As we embark on the summer season, home security is emphasized. The long days and warm weather call for later nights, weekend getaways, and vacations. Whether you stay home or not, up your home security with these helpful tips.
With several different points of weakness (ex. handle, lock, hinges, frame) an exterior door is a common target for burglars. Sliding doors and French doors present even more weaknesses.
- Invest in a sturdy deadbolt lock – the spring-latch lock on your door handle is easily compromised.
- Install door armor kits on exterior doors, which usually include 3″ screws to replace short screws that come with door hardware, hefty strike plates for handles and deadbolts, and metal framing to place around the hinge and handle/lock hardware. This helps to reinforce the weak points of your door and safeguard against intruders.
- Add auxiliary locks to sliding doors, such as loop locks, security bars ( also known as sliding door polls or Charlie bars), or vertical bolt locks.
- Add a security bar to French doors to prevent kick-ins. While they may not be visually appealing, they are effective.
- With French doors, and most doors in general, make sure all of your hinge pins are interior-facing to avoid giving burglars easy access without force.
- Glass doors should be enforced with security film. This prevents glass from being easily broken.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to increase window security, whether they are old or you are installing new windows.
- Choose reinforced (tempered or laminated) glass or acrylic (polycarbonate) windows. These are much harder to break than traditional glass windows and can help deter criminals from continuing after the first attempt at breaking in.
- Choose multiple panes of glass instead of one large pane. Multiple glass panes provide added strength and durability.
- Add after-market window locks to your built-in window locks. These provide an easy and inexpensive way to prevent windows from being forced open. Depending on the style of your window, you may need double hung window locks, sliding window locks or locks for casement windows (sometimes called crank windows).
- For additional protection, exterior windows bars may be added. Aside from protecting your windows, most of these window bars come in decorative designs to accent the style of your home.
- As previously mentioned, security film can be added to windows to decrease the likelihood of break-ins (thicker film provides the highest level of protection).
Unfortunately, an attached garage door can be easily compromised, and garage door security is often overlooked. What is especially troubling is that after gaining access, burglars can quickly shut the garage door behind them and take their time rummaging through your home without being seen.
- Refrain from leaving garage door openers in your vehicles. It may seem inconvenient, but it is worth the security.
- Secure your garage door emergency release to prevent easy intruder access. You may fasten it with a zip tie (which can be broken by yanking the release cord) or place a barrier between the top of the door and the release.
- A garage door sensor can alert you when your garage has opened. Newer garage door openers have this feature built-in as well as an auto-closing feature that will close your garage door after a long period of time.
- A deadbolt on the door between your garage and home will help to prevent further intrusion. You may want to also install a peephole viewer on this door to make it easier to inspect the garage without opening the door.
- Install a bright, motion sensing light in the garage to bring attention to an open garage door.
Make Your Home Look Occupied
Regardless if you are home or not, you want to make it look like your home is occupied. An unoccupied home is a prime target for burglars.
- Use strategically placed lights and lamps with timers. Lights turning on and off in different rooms will make it appear as if you are home.
- Leave a television or radio on at moderate volume. Noise will make criminals think you are home, and the light from the television mimics activity.
- Leave some curtains or blinds open. This is helpful if you are using light timers or a television to cast light. It can also be helpful should police or a neighbor need to take a look into your home.
Some of the best tactics are not thought of as prevention techniques.
- Get a dog. A barking dog may make enough noise to bring attention to an approaching burglar and deter them from proceeding.
- Invest in a home security system and signage. This may deter them from targeting your home, and if it does not, you know your home is protected and that police will be alerted in a timely fashion.
- Outdoor lighting is a great way to keep intruders away. Darkness allows intruders to sneak around your property unnoticed, but dusk-to-dawn porch lights and motion-activated lights around your perimeter help to increase visibility.
- Keep a car parked in the driveway. This makes it seem that someone is home.
- Maintain your landscape and keep bushes and shrubs near windows trimmed to minimize hiding spots. You may even consider planting thorny or spiked plants (ex. blackberry bushes, holly, juniper) to prevent burglars from getting too close.
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Protect Your Home
For most, summer is here and many already have vacations in the books. Keep your home safe and secure with these helpful home security tips.