Home security is often a matter of perception and risk analysis. If you feel unsafe, the danger is real. And people sometimes do things that make them feel safer, even if they’re not really at any more risk for crime than anybody else. Still, some actions can help protect your family from imagined and real dangers. Here are ten ways to do just that:
People tend to forget about this one when they’re inside—all the lights should be on in your home when you’re away. If you can see into your home from outside through a window or something like that, leave at least some of the lights on (the ones in the room(s) with exterior visibility). If it’s too bright for you when you get home after dark, turn off half the lights before leaving. This helps make it look like somebody’s still there and encourages would-be criminals to go elsewhere.
3. Defend Your Home While You’re Away
Well, not “defend” exactly. Let’s say it makes a difference not to have so much stuff available for a burglar to steal. Take your valuables with you if you can, and keep the garage door down while you’re gone so that they can’t get at your tools or other goodies. If that’s not practical, make sure everything is either locked up, out of sight (stashed away in closets or drawers), or protected from easy access by actors who aren’t supposed to be there.
4. Dogs Are Good!
Get one if you don’t already have a dog before considering home security. They’re excellent security systems, and they don’t require any ongoing fees. (Also, unless your dog is exceptionally stubborn, you should be able to train them to bark or announce their presence when there’s a stranger nearby.) And if you do have a dog, but it does nothing but lie around and sleep all day, either get up and play with it yourself for ten minutes every so often or send it off somewhere where they can give it better care than you provide.
5. Raid the Closet
Many valuable objects can serve as deterrents in your home; here are just a few examples: baseball bats, golf clubs, suitcase weights, plastic bags filled with water (or sand), large kitchen knives, baseballs or softballs, golf balls, etc. You can also make your own deterrents with everyday objects if you want to be creative about it, but don’t put anything on the list that you couldn’t grab in a hurry for immediate use.
6. Don’t Make It Look Like Nobody’s Home
There are two rules here: Don’t leave your house looking abandoned either by neglecting to clean up or by moving most of your stuff out of sight even when somebody is at home (this includes pets). Don’t leave any signs that say “nobody’s home” because burglars often look for those. Keep your lawn neat and keep garbage cans on the curb only on days. Store them elsewhere if possible.
7. Keep It Locked
If you live in a neighbourhood, don’t leave your garage door open when the garage itself is empty. That serves as an open invitation to thieves and would-be criminals. If your front or back door(s) lock automatically when they close, check if they can get unlocked from the outside without a key (this should be rare).
Also, consider window locks and deadbolts so nobody can break in while you’re away: even though most home invasions happen through entrances other than the windows, an experienced criminal can easily exploit any weaknesses that exist. And if anything on your door chain breaks, replace it immediately! These things aren’t expensive, and they add an extra layer of security to your home.
8. Get a Security System or an Alarm
Don’t assume the alarm on your new cell phone is good enough for this—it probably isn’t. Burglars know how to get around most security systems and alarms without tripping them, so buying one is usually worthwhile. And some of them can even detect when somebody’s breaking in through windows or doors—very helpful if you aren’t home! If you don’t want the expense of installing something like that, at least put some alarm decal on your doors. They’re not perfect, but most criminals would rather skip houses with decals than risk getting caught.
9. Install an automated gate
Automated gates can stop many potential criminals from entering the premises without permission. And even if they let you in, it’s not hard to press a button and close them behind you. They’re perfect for common areas like alleyways between houses: by making these areas more difficult (if not impossible) to access, you’ll keep thieves and other criminals away.
10. Get a security camera
If all else fails, at least get a security camera so you can see who’s coming before they set foot on your property! Most of these cameras automatically record anything that happens, so there should be no doubt as to what went down. Hopefully, before the authorities arrive too late to do anything about it. Keep an eye out for anyone suspicious hanging around the neighbourhood, too.
These are just some of the many things you can do to improve your home’s security. Follow these simple tips and keep yourself out of harm’s way.