Protecting Your Home Against Intruders
Secure Your Home
Though most of us would rather not think about it, crime is an unfortunate a fact of life that affects millions of people every year, and the fact of the matter is that break-ins, burglaries, and home invasions are increasing in frequency due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the current state of the economy. There are, however, some very effective steps that homeowners can take to protect themselves against intruders, and making regular security checks of your property and house should be as much a part of your routine as checking your heating and air conditioning systems every year.
Install A Home Alarm System
A home alarm system is one of the best ways of discouraging criminals, and there are a number of very effective, basic DIY systems on the market that can be easily installed in just a few hours. In areas that have a higher than average crime rate, a professionally installed system tied directly to a security company might be the way to go.
Prune Branches and Trees
The immediate area surrounding the house is the best place to start checking for potential security issues, as that is where the burglars themselves will be starting; the idea is to think as they do and second-guess them at every step. Prune the lower branches of any trees close to the house that could be used to provide easy access to the windows on the upper floors, and make sure there are no bushes or fences that criminals could use for cover near the doors or first floor windows. Securely lock away all tools and ladders that may be lying around the yard, and suggest to your neighbors that they do likewise.
Install Motion Detection Lights
Make sure that the yard, porches, and doorways are all well lit at night, including the garage entrance; motion detection lights, particularly near back doors and windows and very dark areas of the yard, are an excellent deterrent to criminals. Your house number should also be easily discernible from the street at night so that in the event of an emergency the police can easily find it. The number should be made from reflective materials and should ideally be over six inches in height. It should also be posted at the entrance to the driveway or on the mailbox if the house stands back from the street.
Keep All Doors and Windows Locked
All doors that lead to the outside of the house should be constructed of solid core wood or metal. Hollow core doors are of no use as exterior doors because they can easily be broken through, and using locks on them will be a waste of time and effort. The clearance between the frame and the door should be no greater than one eighth of an inch; this will have the added benefit of increasing energy efficiency. If the gap is too large and replacing the door is prohibitively expensive, a metal strip can be fixed to the edge. Don’t use external doors with decorative glass panels or you will be a target for every burglar in the neighborhood. All doors and windows should be kept locked when they are not open, even in the daytime.
Don’t Post Vacation Dates on Social Networking Sites
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family is not to make it easy for criminals to know when you are the most vulnerable. Do not post vacation plans or the times that you will be out of the house on social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Criminals routinely troll these sites looking for victims.