Everyone wants security. Whether we are at work or at home, being safe is part of being happy. Knowing security systems are in place and doing their job helps us. We don’t have to constantly be on guard.
Technology and DIY can spare us the trouble of constantly being vigilant. So, whether your system uses cameras, access-control methods, or strengthens entry points, here are some tips.
- Basic security systems features people look for:
- Security alarms
- Door chime
- Security lights
- Security cameras
- Extra security sensors
- Monitoring system
- Remote access
2021 New tips for your security ( from Consumer Reports )
Check all doors
The door is the easiest point of entry for a thief. In fact, about 34% of burglars break in through the front door — it’s usually the first place they try. If you have a mail slot, make sure someone can’t reach inside with their hand or a tool to unlock the door. Another great way to improve your front door security is to install a peephole — it gives you a way to see unexpected visitors and is far more secure than a glass window or smaller opening.
You can further secure your door using deadbolts, strike plates and smart locks. Smart locks, a video doorbell and other home security gadgets are excellent ways to provide additional security.
Exterior front doors: A hollow door, which burglars can kick in, is not as reliable as a solid-core door made of metal or wood. Although most people imagine burglars carefully using lock picks to gain entrance through a door, they usually just knock it down using brute force; therefore, you should also reinforce your front door using both a door reinforcement plate and a door jamb reinforcement kit.
Sliding glass doors: Keep sliding doors secured with a safety bar to the interior floor track. Burglars love sliding doors because they typically have a flimsy latch that isn’t enough to keep them firmly in place. With a simple yet forceful kick to the bottom of the slider, criminals can gain leverage and open the door. We also recommend you a floor bolt or a foot lock for additional security.
Reinforce the windows
Burglars are always searching for windows of opportunity. Make sure your windows are secure and make a habit of locking them every time you leave your home and before you go to bed.
Unfortunately, a lock on a window won’t always do the trick — latches are typically weak and don’t hold up against blunt force. You can reinforce the glass with window security film and install window bars or dowels. Here are some tips for burglar-proofing your windows:
Window sensors: Install window sensors that sound an alert when the window breaks. Some sensors automatically send you a notification through your phone if a motion or glass break is detected.
Pin locks: Installing pin locks keeps windows partially open but still secure. Advanced pinless models are also available.
Put up curtains: This provides privacy and keeps valuables out of sight.
Natural defenses: Plant prickly or thorny bushes beneath first-story windows.
Sturdier glass: In extreme cases, install impact-resistant safety glass. This can work well for small windows that you don’t often open.
Keep your garage secured
The garage is another vulnerable entry point for burglars because of the weakness of the door — it can be relatively easy for intruders to jimmy a latch and lift, punch or kick the door in. Make sure you always keep the garage door down, the latch locked and your interior door secured.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your garage door opener clipped inside your car if you keep your car outside. It’s too easy for thieves to smash your window and gain access to your garage with the simple press of a button.
Consider investing in a home automation system that automatically shuts your garage door after you open it. Motion-activated flood lights in the garage could also help deter intruders.
Try to unplug the garage opener when you go on vacation. Even better, lock the door itself so burglars can’t lift it. For an inexpensive DIY project, you can just drill a hole in the track right above a roller and use a padlock to lock it.
Don’t broadcast when you’re out of town
Be extra careful when you plan your next vacation. About three-fourths of burglaries take place when the resident isn’t home. Remember, the whole world (or at least friends of friends) can see what you’re posting on social media. Don’t broadcast your trip on social media until after you return, especially in the late summer. July and August see the highest number of residential break-ins, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Easy home security tips
If you’re friendly with your neighbors, let them know you’ll be gone so they can be a little more watchful than usual. Use timed lights that turn on and off at regular intervals so it looks like somebody’s home.
Keep all your valuables locked in a safe and hidden from view.
Some easy ways to tighten up home security include getting a dog (or an imposter), communicating with your local police department and bolstering your cybersecurity.
Get a dog (or a fake)
Law-abiding people typically love dogs, but thieves hate them. If you don’t have a dog or are allergic or otherwise incapable of housing a dog, you can still harness a criminal’s natural fear of dogs.
A simple hack is to put up a “Beware of dog” sign on your gate or back door — that’s usually enough to turn away a majority of would-be criminals. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can also get a dog bowl and leash for your back porch.
Safeguard your Wi-Fi and digital resources
It’s easy to forget your Wi-Fi needs security beyond your login password, but you can take a few steps to ensure your virtual world is as safe as your physical one. This is especially important if you have smart home automation systems that rely on your smartphone and internet connection.
Any device connected to the internet can be hacked. An internet security threat can become a home security threat if a criminal uses the data to better target an invasion.
Here are some tips to minimize cyber threats:
- Give your home network an unintuitive name and complex password
- Make sure your antivirus protection is up to date
- Set up a firewall
- Enable WPA2 for additional protection
Hide your keys in a smart place
No, not under your doormat or in the mailbox. And, no, not under that fake rock, either.
