Your home is probably your most valuable asset. More than that, it’s where your family should feel comfortable — and safe. Taking steps to enhance your home’s security can prevent theft, personal risk and damage, and may facilitate home insurance discounts, reduced neighborhood crime and improved sales appeal. These 10 home security tips can help you deter burglaries — giving you peace of mind whether you’re at home or away.
1: Install a security system.
You can choose from many types of home security systems. On the lower end are simple, do-it-yourself versions that may be composed of just a doorbell camera and mobile app. On the high end are complex, professionally installed and monitored systems connected through the internet.
In between you’ll find multiple variations, many of which will include some combination of these components: security cameras, motion sensors, entry sensors, glass-break sensors, sirens, code-enabled keypads, and yard signs or window stickers that show your home is protected. Security systems may be hardwired into your home’s electrical system or connected through your Wi-Fi network. Some “smart” systems give you live, real-time views of your home.
2: Secure exterior doors.
Make sure doors and door frames are strong and in good repair, with hinges on the inside (or use special security hinges). Use three-inch or longer screws on all door components. Avoid glass-paneled entry doors and ensure no one can reach through a mail slot to access your door locks. To further enhance security, add deadbolts and strike plates, or install password-protected smart locks.
3: Secure windows.
Prevent easy window entry with moldings that have built-in stops, and use security bars or “Charley” bars — wood or metal pieces that fit into the rails of windows and sliding glass doors. Keep your windows locked when you’re not home and consider upgrading to key-operated lever locks. Improve impact-resistance with glass-block windows or a layer of security film. Be sure to extend protections to your basement windows.
4: Enhance exterior lighting.
Burglars love the dark, making bright lighting a smart and simple security step. Besides a standard porch light at the front door, consider motion-activated lights on the garage, back door and outdoor buildings. Solar-powered lights can be an inexpensive and decorative way to brighten pathways and densely landscaped areas. Timers and smart lighting let you keep your home strategically lit even when you’re away.
5: Safeguard the garage.
Make sure your home security system includes the garage. Always lock the garage door, bring your automatic opener inside if your vehicle stays outside and keep any keypad codes secret. Or upgrade to a smart garage door, which lets you operate the door through a mobile app and get notifications when the door opens or closes.
6: Assess your landscaping.
Keep shrubbery, hedges and trees trimmed so they don’t provide inviting hiding places for burglars. Pay particular attention to landscaping around doors and windows, and take extra security precautions as needed, such as when branches could assist a window entry. It's also smart to lock up your yard care equipment. Some items — like ladders and hammers — can prove helpful to a burglar intent on breaking in, and unsecured tools are ripe for theft.
7: Avoid the appearance of an empty home.
An obviously empty home is like an invitation to a burglar. When you’re away, take steps to make your home look lived in. Ideally, use a house sitter when you’re gone for extended periods. Set up timers to turn on interior and exterior lights, and play the television or radio at times when you might normally be home.
8: Plan for deliveries.
Part of giving your home a lived-in look is not letting mail or packages pile up. If you’ll be away for more than a day or two, put a stop order on your mail or have someone collect it along with other deliveries. Alternatively, have items delivered to an office, a service like Amazon Lockers, invest in a locked delivery box or use smart locks that let you remotely open a door for a trusted delivery person.
9: Know your neighbors.
Connect with neighbors to watch for suspicious activity and let each other know when you’ll be away so you can increase scrutiny. Consider joining or creating a neighborhood watch group to spread the responsibility — and the protective force.
10: Practice online safety.
What does online activity have to do with in-home security? Potentially quite a bit. For instance, if you have smart security devices, create strong internet passwords to prevent hacking. You can also hide your home network so others can’t easily find it or consider a virtual private network (VPN). If you’re on social media, avoid broadcasting when you’ll be away. Save those vacation posts until you’re home again.
Reinforce Your Security Plans
You can begin your home security updates by talking to your local police department to see if they offer free evaluations of your home’s defenses. This can help you create a plan and establish priorities so you can take the next steps on your way to a secure home and peace of mind.
Remember that you have options when it comes to financing your home security upgrades, from credit cards for smaller purchases to tapping home equity for larger upgrades or using a personal loan. You can find tips here for choosing the best lending option for your needs. Or connect with us to learn more.
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