Protect Your Life
Protect Your Life - A Complete Guide to Home Security
Protecting one’s home is important. Most families have insurance on their home, and many states require homeowner’s insurance. A home generally houses an individual or family’s more valuable possessions. For this reason securing one’s home is critical to protecting those possessions. There are many ways to make your home secure, from the most basic and obvious, to high tech devices that can make your house nearly a fortress against intrusion.
Choosing the right ways to secure your home secures not just your largest asset, but also secures memories, and possessions, and possibly your health or life. Securing your home may help you save on homeowners insurance. Either way, living in a secure home means living in a more relaxing and less stressful home.
- Ways to Secure Your Home – The City of Yonkers' tips for securing your home.
- Personal Security – Ways to stay safe at home, as well as when going to and from home.
- Safe City Fact Sheet – Facts about crime prevention and home security.
- Burglary –Tips for preventing local crime.
- Secure Your Home – A guide to securing your home from the NHC.
- Home Safety & Security – Tips, and resources, regarding home safety.
General Security Tips
The first place to start with securing your home is the basics. The location in which you live may help deter would be burglars, but there are some basic tips that come into play in almost any home. Locking your door is reasonably obvious. Keeping windows locked, and curtains closed at night also means would be thieves don’t learn your habits, or know where you are, and it is not easy for them to get in.
Another smart tip is to make sure that wherever you enter your home is well lit, and it’s probably a good idea to look around a little bit before entering. Many times burglars will wait until a door is open and try to overpower someone entering or leaving. Also make sure kids and teenagers know these rules; a lot of times kids and teens might feel a lot more relaxed toward such precautions, and burglars are aware of this also.
Further make sure you know who you’re opening the door for. Would be thieves may try to trick you into opening a door, or may pretend to be a sales person, or a door to door preacher so they can get a look around. Similarly thieves might try to pose as meter readers, or other utility workers so they can learn your home’s layout, and perhaps some method of entry you’ve left open. Make sure anyone you do open the door for shows credentials, ask them their supervisors’ name, and make sure their vehicle looks professional, and if you didn’t order pizza late at night, find out if someone in your home did before opening the door.
- Crime Prevention Tips – Several ways to secure your home.
- Home Security Checklist – A guide to home security from the Miami-Dade Police Force.
- Landscape & Yard Security – Home security tips from the Tempe Crime Prevention Unit.
- Operation Ready – Crime prevention materials for families.
- Basic Home Security – Tips from the Boston City Crime Watch.
- Basic Crime Prevention – A collection of tips to keep you safe from crime.
Securing Your Home
The above tips are a great start but won’t really deter someone who has set their mind on trying to break into your home. It is very important to have the right equipment to prevent people from breaking and entering into your home. A lot of burglaries happen not because there was no effort to secure the home, but rather because those things designed to prevent intruders failed when they were needed. This can be either the result of using the wrong equipment, neglecting maintenance of it, or not consistently using it.
Basement Windows should always be latched. Depending on one’s neighborhood it may be wise to install bars, or a decorative grill around it. While small it is generally possible for thieves to gain access through an open basement window. Owners of older homes should especially take notice of this; many older homes have basements where wood has been placed in a spot where an old window used to be; wood barely stops the draft from coming and certainly will not stop a determined thief. Once inside a thief may only have an unlocked basement door, or a less than sturdy interior door between himself and your belongings.
- Tips for Securing Your Home – Home security tips from the Onslow County Sheriffs.
- Home Security Quiz – Are you an easy target for criminals?
- Home Security Handbook – A guide to home security from the California Attorney General’s Crime Prevention Unit.
All doors that lead from one room to another should have locks. If an intruder does gain access to your home these can ensure you have a safe place from which to call police. These are also useful when hosting guests whom you may not know completely, such as a work acquaintance, and their spouse or children. It is important that you know where guests are in your home, and locks on doors between rooms helps you to limit access to areas where you store valuables. All locks should be well maintained and in working order. A lock which is loose, or which can be forced open by hand is unsafe.
- Home Security Audit Guide – A guide to auditing your home's safety from the Ministry of Community Safety of Ottawa.
- Tips to Keep Your Home Safe – This resource includes an excellent home security information booklet.
- 10 Steps to a Safer Home – This brochure includes an easy guide to securing door locks.
Doors used to secure rooms, and entrances should be strong enough to prevent them from being forced open, or easily broken. They should also snuggly fit the doorframe. If there is a wide gap a thief may be able to reach under the door, or use a screwdriver or credit card to slide the lock open. Making sure the door fits snugly is an absolute must on doors that provide entry into the home.
- Home Security Tips – This overview has a great introduction to making sure doors are secure.
- Securing Your Home – This resource has a lot of information on securing door locks.
