Home Safety Guide: How to Keep Yourself Safe from Intruders
Photo by Bernard Hermant
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are about 3.7 million household burglaries each year. Additionally, a burglary occurs about every 13 seconds in the US. We’re not sharing these statistics to scare you. Instead, we’re sharing these statistics to help you be proactive about your home’s security. And luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your home from intruders.
What do you need to do?
Check out this guide to discover the top home safety tips that will keep you safe from intruders.
1. Change Your Locks
If you’ve just moved into a new home, this security tip is especially important to follow.
Even if you purchased your home from extremely reputable buyers, you should still change the locks when you move in, just to be safe. Plus, there’s no telling how many spare key copies are floating around from the previous owners.
Even if you’ve lived in your home for a while, it’s still a good idea to change your locks every once in a while. Just like everything else in your home, locks begin to wear down over time. Eventually, they’ll reach a point where they’re ineffective and become a security liability. Changing your locks will ensure that they’re strong and able to defend your home against burglars.
Of course, you should also change your locks if you’ve recently had a home break-in. Even if the burglar didn’t break in through your doors, it’s still a good idea to update the locks just in case.
2. Install a Deadbolt
In addition to changing out your locks, it’s also a good idea to install deadbolts on your doors.
With a deadbolt, you’re providing an extra layer of defense against burglars. Even with an updated system, burglars can still break standard locks using crowbars or knives. However, deadbolts are nearly impossible to break through.
There are several types of deadbolt locks you have to choose from, including:
- Single Cylinder Deadbolts: These are the simplest type of deadbolt locks that are activated with a key from one side of the door
- Double Cylinder Deadbolts: Similar to single deadbolts, these can be activated by keys from both sides of the door
- Keyless Cylinder Deadbolts: These are opened using a password or a fingerprint scan
You can talk to your locksmith about which type of deadbolt is right for your home.
3. Get a Security Audit
Before you spend money on a fancy new security system, it’s a good idea to have a professional do a security audit on your home.
During a security audit, every possible point of entry will be looked at on your home to ensure that your property is secure. Typically, these audits take less than an hour to perform, and some companies even offer them for free.
After the audit has been performed, the company will recommend ways in which you can improve the security of your home.
4. Secure Your Garage Door
Securing your garage door is another very important way to improve the security of your home. A thief can break into your home through your garage door in a matter of seconds if it isn’t properly secured. Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent garage door break-ins, including:
- Installing motion-activated lights near your garage windows
- Planting thorny shrubs under ground-floor garage windows to deter burglars
- Keeping your garage door closed at all hours of the day
- Hiding valuable items out of sight from the garage door window
- Securing your home entry door with a deadbolt and lock
All of these tips will help keep burglars away from your garage.
5. Install Motion-Sensing Lights
In addition to installing motion-sensing lights near your garage windows, we also recommend installing them all around the exterior of your home.
These lights will put a spotlight on anyone who is scoping out your property. Oftentimes, this light is enough to prevent would-be burglars from breaking into your home.
You may also want to install these lights inside your home. If a burglar does find a way into your home, these lights will make it more difficult for them to move around undetected.
6. Install Security Cameras
A security camera is another excellent device for protecting your home against burglars. There are many different kinds of security cameras on the market, and which one you choose will depend on your budget and security needs.
However, no matter what type of camera you choose, we recommend opting for a system that comes with a mobile app. This way, you’ll be able to see footage in real-time. This means that if you catch someone breaking into your home while you’re away, you’ll be able to alert the police immediately.
Even if you don’t catch a burglar in the act, the footage on your phone will help in the police investigation. Security cameras come with a lot of different features, but these are the ones that are the absolute musts:
- Night vision
- Motion detection
- Wifi capability
- Local or cloud storage
- Two-way talk
- Weatherproof casing
These features will allow you to get the most out of your cameras. Oftentimes though, the presence of a security camera is enough to deter a burglar.
7. Reinforce Your Windows, Doors, and Hardware
At the beginning of the article, we talked about the importance of reinforcing your locks to keep burglars out of your home. In addition to reinforcing your locks, you should also reinforce your windows, doors, and hardware.
Here are some things you can do:
If you have exterior doors that are thin, broken, or hollow-core, consider replacing them with a sturdier model. You can also strengthen your doors by adding a security bar or door barricade.
For sliding doors, a security bar can be particularly useful, as can an auxiliary foot lock.
Installing locks is one of the best things you can do to protect your windows. There are several different types of window locks you can install, including:
- Pin Locks: These are best for windows on the ground floor
- Keyed Locks: As the name suggests, you’ll need a key to open and close them
- Sash Locks: This allows you to open a window and hold it shut in place
- Hinged Wedged Locks: These are best for double-hung windows
In addition to installing window locks, you can also install window sensors. With window sensors, an alarm will chime when your window is opened.
You may also want to consider installing a glass that is difficult to break, such as tempered glass or plexiglass. Plexiglass is ten times as strong as regular glass.
It’s also a good idea to tint your windows. With tinted windows, you can still see out of your home, but people from the outside can’t look in. This way, burglars won’t be able to learn your floor layout or see the valuables inside your home.
For hardware, you want to make sure that the strike plate is installed properly with screws that are at least 3/4 inch in length. This will ensure that the bolt can’t be easily removed from the door jamb.
8. Set Up a Home Security System
Setting up a home security system is another great way to protect your home from intruders. A lot of people think that home security systems and burglar alarms are the same thing. However, this is not the case.
A burglar alarm is a traditional alarm that has sensors for the windows and doors. When someone enters your home through these points, you or law enforcement will be alerted (depending on how you have it set).
While this is certainly beneficial, a home security system takes things one step further. Home security systems also warn you against environmental dangers, like carbon monoxide, smoke, and flooding. These systems are surprisingly affordable, and they can even operate during power outages.
9. Eliminate Hiding Spots
While trees and shrubs certainly add curb appeal to your home, they can also be a magnet for burglars, as they serve as great hiding places.
Trim and prune the trees and plants that are close to your home that a burglar could use for cover. Also, be selective about the flowers and bushes you plant in your yard. Ideally, you want to opt for ones that are on the smaller side.
Also, remember to lock your sheds, gates, and other outdoor buildings.
Are You Ready to Step Up Your Home Safety?
Now that you’ve read this home safety guide, it’s time to put these tips into action. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, home burglaries happen all the time, so don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you’re looking to hire a locksmith to update your lock system or conduct a security audit, contact us today by filling out this form.