SECURITY

10 Tips For Better Home Security

10-tips-for-better-home-security

Home Security Tips

Make your home less of a target for burglars. Burglars are opportunists. They look for the easiest prey. Consider any of the following home security tips:

No Large Shrubs At Windows

Avoid tall or large shrubs around your windows and doors. Trim them back! Don’t make it easy for a burglar or intruder to conceal themselves while breaking in. Home privacy fencing also provides shielding between the burglar and the street, giving them more freedom of movement without being seen by others. If you have fencing like this, then you especially need outdoor motion lights within the perimeter.

Outdoor Security Lighting

Surround your home with the best outdoor motion lighting you can afford. Motion lights are better than ‘always on’ lighting due to the sudden alert of lights coming on and the attention it attracts.

Watch For Watchers

Burglars often case a neighborhood before they rob it. They will observe your home schedule, your coming and going routines, and also your neighbors schedule. Be aware of this, and look for strangers in the neighborhood who may be gathering data. Situational Awareness.

Visualize From A Burglar’s Perspective

Look through the ‘burglar’s eyes’. See what they would see. They will see whatever you have outside in plain sight – visual clues as to the potential valuables inside. Anything that looks expensive outside will indicate that you probably have expensive stuff inside. A new car in the driveway, a swimming pool in the backyard, expensive outdoor furniture, you get the idea…

Check Your Doors

Avoid doors which have glass near or within reach of the doorknob. This is a home security “no-no” which creates an easy “smash and twist” to get in your home. This is one of the first things a burglar will notice when casing the neighborhood. They are looking for easy access. Use a door security bar, which I wrote about (here).

Install A Good Deadbolt Lock

Most all home burglars come in through the front door! So get yourself a quality deadbolt lock in addition to your doorknob lock. If you can’t install it yourself, it’s worth paying to have it done!

Lock & Close Windows

Unlocked or open windows, even when you are away for a short time are easy access for a burglar. Even in the backyard, a burglar will look for an easy way in – which could simply be through an unlocked or partially open window. Get in the habit to lock ALL doors, even the garage – when you’re home or away. It’s not like it was many decades ago when this wasn’t so much a potential issue…

Window Air Conditioner Security

Window air conditioners in any of the first floor windows – be sure to secure them into the window sash or frame. How to secure an air conditioner in a window.

Seeing Through The Windows

Window coverings. If you have nice-expensive things in your home, don’t make it easy for a burglar to look through a window and see inside. It’s especially easy to see into a home at night when the lights are on inside. Be aware of this and use window blinds, shades, etc..

Pretend You’re Home

Appear like you’re home. Use lights on timers, or at least leave a few turned on. Consider leaving on a radio. If you are on vacation or away from home at night, there’s a clever fake TV deterrent which will create an effective illusion that someone is home.

Whether or not your home appears as a target for a burglar will largely depend upon what the burglar sees from the outside.

They are looking for opportunities of easy entry.

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25 Comments

  1. Home theft is usually done by someone you know. Sorry to say that but true. They know your schedule, cars and even can call to see what you are doing.

    Burglars are looking for a few things, they are: windows, doors, vents, sky lights, garages. They look for easy access to your home. The quicker the better.

    Windows left open or unlocked are prime targets. Even an “inch” open can be seen by a trained eye.

    Doors are no good if not locked. Garages have a door to them besides the main door for your car. This door usually is the one they go through. It leads to the house and gives them access to your home.

    Vents like the ones for your attic can be access to your home. Yeah they might need a ladder but if you got one out back they will just use yours.

    Skylights are the easiest way to enter a home. They are usually just “tacked down and bulled” to your roof. They care nothing about knocking it out to gain access to your home.

    In so saying there has been a few comments about putting bushes in front of windows. This is not a good idea. It stops your neighbors view but can give hidden access to your home. I realize that a wicked rose bush with thorns an inch long, but what are a few scratches to gain access you your home? Cut the bush back to your window ledge. It will serve the same purpose and if your neighbors see someone messing with your window he can call the police.

    Being realistic…if someone wants in your home there really isn’t much you can do about it. Your best defense against intruders is a LOUD alarm. Most intruders will run at the sound of an alarm because they know they have little time to make a get away unseen before someone looks to see what is going on.

    Dogs are good for inside but they can be poisoned, drugged or killed to gain access to your home if outside. Small dogs are not a problem to intruders, you want a big dog for inside your home when you are not there. Most people can tell a bark from a small dog to a big dog. The only problem with dogs is if they know the person he will usually let the person in.

