Our homes are our shelter, a place we call our own. Here are a few tips to help keep your home secure and safe.
Overgrown landscaping (bushes, trees, shrubs) situated in front of windows and around doors can provide easy concealment when burglarizing a home. It is recommended that bushes and shrubs be kept cut down to 3 ft off the ground, and that trees be trimmed up 6 ft off the ground. Maintained landscaping also shows pride in ownership and gives the house that “lived in look”.
All entrances (front, side, rear) should have lighting with enough wattage to light up the entire entry area (porch, steps, decks). The lighting should also be bright enough for facial recognition during the evening and night hours. Adding flood lights to all sides of your home help in lighting the perimeter areas of the house and yard , and should operate on timers or motion sensors.
Having a fence, whether it is around the entire yard or just the back yard, shows ownership and defines property lines. It is important to keep the fence in good repair and try to keep the gate locked when not in use. This also benefits when you have a dog, which is always an added security advantage. Privacy fencing, although nice, definitely serves its purpose for giving homeowners privacy from their neighbors and other surroundings. It also is beneficial to a burglar and gives them that extra advantage of concealment.
Sheds / Garages
Always keep any outdoor buildings (including attached and detached garages) secure with a strong hasp and padlock. Any property kept inside these structures should be inventoried with make, model and serial #s documented. Try chaining together lawn equipment with a chain or cable and secure them with a padlock. This will make it difficult for the burglar to remove any one item if they are chained together. Ladders should be kept in a secured place, and not stored on the outside area of a home.
It is always beneficial to have an alarm system for your home. These systems can be suited to fit your personal and family needs, and can also provide coverage to outdoor buildings and garages.
Exterior Doors and Deadbolts
All exterior doors should be solid steel or solid wood. Hollow core doors, if used, should be for interior doors only. Any deadbolts that are situated within 40inches of a window should be double cylinder (deadbolt that takes a key on both sides). Deadbolt throws should also be a minimum of 1 inch and strike plates should be secured with 3 inch screws or longer.
All ground floor and top floor windows should be kept closed and locked when not in use. Window bolts can also be installed for extra security. Window bolts secure the top and bottom window frames together and can be found at local hardware stores.
Property Inventory / Light Timers
As mentioned above, all applicable property should be listed on an inventory sheet with make, model and serial #s documented. This along with photos of expensive valuables (jewelry, silverware etc) should be kept in a safe place and readily accessible (safety deposit box, fire safe). Interior lights should be set on timers to come on during different times during the day and evening.