It’s better to leave a key with a trusted neighbor. If you aren’t friendly with the neighbors or if you live in a location far from the next house, you can use a combination lockbox — just make sure it’s in an out-of-the-way place in your yard. Check out some additional tips below.
Don’t keep your garage clicker in your car if it’s parked in the driveway. Keep it inside your home and out of sight so it’s difficult to find.
Don’t place keys in view of a window or door. Keep them in a concealed drawer.
Don’t put keys under a rock by the door. Investing in a fake drain cap or faucet head is less conspicuous.
Get a safe (at Holder’s)
It might feel like something from a spy movie, but a safe is an affordable way to keep your valuables secure. A safe is a great place to store valuables like jewelry, guns, cash, important documents and other sensitive information./p>
You can choose a portable safe or one that bolts to the wall or floor. Just remember that a portable safe can be picked up by a thief, so it’s better to have one that’s heavy and clunky. Make sure the safe is fireproof and waterproof too. You can also pay a bit more for a safe with fingerprint-reading systems. Here are some tips for buying a safe:
- Use a safe with two locks on it — these are often referred to as redundant locks.
- Write your driver’s license number somewhere hidden on valuables so they can be identified if stolen.
- If the safe has a passcode, you can give it to a trusted friend or family member in the case of an emergency.
Call the police
Did you know many police departments will send an officer to your home, inspect it and let you know how it can be fortified? This is a free service, and their recommendations are often low in cost, so there’s nothing to lose. Don’t wait until the burglars break in — call the cops now. Just use your local police department’s non-emergency line, not 911.
Look out for markers and signs of casing
Signs that someone is casing your house can be very subtle. You might see unfamiliar vehicles or strangers walking around on your neighborhood streets; they could be taking an afternoon stroll or casing houses — you have to trust your gut. Sometimes, a network of thieves will leave certain fliers or stickers near a house they believe to be unguarded and vulnerable.
Additional signs a burglar could be casing your home include:
- Unsolicited knocking on doors
- Strangers taking pictures of homes
- Markings on the sidewalk near certain houses
Innovations extend security systems
Home automation technology combines two-way wireless communication with mobile app development. Home automation systems provide unprecedented options to not only see what’s happening in our homes, but also to control it from anywhere in the world. A handy app installed on your smartphone will do the job.
Updates to basic technology: Door and window sensors are more accurate and reliable than ever before, and there are more types of sensors that can be integrated into home security systems. With wearable panic buttons, emergency response is one touch away for the elderly and disabled. With front door cameras and remote door locks, you no longer have to be home when the housekeeper comes to clean.
Camera technology: We now have vivid full-color HD camera feeds, tucked into devices small enough to blend into our home decor or completely disappear from view.
Wireless technology that allowed smartphones and tablets to free us from PCs now allows for home security systems without drilling holes, as well as remote monitoring that doesn’t depend on telephone lines.
According to a recent study by the Electronic Security Association (or the ESA), the deterrence factor of home security cameras was even higher than the findings by the UNC Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology study would suggest. They determined that 83% of burglars would take steps to figure out whether or not a home has a security camera installed before proceeding with their burglary. They furthermore determined that 60% of burglars would avoid homes that are equipped with security cameras. ( https://esaweb.org/ [external] )
Time of year influences crime
Industry research shows that summer is a peak time for break-ins and theft. July and August are the months with the most break-ins. Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not occur at night. Instead, 65% of burglaries occur between 6am and 6pm. Most burglars do not want to risk encountering someone so they will try your home when you are most likely to be at work. The most common hours for a burglary to occur are between 10am-3pm. ( https://simplisafe.com/blog/break-in-times )
Safeguardtheworld.com reports that a home intrusion is committed every 13 seconds. Also, more than 2.5 million home intrusions are committed each year. Only 17% of the homes in U.S. have a security system. Thieves target cash, jewelry, laptops, guns, digital cameras, small electronics (iPods, GPS, PDA’s MP-3’s and CD’s). More than 2,500 cars stolen per day… almost two cars a minute.
DIY low-cost security systems (courtest reolink.com)
- Fake security signs will make an opportunistic burglar think twice about breaking into your property. They may fail to fool experienced burglars.
- Make sure your ladders, pry bars, big screwdrivers, hammers and the like are secured and placed properly. Otherwise these may be used against you as burglary tools.
- An improvised home security idea you can adopt is to tear down delivery boxes or haul them to the dump right away.
- Landscaping can work for or against you. Tall and thick shrubs or trees around your windows and doors are the perfect places for burglars to hide. So a simple DIY home security tip is to regularly keep your lawn mowed and bushes trimmed.
- Garden furniture & decorations are targets for opportunist thieves.
- Car keys are handy alarms; you can press the car alarm panic button to scare away a potential thief.
- Enhance door security – always your priority.
- It is reported 23% of burglars gain access to homes through a first-floor window. Remember to keep all windows of your home locked when you are out.
Prepare yourself by reading our articles on residential and commercial security systems at Holder’s Total Security.
ALSO: Consider Holder’s security tips for the vulnerable
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