    Don’t leave mail in the box or papers on the driveway. Have your neighbors collect them if you go on vacation or out of town. Put a timer on some light in the house. This way it looks like you are going from the bedroom to dining room to bath etc. This will look like more than one person is home. A tell tail sign that nobody is home are lights.

    Remember this about someone wanting in your home. They don’t have to pay damages so they don’t care about destroying something to gain access. But as I said before it is usually done by someone you know and knows you.

    1. Don’t be an idiot and post to Facebook when you are going shopping or post status updates while you’re shopping (other than a criminal, who cares about you being in Saks?) Never ceases to amaze me the things people post to Facebook, as if anybody cares about 99% of your day.

      1. Sharing too much information online and you are the first target for burglar to be their victim online. They are smarter than we think. Their technique is to observe your activity and trying to manipulate your security online. Following the 10 Tips For Better Home Security is very beneficial for people who are very active on sharing information on social media.

  2. How many folks have a second/extra vehicle, seldom used, which is left sitting in the drive?….

    We do have one, seldom used, and have always had a habit of moving it to a new/different position fairly regular. Our thinking being, if it is left sitting like a paperweight, burglars will easily realize it is unused. If it is moved frequently, they will never be quite sure that someone has not “just come home”…

    Another thing, we live in an area where most everyone has five/six foot fences around their property, including us. We have been in the habit of leaving the side gate (visible from road) open. And usually a few garden tools /spade/rake laying about.

    Two reasons for this,

    a) the open side gate makes it seem that someone is always out and about

    b) the open side gate allows free access to the wondering deer (who have been kind enough NOT to eat our meager garden)…It is not unusual for us to have deer spend the day / night sleeping hidden in our trees. (we live in a city, but close to a major park. and our trees are just a few at the back, not a forest)

    So, I am figuring the deer are used to our family/our voices/our movements…(we “talk” to them often).

    So, I figure if a burglar skulks in to the back yard, they are most likely to startle the deer, and get a nasty surprise, as in run over, etc..

    From time to time we also have wild pheasants, same idea, and I gotta tell you, when those critters are surprised the raise a RACKET…there have been a number of times about three in morning when the racket has woke us, and I have suspected an intruder of some kind, human or predator type..

    My critter alarm reminds me of the posting about using the Guinea Fowl to alarm.

    Also, we have been known to leave various junky type things out front/side, especially if we are gone for a few days.

    1. “also, we have been known to leave various junky type things out front/side, especially if we are gone for a few days.”

      Like rusty traps?

    2. When much younger I worked on a farm. The owner had a pair of nesting geese that when a newcomer came around they would make one heck of a racket. He also had several Ginny Fowl and they also make a racket. In the city they wouldn’t be good but in a rural setting great early warning devices. Oh the geese were attack geese I never turned my back on them after the first time.

  3. americuh…grin, never considered “rusty traps”…however, maybe will give that a pass…Myself am such a serious klutz, I expect I would be the one stepping in them..

    However, pile of rusty hangers…mmmmm

  4. Hmmm I seem to remember Jeff Foxworthy saying just leave a car on blocks in the front yard,don’t mow your lawn and when they are casing the home their first thought is, no way, I know a gun lives at that house.

  5. I have to disagree with Wild Bill on his comment. What data do you base this on Bill? I have ten years experience working residential burglaries and have only seen a few times that the crime was committed by someone that knew the victim(s).

    On most of these occasions the crime was done by kids/teens who broke in to steal toys, video games/systems and alcoholic beverages. One of our break-in’s was done by the next door neighbor kid who was paid to feed the family dog while the victims were away on vacation. He broke a window out to have a cover story but broke it from the inside which was a dead give away that it was an inside job. No pun intended.

    All of the things mentioned in the above article are good suggestions. Well written article.

    1. It is true that people burglarize homes of people they know. Back in 1982 my 18-year-old neighbor burglarized my home. He was caught and charged with 3 burglaries — my house, his OTHER next-door-neighbor, and his grandmother. He eventually plea bargained and spent a couple of years in prison.

      Then, a year later, two of my daughter’s classmates (age 13) broke into our house. My daughter and I came home and surprised them. We chased them down the street on foot until we realized that they were pushing a baby in a baby carriage, who was being bounced around over the bumpy streets as they ran. We called police and the girl who was babysitting lost her job, but the police refused to prosecute because they both claimed that they had my daughter’s permission to burglarize our house. It turns out that when I testified against the first burglar at the preliminary hearing, we laughed that almost the only question the prosecutor asked me was if I had given the neighbor permission to burglarize my house. I guess my daughter told that story at school.

