Home Security > Home Security Tips
Home Security Tips
Homeowners can have increased security with a
minimum of cost by implementing some of the suggestions in this article.
Homeowners should approach home security in terms of layers or zones of
Outer Layer of Security. The outer
layer of security would be comprised of walls and fences, trees and
shrubs, dogs, and warning signs.
Inner Layer of Security. The inner
layer of security would be comprised of bars and grills for windows,
shutters, drapes and blinds, lighting, motion detectors, dogs, cameras,
optical viewers and intercoms for doors, door and window alarms, and
other security systems.
Outdoor lighting for the home and surrounding area is important in
reducing crime and increasing personal safety. Criminals prefer to
operate in the dark and not be seen. Proper lighting at entrances
of your home will discourage criminals. Turn on lights after dark to light up porches,
entrances, and garage areas. Timers, motion detectors, and
light-sensitive photocells should
be integrated in your home security lighting system. You want your
home to have the "occupied look" in order to deter criminals. All
potential entry points such as garage, doors, windows, and basement
entry-ways should be illuminated.
Keys and Locks. When moving into a new home or
apartment, ensure you have the locks changed out by a locksmith.
Don't hide keys in mailboxes, under door mats, or any other place that
burglars will know to look. Leave a spare key with a trusted
neighbor. For more information on locks and locksmiths
Locks for Doors. All external doors
should have sturdy deadbolt locks. These should have at least a 1
1/2" bolt. Door locks should have reinforce frames to support
them. The standard door and door lock can be easily "kicked in" or
breached with standard hardware store tools. Screws holding a
strike plate should extend 3" or longer into the wall stud.
Sliding Glass Doors. These should be
secured with locks (commercially available). Use a broom stick or
wooden dowel in the bottom track to secure the door from opening.
You can drill a hole in the sliding door frame and into the fixed frame
in order to insert a pin to secure the sliding glass door. Patio
doors can be easily lifted out of their sliding tracks - so holes and
pin inserts should be drilled to prevent this vulnerability.
Doors. All exterior doors should be
metal or solid wood. The doors should have the hinge pins on the
inside. A peep-hole or door viewer should be in the door so you
can see who is knocking at the door without opening the door.
Double-Hung Windows. These type
windows should be secured by sliding a bolt through a hole drilled into
the sashes of the two windows. The bolt should be able to slide
out freely in case the window has to be used as a fire exit.
Landscaping. Shrubs should be trimmed
so as not to hide doors or windows. Keep shrubs low so criminals
cannot hide behind them.
Fences. Fences will provide a measure
of security but sometimes they hinder security. A fence will force
a criminal to scale it - thereby alerting anyone else observing this act
as viewing it suspiciously. Fences will provide a "psychological
barrier" to some would-be criminals - meaning that the act of climbing
over a fence will discourage some folks from wandering into a yard.
However, in general, fences will deter some and slow down others; they
will not stop a determined criminal. In addition, depending on the
type of fence, they have been known to aid the criminal. A high
wooden fence that cannot be seen through will provide a degree of
privacy to a criminal; however it can also shield a criminals actions
once he is inside the fence line. A wooden picket fence or
chain-link fence establishes a psychological security perimeter yet
still allows neighbors to observe what is going on in your yard inside
the fence line.
Warning signs on your lawn or mounted on your fence or gate can announce
the presence of a dog or an alarm system. You may not necessary
have a dog or alarm system but in itself a warning sign is sometimes a
Dogs. Dogs are useful as a deterrent
and alarm mechanism. As we know, most dogs will bark when a
stranger approaches. Dogs can be useful outside in a fence yard as
well as inside a house.
Security Systems. One method of
deterring crime is the installation of a security system in the home.
These systems can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars and can be
installed by the home owner with products from Home Depot and other
retail stores. Or you can have a professional system installed by
a security firm that would be tied into a central alarm station.
These security devices include motion detectors, door and window alarms,
cameras, and access control systems. These systems when activated
can provide local audio (horns, sirens, buzzers, etc.) and visual alarms
(flashing lights). In addition, the central alarm station can have
instructions to call the home phone number and/or alert the local police
or security guard patrol service to respond to the alarm. To find
out more click on
Biometric Access Control Systems for the Home.
Some more advanced (and more expensive) home systems will incorporate
biometric access controls for the home. While not common now, we
will surely see more of it in the future. The most common
application will be the fingerprint scan that will be verified against a
stored fingerprint image. If a match is made then entry is
facilitated. Biometric access controls systems will also
incorporate voice, retinal, hand print, and other similar technologies.
More information is available on
control systems here.
Identity Theft. An aspect of home
security seldom thought about is identity theft. Protecting your
financial well-being starts in your home. You shouldn't be
throwing away old bills, bank statements, solicitations for credit
cards, and other revealing personal information into the rubbish or
trash. Invest in a paper shredder to shred these no longer
necessary but revealing personal papers. They can be bought at
OfficeMax, Staples and other paper shredder suppliers. Click
here for more information on home office
Click here for more information on
Record, Photograph, Mark, and Insure Your
Valuables. Place identifying marks on your valuables - such as
a drivers license number. This will reduce the value on the black
market and may lead to recover down the road. Take photographs of
high-value items such as artwork and jewelry - this will aid in
substantiating insurance claims.
Fire Prevention. Your home security plan
should incorporate fire prevention measures. For more information
on this subject visit our Fire
Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Watch.
You should consider the establishment of a neighborhood watch program.
The local police department will help you set one up. In addition,
local, state, and national non-profit organizations will help you in
this regard. Click here for more information on
Security and Safety. There are many books published on
security and safety that are available. Click here to visit our
Security and Safety" page; many of these books will address or have
a chapter on "Home Security". Our main
"Home Security" page
also has several books displayed that could be useful. We also
have a page called
Security for Women".
Firearms in the Home. There are many
people who believe that firearms in the home can improve security for
their family. There are others who see these weapons as dangerous
to families; especially when around children or in homes where domestic
violence occurs. Find out the facts by visiting our
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