During these times of uncertainty, people are looking for ways to make sure their home and family are safe. Any steps you can take to reduce blind spots and make your residence less appealing to a burglar can make all the difference.
In this article we’ll discuss 8 steps you can take to help severely reduce a chance your house will be targeted by an intruder.
We just moved into a new house six weeks ago and our first order of business has been to identify any potential entry points for a home invasion.
We backup to a natural preserve and a few blind spots on the side of our house and we begin to evaluate our weak points.
After spending time reviewing information from home security sites, studying interviews with convicted felons and various law enforcement articles, we’ve tried to compile all the main takeaway points.
Table of Contents
Keep Doors and Windows Locked
After researching countless articles, this is a number one tip that continuously comes up.
You’d be surprised how many people simply forget to take this simple step. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. When you remove the opportunity, the criminal will likely pass on to an easier and less difficult target.
Also after you move into a new house update the locks.
It’s important that you should have a nighttime routine checking windows and doors to ensure they are locked.
But also have a daytime routine. What are the windows or doors you use in the morning, through the day or when you come home for the evening.
Also be sure to get in the habit of looking out your door before opening it to ensure nothing is off or unusual before opening up your home,
Another important lesson is that some criminals work in groups. So one may ring your doorbell while another tries to gain access to the side or back of your property while you’re distracted.
As a rule, don’t open your door into an unknown situation and keep doors and windows locked when not in use.
Countless people return home with an armful of groceries and never really backtrack to lock their doors.
This might be fine in a rural setting 100 years ago. It’s unsafe in an urban environment where criminals may be searching for unlocked doors.
Add a Home Security System
Home security systems add layer of protection to your home that gives you ears and eyes when you are home, away or sleep.
In addition, having a sign up front or visible cameras make burglars think twice and provides you with the ability to see what’s happening both outside and inside your house at all times.
One of my favorite aspects of the new modern home security systems on the market is the ability to monitor everything on your phone through an app and control your house no matter where you are in the world.
The advancement in home security has grown leaps and bounds in recent years and you’d be surprised what options you’ll find to deter a would-be home invader.
Survey your premise inside and out.
How far from your property can you see out?
How far into your property can others see in?
Which door and which windows are weakest?
If you’re an elevated apartment or you have a second floor or higher window, this is good, but can someone access a window by climbing up from the ground or down from the roof?
If someone comes to your door, can you clearly see them without opening the door? And if you open the door can you prevent their entry with door securing mechanisms?
Identify and address any weaknesses you find through better lighting, thorny or prickly landscaping, furniture layout or some other means.
Realize that you’re most vulnerable when you’re asleep.
Make sure you have a night time check off list in your head.
At our house, after letting the animals out, we cycle through the house to make sure the sliders are closed, the garage is closed, all windows are closed with blinds drawn, exterior lights are on and the front door is locked.
Develop your own routine to make sure your premises are secure before going to bed-
Give strong consideration to having some form of personal protection next your bed should an intruder attempt to force their way in.
In moments like this, seconds matter.
In addition don’t leave your garage door opener visible in your car parked, if your car is parked in front your house.
If you need it for convenience, make sure that it’s concealed well within your vehicle.
The easiest access the criminal will ever have is breaking into your car, easily opening your garage door and walking, running to your home.
I had this happen to a neighbor a few years back and they had their garage cleaned out in the middle of the night. Fortunately the intruders chose not to go further into their house.
Reinforce Doors, Windows
Doors and windows can be reinforced in a number of ways.
There are numerous window locks and door frame systems on the market that can greatly reduce the chances of forcible entry.
See the best front door security devices that we highly recommend.
A standard window lock that fits most window types can be purchased for under $5 at the local hardware store.
If you only open your windows 6 inches to get a nice breeze, consider putting the lock in place to allow only that range of movement. Likely most criminals are thicker than six inches.
The three weakest points on a door are the strike plate, door hinges and lock hardware. This door kit reinforces all these weak points.
