A new home can be unfamiliar, especially in terms of security. When choosing a house and neighborhood, evaluate the safety of the home's structure and surrounding area.
Inspect the Yard
Inspect the house’s yard and the surrounding yards. Unkempt properties are a more likely target for intruders because they imply a lack of habitation or care.
Trees that are close to the home can provide access to a higher floor entry. Overgrown bushes and landscaping give intruders more hiding places.
Certain locations are more susceptible to floods. Find past records of flooding in your area if the house is near large bodies of water. Particularly dry areas of high temperature are more likely to spread and start fires.
Inspect all possible points of entry for intruders. Make sure windows and doors all close and lock properly. Check the doors for sturdiness. Make sure that they are made of solid wood or metal and that they are not worn from age or use. Many intruders enter households by kicking in the front door. In addition, make sure there are no windows near the door that intruders could break to unlock the door from the inside.
Deadbolt locks can inhibit kicked in doors better than other locks, and new automated locks can let you ensure your door is locked just by pressing a button on your phone.
The house number should be clearly seen from a distance. Police and other officials may use this to find you and help more quickly in an emergency.
Keep the garage door closed so that intruders cannot use it as a means of entry. Many intruders enter households through doors in the garage because they are less likely to be locked or reinforced. If you have a tool shed, make sure it is also well secured. Otherwise, it may provide tools for intruders to use when breaking in.
Do not keep a key hidden around the house. Rather, keep your spare keys with a trusted neighbor. Automated locks can also help you get in easily if you’ve forgotten your keys.
Have phone calls from your home forwarded to your cell phone if you are not home, so others won’t know when you are gone.
Reinforce Doors and Windows
If you do not already have them, install deadbolts and strike plates in all doors. Also, rekey or replace the locks of your house right after you buy it. This will ensure that you are the only one with copies of your key.
The windows should open no more than 6 inches for ventilation. Install anti-lift devices for the windows so that intruders cannot use them to enter your home. You can use through-the-frame pins for vertical sliding windows and wooden sticks or dowels for horizontal sliding windows. Window and door sensors are also a great way to be alerted if anything else is opened in your home. These will send notifications to connected phones so you can take action if needed.
For sliding doors, keep the latch and door rollers working properly. Sliding glass doors should also have anti-lift devices to keep them from being lifted out of the track. You can use through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
Install a Security System
A home without a security system is three times more likely to be broken into, and losses due to burglaries average $400 or more. Systems like SAGE Security and Home Automation kits connect all their products together so you can easily check in on your home and be alerted if anything happens when you’re not home. Purchasing a whole system at once can make it easy to monitor doors, windows, motion in your yard, and anything else you want to keep an eye on.
Surveillance cameras will help you keep an eye on all areas of your house. Yard security, such as a lawn perimeter alarm, will also deter intruders before they even get close to your home.
Alarms will immediately and effectively alert you to an intruder, so you can keep your family and home safe.
Make all aspects of your home security system secure and effective. Let your cameras stand out so thieves know they are being watched and move on. Intruders look for the weakest spot of your system and use it, so don’t make it easy.
Maintain Your House and Yard
If you've inspected your home and noticed gaps in security, there are things you can do to protect yourself other than installing surveillance and alarm systems.
If the house’s lighting isn’t sufficient, install lights and lamps around the house to eliminate any hiding places.
Keep the greenery trimmed and well-kept. Intruders use overgrown bushes and trees to stay out of sight.
If you have a gate, keep it in good condition. It won’t completely stop intruders but it will deter them, as they are very easily spotted when trying to climb over fences.
Do not leave personal property lying around in the yard. This signals to outsiders that the homeowner has items worth stealing and can convey carelessness.
Plant roses or thorny plants under windows and fences to make breaking in harder for intruders.