One question that I get asked all the time is how do you, the homeowner, go about making your home more secure? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to assume that home security stops after the installation of the alarm system. Security cameras and surveillance equipment are not just a business security measure; they can, and should, be used when securing your home as well. You’ve worked hard to have your home, so let’s take nine steps to make it more secure.
Step 1: Set up Some Common Sense
The first thing you want to do is discuss home safety with every member of your family, especially if you have children. Make certain everyone keeps doors and windows locked at all times. One of the number one ways burglars get into homes is through open doors and windows. Make sure you keep your garage door closed, and garage door clickers inside the house when you aren’t using them. Do not keep spare keys in obvious places, such as fake rocks; these are sure to welcome a robbery. Make certain nobody in your household ever shares critical information such as security alarm codes or spare key hiding places with anybody.
Step 2: Be Your Own Burglar
The next thing you’ll want to do is to be the burglar yourself. Go outside and “case your joint.” I recommend that you do this both in the daytime and after dark. Make note of any areas where trespassers can easily hide, such as overgrown shrubbery or storage sheds. Also, notate any dark spots that will enable someone to slip easily into the shadows. Do you have easy access to your ground floor windows? How can a burglar get into and out of your home quickly, easily, and undetected? You need to imagine breaking into your own home yourself and then setting up some security so you aren’t successful.
Step 3: Perform Some Simple
After you’ve cased your joint, take the list of problematic items and begin working on making your home more secure. Start with your yard, and cut back any vegetation that offers criminals hiding places and easy access to your home. Remove anything blocking your doors and windows on all sides of your home, and make certain that you have any outside structures, such as sheds or detached garages, locked securely at all times and free of debris where somebody could hide. Clean up and keep things simple and neat; this deters people from entering your yard because they are at too high of a risk to be seen from the street.
Step 4: Install Lights
Once you’ve got your yard cleaned up and tidy, and all obvious entrances to your house where everyone can see them, it’s time to put your beautiful home in the spotlight. When you were out devising your plan to break into your home, you noted the dark areas on your property at night. Get some outdoor lighting to illuminate all areas of your property so burglars get one message only: You can’t break into my house because you’ll be seen. If you’re worried about lighting up your home, and thereby, your neighborhood like Las Vegas, use motion sensor lights that will turn on only when somebody triggers them too.
Step 5: Install Security Cameras
I think one of the best things any homeowner can do is let go of the thought that you don’t need security cameras at your personal property. Every home is a potential target of crime, no matter where you live. Adding security cameras around the perimeter of your property will not only add an extra layer of protection, but will also help the police apprehend the suspect should you be the unfortunate victim of a break in. The equipment is affordable and easily installed, and there are several types of cameras to choose from.
Step 6: Wire the Cameras to an In-
House Monitoring System
Your camera feed will need to go somewhere, so make certain you wire into a monitoring system inside your home. You have the option of hard-wiring or wireless networking your security camera feeds. Monitoring your home’s property from the inside adds an extra layer of security to your home security plan. Should you or a family member hear something outside, you can easily see who or what is on your property from the safety of your locked home. You don’t want to go outside to check for burglars. This could result in greater harm to you and your family.
Step 7: Start a Neighborhood Watch
Even if you live in the safest neighborhood in the United States, you can still band together with your neighbors and encourage everyone to keep an eye out for everyone else. You’re not the only person who’s interested in making your home more secure, so share what you’ve learned with your neighbors and encourage them to beef up their home security as well. Burglars also case neighborhoods; they don’t just randomly pick houses. If your community has an active neighborhood watch program that is well supported by your local police, chances are criminals won’t even think about driving onto your street.
Step 8: Never Leave
Okay, you can’t never ever leave your house, but you can certainly make it look like you’re there all the time. In the winter when it darkens early, invest in timers for indoor lights and appliances to give your home the “somebody’s home and watching TV” look. It’s also wise to collect your newspaper and mail daily, once delivered if possible, and never let stuff like that pile up. Otherwise, criminals will assume no one is home. If you are going on vacation, enlist a trusted neighbor to collect your papers and mail, or alert the services to put a stop on delivery until you return. It’s also wise to hire somebody trustworthy to live at your home while you’re gone. If you have pets, you will most likely need a pet sitter anyway.
Step 9: When in Doubt, Call the
If you see anything suspicious at all going on outside your home, call the authorities, do not try to resolve any matters on your own. There is never a good reason for somebody to be lurking outside your home or any of your neighbor’s houses. If somebody knocks at your door, do not answer it if you feel threatened in any way. Don’t talk to strangers and don’t open your door to strangers. Keep in mind the simple rules that you teach your children, and if somebody looks out of place, make sure you enlist the police, who are more qualified than you, to handle the situation properly.
These are just nine ways you can ensure that you are making your home more secure. Home security is never a trivial thing. Your home is your fortress, and you need to protect it with all means necessary. You might not be able to build fortress walls around your home, but you can secure it with a reliable security system, including surveillance equipment designed to meet your specific needs. Increase your peace of mind by adding additional layers of security to your home.