be one of the biggest determining factors in which solution you choose. It is important to look at all the options and substitute as necessary to ensure that you are completely covered. For example, if security gates are too expensive a door lock provides a more affordable option.
The size of your home or property may also determine what security solution is right for you. This will depend on your individual property, but as an example if you don’t have a yard, then an outdoor beam may not be necessary. Or if you live in an apartment then you need to consider the safety of your balcony.
Existing security infrastructure can also help your decision making process. If there is already an alarm system then activating or updating it is cheaper than installing it from scratch. If you have a security gate installed, you may not need a deadbolt. Once again, understanding your unique security needs and your home are key.
Increase your home security with LockLatch today.
LockLatch, MiniLatch and PetLatch are some of the most versatile security solutions for new homeowners. They focus on improving security at the most crucial entry points into your home, the doors and windows, and the best part is they can be installed quickly and easily with just a little DIY. Start making your new home more secure with LockLatch.