- Assault Prevention – The 'Do you have an open door policy' part of this article provides great information on door security.
The garage should not be an entrance to the home. If there is an entryway from the garage it should be every bit as secure as the main entrance doors. Further garage doors should be high quality. Large garage doors are often made of aluminum or other lightweight metals, and their locks are not very strong, and are relatively easy to force open. Still there are stronger, more advanced garage doors, and garages usually house one’s vehicle which is not a small asset either; it is best not to skimp on your garage door.
- Securing Garage Doors – Security information about garage doors from the City of Fairfax Police.
- Garages Doors & Home Security – Basic crime prevention tips, including choosing safe garage doors.
- Security Advice for Homes and Outbuildings – This guide includes a lot of information on securing outbuildings & garages.
Lights are a security concern in two ways. Firstly lights should be on at all entrances, or a system to automatically turn them on when movement is detected should be in place. A second concern with lights is interior lighting. While it’s a waste of energy to leave lights on in unused rooms, it can also show a thief exactly where you are. This is why it is critical to shut curtains at night, as well as keep entrances well lit.
- Light Pollution – How inefficient and incorrect lighting not only disturbs neighbors but is a security risk.
- Security Lighting Information – A security guide from the city of College Station.
- Security Lighting – A guide to ways to use lighting to secure your home.
There are a number of quality safes available at affordable prices. For anyone who keeps valuable coins, large sums of cash, or precious jewelry they do not often use a safe is a really great option, and sound investment. They can also be used to house important documents, and there are many fire proof safes that could protect these items in the event of fire.
- How Combination Lock Safes Work – This overview shows why fireproof safes are a perfect security solution.
- Managing Household Records – This brochure explains reasons to secure documents in a fireproof safe.
- Keeping Valuable Documents Safe – A great list of the home security advantages of safes.
Many homeowners like to keep shrubs and bushes anyway but they can be useful for security as well. These can make it more difficult to look through low level windows to see what home occupants are doing, and where they are in the home. Additionally bushes, like roses, which have thorns, can force thieves to avoid entering through or over bushes and shrubs. At the same time tree branches near the home should never touch the home, and should always be trimmed far enough from the home that a thief could not use them to gain access to a window, or roof.
- Reasons to Prune – This advisory includes information on using shrubs for home security.
- Landscape Security – These tips show yow to secure your home with strategic landscaping.
- Questions on Evergreen – This FAQ includes information on Shrubs, Bushes, and Home Security.
Sliding Glass Doors
Most sliding glass doors present two security concerns. Firstly they often feature latches, not proper locks. Secondly glass is usually easy to break. The latter can be avoided by purchasing sliding glass doors made of other glass-like substances that do not shatter easily. The lock issue can be addressed in two ways. One is using security bars that prevent the door from sliding by blocking the track, these swing away when the door is in use, but secure it at other times. Another way is by installing a lock that goes through the doorframe and into the wall, rather than relying on the latch.
- Home Security Survey – This resource explains information about using Charlie Bars to secure sliding doors.
- Burglary Tips – These tips explain how to protect sliding glass doors
- Home Security Advice – A guide to securing windows, sliding doors, and exterior glass.
Windows suffer from much the same problems as sliding glass doors do. Home windows should have strong locks, and similarly bars that prevent the window from sliding upward are far more secure than the often flimsy locks on windows. Either way these window locks should always be locked when the window does not need to be open. Again modern, stronger glass alternatives can prevent windows from easily shattering.
- Security Bars – A guide to protecting and securing exterior glass.
- Escape Planning – A resource explaining ways to make sure security bars do not prevent escape in the event of fire.
Installing a Home Security System
The ultimate way to secure your home is through a Home Security System. These range tremendously in price, and may or may not require a professional to install. Some may only protect one, or a couple of doors. Many advanced systems come with a service that immediately alerts the authorities if an alarm is tripped and a correct code is not entered. Most advanced systems can immediately detect if a window is opened, tampered with, or shattered, as well as trip an alarm when entrances are opened without a proper code being entered. Many home security systems also work in tandem with fire alarms, and fire prevention systems. These can alert owners, or security agencies if a fire is suspected.
- Wireless Home Security – An informational resource on how wireless security systems can make implementing a security system easier.
- Home Security Deductions – This resource explains how installing a Home Security System may save you on taxes.
- Home Security System – An overview of digital home security systems.
- Home Alarm Systems – Recommendations regarding security alarms for Berkeley Parents Network.
- Knock Knock, Who’s There – What to Consider when Selecting a Home Security System, or Service
- Alarm Systems – A guide to using a Home Fire Alarm & Security System.
- Buying a Security Alarm System – This guide is targeted at consumers looking to purchase a home security system.
Written by Joanna Cliff