  6. Sometimes, a window in a door can be important. I have a small house with very few windows. In order to see into my back yard without opening the door, I need a window in the back door. From that window I can see all my animals, my barn, garage, coop and pasture. The only way a burglar can see that there is a window in the door is by looking through my steel security door.

  7. Cracks me up when I hear about deadbolts that extend 2-3″ into the door jamb. Even ameteur burglars quickly learn to identify these things and find alternate entry points. If they break into your car and steal your GPS and garage door remote, they have a key to your house and usually a handy set of driving directions. They get a bonus if they steal your purse with your keys inside. Now you are stuck away from home, giving them time to rob you. Most GPS recievers have a “home” set point (Garmin has a “use current location” button). Set it at a location a few miles from your house. You know how to get home from the pizza joint, but they don’t. Scrub your car of anything with a home address.

    1. Deadbolts that extend 2-3″ into the door jamb are a hell of a lot better than a typcial deadbolt. Plus, replace the screws which hold the plates with longer screws that extend into the studs of the door frame.

      1. Had a break in several years ago. They hit the door hard enough to break the door frame and tear the 3″ screws out of the studs. Put on a steel security door. Wish I had added more structure between the door frame and the studs.

    2. I would laugh my haunches off if someone tried to get to my house using my ( or any other) GPS. They would get stuck and/or lost, a few have tried in spite off warnings.

  8. The main thing I am reading here is to do SOMETHING, no matter how minor. The hope is that the burglar will go for an easier target somewhere else.

    One tip I read was posted by a former burglar. He said that the cute little family “stick figures” people put on the back of their car will tell him a lot about the owner. He looks for the ones showing no father figure.

    Another thing I try to do is make my coming and going as unpredictable as possible.

    Having said that, sometimes it doesn’t matter. Home invasions are on the rise.

  9. When I lived in Germany all of the front door handles were levers not knobs. It was common for the mailman to reach through the mail slot and be able to push down on the inside lever to open the door. They would do this to place a package inside the door rather then leaving it on the step outside.

    1. I hate it when my mail lady tosses packages over my fence but SHE would hate it if she ever opened my door. ;)

  10. My wife and I live in a pretty nice neighborhood in Southern California. Two types of people who concern me the most are:

    1) Workers (utility, gardeners, plumbers, etc) – These people have so much access to our homes, it’s ridiculous. Obviously we’d never let a plumber in to fix something when we’re not there, but what’s to stop him/her from eyeballing our stuff and possible ways to get in. They’ll have a basic understanding of the layout of our house and what we have. Yikes! In reality, they’re probably nice, honest, hard-working people; but you can never be too sure.

    When we schedule someone to come over to fix something and they ask for a time, I’ll usually say that we have someone else coming over earlier in the day to fix something else, so after 3pm (or whatever) works for us. Otherwise it sounds like you’re not going to be home before that.

    2) We have these college kids who go door to door with a clipboard. They’re not there to sell anything. They start off by saying that they’re in college and they get credit for going door to door, working on their public speaking skills (or something like that). In the end, they ask you to sign a bogus piece of paper and they leave. What people don’t realize is that they’re looking into your house to see if you have anything valuable. They’re also checking to see if you have dogs and how tough you look. If you’re some grandma living alone, they’ll wait for you to leave, then they’ll break in and take that TV and laptop they saw during their little schpeel at the door.

    I never fully open my door for them to look in and I usually say, “One second, we have pit bulls.” Then I shut the door and yell, “Honey! Get the dogs in the bedroom!” Then I crack the door open to talk to them. They usually don’t talk long because I’m a waste of time for them :) I’ve encountered about 5 of these kids in the past year.

  11. My house can’t be seen from the road and is 3/10 of a mile from the road. At the bottom of my drive just off the road is a badly painted sign: “By now you knows you ain’t lost, yous trupessin.” Scary enough? Plus I have video cameras and a gate well before anyone gets to the house.

  12. Even Federal agents who manage and monitor the access programs to vaults will tell you that any scheme is defeatable given enough time. Everything is measured is how long the delay is, not whether it is impenetrable. The police response time for an active shooter averages 4 minutes. I imagine that response for a larceny is longer so they don’t spook the crook. As a (not very good) high school wrestler, the 3 minute match was an eternity – how much more so when waiting for backup! Please plan each layer of your defensive perimeter to notify you and delay them; build your escape to move away from danger and towards safety that builds in ramifications for the bad guy.

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