Home Security Audit – How to Secure Your Home
Who can resist the handsome, daring thieves of movie renown, such as the Ocean’s Eleven crew planning the big heist a Las Vegas casinos? George Clooney, Brad Pitt …
However, when a burglar targets your home, suddenly theft doesn’t look quite so irresistible. Instead, there’s a sense of violation, of loss, of fear as you imagine someone in your personal space, rifling through your drawers and searching your closets. There’s also the determination to ensure that it never happens again.
Whether or not your home has ever been robbed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes. One way to prevent it is by conducting a home security audit. Whether you do it yourself or ask for help from a professional, an audit will point out the weaknesses in your home’s defences and allow you to sleep more soundly at night – especially on those nights when you’re home alone.
In some Canadian cities, such as Toronto and Ottawa, the police offer courtesy home security audits as a public service. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these locales, don’t delay. Pick up the phone and schedule an audit now. If not, you can hire a security professional to do an audit for you, or you can undertake the task yourself. If you choose the latter route, here is some handy advice.
Home Security Blindspots – Bushes and Fences
Start your audit by walking the perimeter of your home, assessing it through a burglar’s eyes. Look at the landscaping first, because bushes, shrubs and fences are ideal for providing cover. Ensure that they are properly trimmed so that doors and windows aren’t hidden from view. If you’re concerned about privacy, drapes, blinds and curtains will do the trick.
Evaluate your fencing material and height. Tall fences provide privacy, but they also prevent you from making the acquaintance of neighbours who might keep an eye on your house. Solid fences can also shelter thieves, so try to balance privacy with security.
Outdoor Security Lighting – See the Light
Lighting is also very important in fending off burglars. Homes that look lived in from day to day provide better safety and security than others. The interior of your home should have two lights on each evening during the hours you are awake; if you’re on vacation, put those lights on a timer. Outdoors, motion-sensitive lights are an excellent deterrent, both because they illuminate people moving outside and they indicate to potential intruders that you are security conscious.
Home Security Doors – Slamming the Door
Shut the door on burglary by keeping your home secure. Instal good, solid doors and make sure that any windows they contain are out of the reach of the door locks. If your door doesn’t have a window, insert a peephole so that you can see who is ringing the bell before answering.
If your home has exterior sliding glass doors, there is a danger that a burglar can simply lift the doors off the frame to enter. You can prevent such an occurrence by:
- Inserting a piece of wood or a hockey stick into the frame to prevent the door from sliding open;
- Attaching a pin lock to the door that goes into the frame; or
- Fastening screws into the track above the door when it’s closed.
Good locks should be paired with your solid doors. Place deadbolt locks on all doors that have outside access. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services suggests locks with the following characteristics:
- saw resistant
- twist-resistant, with tapered hardened steel, or free spinning cylinder guard
- minimum of 2.5 cm (1 inch) long when thrown
- interlocking bolts should be a minimum of 5.6 cm (2 1/4 inches).
In addition, don’t get deadbolts that require keys on both sides because they won’t allow for a quick exit in case of fire.
Technology also makes locking and unlocking easier for homeowners; smart locks can be unlocked using your smartphone as a key. You can also invest in a digital monitoring system for your doors so you can see who is ringing the bell whether or not you are home.
Watch Those Windows
Windows are additional points of entry for burglars, so make sure they’re not easy to open when you’re not home. Secure sliding windows with a piece of wood in the same way you’d secure sliding glass doors. Double hung windows can be forced open by putting pressure on the lock, so add a second lock or instal a metal security pin that prevents the window from being opened.
These tips won’t ward off all burglars, but they will make your home much safer. And, to quote another old saying, better safe than sorry.