Home Security Tips
How do you keep your home and family safe at all times?
The truth is, it's actually not that hard to break into most homes. The problem is that most homes have weak points, and seasoned thieves are pretty good at finding them. Some weak points are obvious such as an open patio door or a basement-floor window left open in the summer, but others you may not be aware of. There are plenty of ways that you can protect your home from being targeted for crime and here are a few tips.
In about half of burglaries, thieves enter through the front door, and about 80% of break-ins are committed through a door - be it front, patio, basement, sliding glass or garage. In some cases, doors are unlocked, but in most cases, victims have inadequate doors, frames and locks. Strong, well-built doors and doorways are one of the best defenses against break-ins. Today, many newer homes are built with inexpensive, hollow doors, in which wood veneer covers a light framework. Exterior doors should always be solid and at least 1-3/4 inches thick at every entrance, except when the door is sliding glass.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So all of your exterior doors, except your sliding glass doors, should be equipped with a sturdy, high quality, dead bolt lock. If you have glass within the door or glass surrounding the door, then you should also consider having a double-sided, keyed deadbolt lock, so that when engaged, it only allows you to enter from the outside with a key. Because the interior side of the lock is keyed as well, it means that if you’re not home and a thief breaks a window, he’ll be unable to unable to open a door by turning its interior thumbscrew. When you are home, you can insert a key that looks similar to a thumbscrew, so that you are able to lock and unlock the door easily. While these are a great security measure, keep in mind that you should always keep the thumbscrew key close to the door, so that if a fire breaks out, you’ll be able to unlock the door and exit the premises easily and safely.
Not surprisingly, most burglars who do not enter your home through a door do so through one of your windows. How do you protect something that's breakable by nature? Two ways: make the window or the opening impenetrable by either using wired windows, bars or checking the mechanisms on each and every window.
No burglar wants to be caught, therefore they’ll target the homes that they feel are the least risky. Depending upon your fence and yard, you may be deterring would-be burglars or inviting them into your home. Consider the protection of your fence, its height, and that of hedges or shrubbery.
Many people have heard real estate agents say, “The three most important things to look for when choosing your home are location, location, location!” This statement is also true when it comes to your susceptibility to crime. Prior to deciding on your new home, research the area and find out what the local crime rate is, as it varies widely by town, municipality and city. Other factors such as your house being located in a cul-de-sac, near parks and nature, or thoroughfares, are also important to take into consideration. If you find that you already fall into one of these risk categories, you should take extra precautions to target harden your home using some of the other protection methods listed in this guide.
For many people, a dog is all they need to protect their home, family, and possessions. Or so they think. While professionally trained dogs are one of the better deterrents against burglars, most dogs do not have this type of training. A good burglar knows that he can turn most dogs into friendly pets with a chunk of meat, so often an alarm system can be less expensive and more reliable.
More and more burglaries take place during daylight hours, but lights are still very important in your fight against crime. Indoor lights suggest that the home is lived in and occupied, while outdoor lights deprive a thief of privacy. Outside lighting should cover all your doorways and entrances: these are the most likely areas to be attacked, so they are also the most critical areas to protect. If possible, you should also bathe as much of the rest of your property in light as you can. If you live on a park or wooded area, this side of the home should be extremely well lit.
- WHO'S THERE?
With home invasions on the rise, it’s crucial to know who is at your door when you hear a knock. Is it the postman or is it a prospective thief? Don’t be afraid to ask. If the person is legitimate, they’ll will have no problem in telling you their purpose. If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable opening the door, then don’t!
While many burglaries are planned in advance, some are crimes of opportunity. Not surprisingly, the best way to safeguard against crimes of opportunity is simply to take away the opportunity, such as the presence of ladders, tools, open doors or hidden spare keys.
- TOO MUCH INFORMATION!
Are you giving out details that help a thief? If a burglar calls, and hears on your voicemail that you’ll be on vacation in the sunny Caribbean for two weeks, those will be the sweetest words he could hear. Don’t reveal too much on social media either – you never know who’s watching!
- GET INVOLVED
Statistics show that neighbourhoods with Block Watch or Neighbourhood Watch programs experience a decrease in crime. Members of the community who actually care enough to do something about the increase in crime do make a difference, so do some research in your area and be proactive.
- ALARM SYSTEMS
Alarm systems are the best deterrent against burglaries. For example, according to a recent study of 6,343 residential burglaries in the city of Calgary, only 74 of them occurred in homes with an alarm system. And of 15,505 residential break-ins in Toronto, only 2% occurred in homes with alarm systems. Further, in cases where burglaries were committed in homes with alarm systems, the average haul was considerably less than when no system was in place.
For more detailed information on each of these points, check out Paladin's Home Security Tips READ MORE
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