Consider purchasing a deadbolt and installing it on doors, if you don’t already have one.
A door lock bar or a deadbolt can also be purchased at an affordable price to add more resistance to force entry.
Remember any lock has a potential to be compromised, but the stronger your points of entry are, the longer it takes someone to break them down.
A would be criminal kicking your front door for 30 minutes to get through your security measures is likely to be seen and confronted or give up completely out of frustration.
Finally put a lock on your bedroom door. This provides you with a secondary area to retreat should your home be breached. These locks can slow the progress of any home invader and seconds of frustration can result in your survival.
If you can lock it at night safely you may want to consider doing so, but realize this will also impede your ability to hear clearly what is happening in outer rooms.
Keep The Line of Sight Advantage
To keep yourself as safe from would-be criminals as possible, you want to make certain your lines of sight on the exterior of your property are not obstructed and you can see clearly for a significant distance from your property.
Bushes, trees, property walls and parked cars can all provide opportunities for someone to hide in case your property.
Work to clear these areas where and when possible. In some instances you won’t be able to move or alter the outer landscape.
In these instances, make sure that you note these weak points in your security and perhaps try to compensate through exterior lighting.
The interior of your home also has lines of sight.
If a criminal is in your home for the first time, will they know whats around the large plan or hiding in the corner.
Just as you did in assessment of the outset of your property, look for weaknesses in the interior design of your premises.
The well-placed piece of furniture may be a barrier to someone else, but a nicely placed spot of relaxation for the inhabited.
Become situationally aware of what you might do if your premises were suddenly intruded upon.
Motion Sensing Lights
They can deter would-be criminals from further approaching your property. Outside light can also reduce a person’s ability to see into the premises, which I’ll explain a little later.
When someone approaches your property at night, the light coming on automatically makes them take precautions against being seen.
Even that pause to make sure they are concealing themselves can make the appeal of your house as a target drop significantly compared to a house with no lights at all.
Motion sensing lights on the exterior of your house or near key entry points on the interior of your house can alert you to someone gaining access to your safe premises.
On the interior, make sure the light is bright enough that you’re aware, but dim enough to give you an advantage on the criminal who is unfamiliar with the layout of your home.
Lights and Automation
Keep blinds closed at night.
When the windows are open to let light in, be aware that you can see out of them better than would-be criminals can see into your premises.
A well-placed interior plant could block the clear view of someone outside, but still allow you to conceal yourself as you look out.
Note that the side of the window with the most light is the most visible side.
In broad daylight, the depth that a person can see into your house when outside is diminished. But at night, the light inside your house allows for a deeper view of your interior.
An exterior light outside your window blinds out a person’s deeper look into your property.
A light next to a window is a clear sign someone is home and can also blind out someone’s view deeper into your home’s interior.
Automated lights turning on and off on a reasonable schedule during the day and night provide the illusion that there’s someone active on the premises.
These are especially good if you’re away from your home.
If you have a relatively common routine where you arrive home from work in the evening, set your lights to come on 30 minutes before you come home.
Light automation can be accomplished through the old-style plug in socket adapters often used for Christmas tree lights or through simple Wi-Fi plugins that can be controlled from anywhere in the world.
Even connecting one of these simple plug-in adapters to a TV or an older radio can provide the illusion that you are home during the day.
Safes and Book Safes
A home safe lock box or a book safe can reduce the visibility of high theft items.
A safe in and of itself adds a layer of time to crack it and the difficulty for would be criminal.
If you have a safe, make sure it is well concealed and don’t let it be known. Concealment is a key to keeping your valuables truly safe.
A lock box can typically be open pretty easily, but it can be hidden more easily than heavy safe.
For easy access to the contents, consider a book safe. If you already have a number of books on a bookshelf or recipes in the kitchen, pick one to repurpose as a book safe. They are relatively easy to make and it keeps your items, like money, jewelry, even firearms, accessible to you.
It’s not likely that a nervous and probably not so bright criminal would be interested in your copy of War and Peace or 50 healthy vegetarian recipes.