Don’t Let Your Guard Down With Home Security

If you live in what’s considered a “safe neighborhood”, it’s all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although the crime rate in your part of town may be low, the chances of living in an area that’s totally crime free are very small.

Burglars and other would-be criminals are often opportunistic, so it pays to take precautions and avoid being an “easy target.” Here are a few home security tips that can help protect your property, your family, and your valuables.

  • Make it a habit to lock your doors at night and every time you leave the house for even a short period of time. If you’re behind schedule and in a rush, stop and take one more minute to do a quick security check and — while you’re at it — make sure hot appliances, such as stoves, ovens, and irons, are turned off.
  • Even in the best of neighborhoods, bicycles that are left out in your driveway or front yard can and often do get stolen in seconds. When a bicycle gets stolen from your property, it can be a painful and expensive lesson. Fortunately, those types of losses can be avoided by having your family get in the habit of concealing bicycles in secure locations (like a garage or shed) or padlocking them to a stationary object, such as a tree or well-anchored fence post.
  • Leaving a house key in your mailbox, under a welcome mat, or in a flower pot may seem like a good idea at the time, but those hiding places can easily be discovered by the wrong people.
  • Allowing mail or newspapers to pile up while you’re away for the weekend or on vacation is a tip-off to burglars that no one is home. Having a checklist that reminds you to suspend mail and newspaper delivery while you’re away can help you avoid that risk. If you plan on being gone for the weekend, a trusted neighbor or friend can often be depended on to gather deliveries that might otherwise advertise your absence.
  • Teaching your kids home safety and security measures at an early age is another vital component of crime prevention. They should be taught and reminded what to say and do if a stranger either asks for personal information over the phone or asks if they can come into the house. It’s important for kids to know that they can and should be assertive with adults when protecting themselves and their home.

When it comes to home security, your four most important strategies are awareness, taking preventative measures, educating yourself and your family, and being consistent. Sometimes the best approach to keep in mind and tell your children is to follow the anti-drug advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan: “Just say no!” There are plenty of instances when no further explanation is required.
 

Four Tactics to Improve Home Security

Did you every hear the old expression, “Trust in God, but lock your door”? Not only has that adage been passed on from one generation to the next, but it’s a lyric in an old Kenny Rogers song, and you’ll occasionally see it on bumper stickers. Although keeping your home safe from intruders is a serious topic, that old saying reminds us, in a humorous way, that we shouldn’t take home security for granted.

In addition to high tech approaches to home protection, there are also easy and inexpensive steps you can take to discourage burglars. Although many of these safety measures seem like common sense, you’d be surprised at how many homeowners forget to lock doors, leave lights on, and take other simple precautions when they’re away. Here’s a handful of smart steps you can take to substantially reduce the risk of having your home broken into.

  1. Make a habit of locking your doors and windows. While this piece of advice may sound like a “no-brainer,” many reports of home break-ins mention an unlocked window or door as the point of entry for burglars. The first thing you can do to tighten up security and feel safer in your own home is to increase your awareness of potential threats, and emphasize to your family the importance of taking precautions. The ideal scenario involves reinforcing positive habits, without instilling a sense of fear. After all, your home should be a peaceful place where your family always feels safe and comfortable.
  2. Shine a light on the problem. You would think that everyone would leave lights on when they’re not home at night, but — for one reason or another — many don’t. Keeping your home well lit, both inside and out, is a good strategy for thwarting crime. To save money on energy bills and to avoid the appearance of always having your lights on, you can purchase inexpensive lighting timers. Leaving a radio or TV on when you’re not home, or connecting it to a timer, is another way to create the illusion that someone is home.
  3. Barking dogs are a known burglar deterrent, as are “Beware of Dog” signs. The actual dogs are obviously more effective than the warning signs, but many people bring their pets to a boarding facility when they’re away on vacation. One solution is to arrange for a house sitter or an on-site pet care service to stop by. If you have a trusted neighbor or family member who can feed and walk your dog while you’re away (maybe, water your plants, too!), then your canine security guard can remain on duty in your absence. Many communities also have licensed and bonded pet care services that can stop by and take care of your dogs, every day, eliminating the need for your pets to be away from home.
  4. Landscaping features can be a risk factor. Be aware that high bushes and hedges can make it easier for burglars to hide while breaking into windows. Keep shrubs and branches trimmed back as much as possible to eliminate this chink in your security plan. If you’re still concerned about the effect of bushes on home security, then make sure your window locks are sturdy and fully functional. Inexpensive battery-operated window and door alarms are also an option.

One method that can virtually eliminate the problem of forgetting to lock your doors and turning on lights is to have a high-tech security system installed. This technology enables you to activate locks, lights, and even thermostats from any location with your cell phone, laptop, or other mobile device. While these automated systems and monitored alarms incur a monthly service fee, the peace of mind and added control you get over your home environment is often more than worth the expense.