Securing Your Home From Unwanted Visitors
Like the saying goes, you don’t have to be able to run faster than a bear, you have to run faster than the person behind you. And the same is true for basic home security, you don’t need a perimeter like Fort Knox, you just need to be a little less of a target than your neighbor.
The truth is, if someone wants in your home bad enough they will get in, but we can do some things around the house to make that a little less tempting.
We don’t all have a couple thousand dollars lying around for a state of the art security system and we don’t want to have our front yard filled with land mines and booby traps (some of us anyway) so what can we do to deter the bad guys from taking what we have?
There are some basic home security measures you should take now that don’t involve emptying your pocketbook, and some inexpensive ways to make your home a little less of a target that we should do on a daily basis anyway.
Basic home security could be the difference between someone passing your home up and going to the next house.
Taking these simple measures are a good starting point to having a home that is secure as it can be. This downloadable checklist will give you an idea about how secure your home is today and what you can work on.
1. What is the easiest way to break into your home?
Look around your home and put yourself in the intruders shoes, what would you do if you had to get in. As a teenager I had to break into my own home a couple of times after school, if you have kids ask them “how would you get in?” Now not all teenagers are criminals but they will be less concerned about property damage than you, after all they don’t have to pay to get it fixed…you do. By doing this you might get a different point of view.
2. Keep the doors and windows locked
We all know this, and we all know it doesn’t happen all the time, especially if you have children. My biggest concern is when our kids come home from school and just walk through the door without a key, if someone is watching or they have a friend with them they now know that there is easy access to this home.
If someone has been in your home and had a chance to “case” it they know what you have, and if they know that you don’t lock your doors and windows you become an easy target.
Don’t forget to check your doors and windows regularly also, someone else in your home could have unlocked it without you knowing, or even worse someone who was in your home could have unlocked it for easy access later on.
One thing you can do for your windows is install safety glass window film that are built to keep glass together in the event of breakage and slow down intruders. This will not stop an intruder bent on getting into your home, but it will slow them down and criminals like to get in and out as quickly as possible, and this deterrent could change their mind.
3. Install Dummy Cams
You can find dummy cams on eBay for as little as $20 for a set of 4. Again this will not stop someone who is dead set on getting into your home, but if they see these above your front and back doors they will think twice about entering your home. On a side note, these are also good for teenagers…until they figure it out anyway.
Alarms are great to have if you can afford it, but there are other low cost options available other than Brinks home security. Something as simple as Christmas bells over doorways could give you a little advance warning of unwelcome visitors and possibly give them a little scare and startle them away.
5. Secure your perimeter
A solar driveway sensor or even a battery powered motion sensor are great to have because if there is no power you still get warning if someone comes up your driveway. We talked a little bit about securing your perimeter in podcast episode 15. If your house is tucked back from the street or you live in a rural area you can’t depend on your neighbors to know if someone is breaking into your home.
Although a motion sensor will not alert your neighbors, it would alert you if you happen to be home if someone tries to break in, giving you time to get out of harms way and call the authorities.
6. Situational awareness
Always know your surroundings and what poses the biggest threat. Get to know your neighbors and you will find out who the ones that are going to help you protect your home, and the ones who you need to protect your home against.
Don’t do things like hide the key under the door mat, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book and could be one of the first places a criminal looks. If you absolutely have to do this use something like a hide a key that is camouflaged to fit into the surroundings.
7. Don’t Brag about new toys
Don’t go out to lunch and tell your friend about that new 90″ television you just bought, they might not come steal it, but the guy behind you listening in on your conversation might.
Or you could tell your best friend about your new generator in the garage and they could talk to other people increasing the chances that the wrong person finds out about a new toy they can get for free.
8. Appearance is everything
This kind of goes along with bragging, don’t put your house on display. The more you fly under the radar and the more your home looks like a waste of time to an intruder the more likely they will be to move to the next home.
Some people need to show what they have purchased to feel better about themselves…don’t be one of them.
Don’t leave your garage open for everyone to see what you have. I don’t know how many times I drive through a suburban neighborhood and see every other house with the garage door open showing how many motorcycles or bikes they have, not to mention that brand new set of golf clubs sitting in the corner.
Don’t have bushes or hedges around your windows, this only give an intruder a place to hide if someone happens to see them as they try to get inside your home. The more likely they are to be seen, the less likely they will be to hit your house.
Make sure you have adequate lighting around the exterior of your house. Look around and find the blind spots and purchase lights to remove the areas someone could hide.
Inside your home is also important, get a timer for when you are not home and have the lights come on a certain times and give the appearance you are there. Most criminals are looking to get in and out and do not want to hurt you physically, they just want your toys.
10. Training Everyone in the home
You can make sure you lock every door and window at night, make sure your perimeter is secure and have motion sensors set up, but if everyone is not on the same page you have a huge hole in your home security measures. I run into this all the time with my teenagers, they tell me “no one is going to break in” and I think famous last words and tell them “they will probably take your Xbox and TV first, that gets them to think a little harder.
Basic home security doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars, even just the simple things can make a big difference between you getting robbed and your neighbor getting robbed. Like I said, thief’s are chicken and they like to get away with something with the least amount of conflict or confrontation.
If you make yourself a little less of a target they just might move on to the next house or think that you have nothing to offer and are not worth the risk.