Home Security A simple guide to protecting your home & property

Your home is your castle and you have a responsibility to protect your home and everything you put in it. Luckily it doesn't take an army of guards or expensive security monitoring services to keep thieves at bay. There are simple methods and tactics you can employ which don't require a lot of skill or money to be successful.

Latest Statistics
  • Most burglaries happen between 10am-3pm when most people are at work.
  • The typical burglar most likely lives in your neighborhood.
  • Most burglars won't spend more than 60secs trying to break in.
  • Homes without security systems are 3x more likely to be hit.
  • Homes in the middle of the block are more likely to be hit.
  • In order of frequency, burglaries happen in this order... Front Doors, 1st Floor Windows, Back Doors, Garages, Basements
  • Once inside, burglars head to the most common hiding places which are... Master Bedrooms, Bedroom Closets, Freezers.
  • Most often stolen items are... Cash, Jewelry, Guns, Laptops, Cell Phones.
Defensive Strategies to Protect Your Home

When planning your home security it's important to think in layers. No home is an impenetrable fortress and if a persistent burglar wants to get into your home, you most likely won't stop them. The key is to create enough layers of security such that a potential thief will decide your house just isn't worth the time or trouble.

First Layer of Defense

Layer 1 is the view of your house from the street. You really want to make your house the least attractive option to a burglar. The first step a burglar will take is to observe a neighborhood and decide which house is the easiest target. Make sure your house is not on their list!

  • Install security system signs in your yard and decals on your windows. Consider a generic brand so as not to inform a burglar exactly what type of security system is installed.
  • "Beware of Dog" signs are also an excellent deterrent.
  • Do NOT advertise that you own a gun by posting signs. That will only provide a burglar with motivation to steal them.
  • Make sure your property is well lit. If your street lacks street lights be sure to install motion lights in common areas of your property as well as dark, rarely used areas that could potentially hide a burglar while he attempts a break-in.
  • Clear shrubbery and trees away from the property so they are less likely to conceal a burglar while he attempts a break-in.
Second Layer of Defense

Layer 2 consists of the contents of your yard and property. Once on your property a burglar will be assessing how easy a break-in would be. They want to spend less than 1 minute trying to enter so the goal of Layer 2 is to stall a burglar as long as possible.

  • Install security system stickers on ground-level Windows.
  • Be sure all ground-level windows are locked and ideally, covered with blinds or shades.
  • Install motion or fixed lighting to dark areas of your property.
  • Trim shrubs & bushes to reduce any hiding spots near doors or windows.
  • Collect mail & packages as quickly as possible or arrange a private drop box somewhere concealed on your property.
  • Be sure all exterior doors are solid-core and use extra long screws to attach to the frame.
  • Be sure the garage and shed are locked and tools are put away so as not to provide a burglar with tools to break in with.
Third Layer of Defense

Layer 3 consists of your home's interior. Once a burglar is inside your home there are still things you can do to deter a criminal.

  • Hide valuables from plain sight, especially from windows.
  • Use a safe that is secured to the frame of the house.
  • Use lights to illuminate dark hallways or entryways.
  • Install motion sensors or cameras in/near entryways.
  • Close and lock interior doors.
  • Keep car keys near your bed and use the lock or panic button if you suspect someone is in the house.
Defensive Habits to Practice Every Day

Once your house and property are protected using the strategies listed above, you can start to develop daily habits that will ensure your house and property are kept safe.

When At Home

When hanging out at home there are quite a few tips you should keep in mind to maintain the safe zones you've created.

  • Ensure that all door & window locks operate properly
  • Keep all exterior doors & windows locked when not in use
  • Don't leave empty boxes of expensive items out on the curb. Keep them hidden on your property until garbage day.
  • Don't put your name on your mailbox. Thieves can easily find your phone number and call to see when you're not home.
  • Don't leave spare keys in obvious places. Keep it random or leave one with a neighbor.
  • Practice Situational Awareness as a daily habit!
When Away From Home
  • Close & lock all exterior doors & windows
  • Leave entryway lights turned on
  • Consider leaving a TV or radio turned on
  • Don't advertise you are leaving on social media or otherwise
  • Arrange to have someone take the trash to the curb
  • Arrange to have someone collect mail & packages daily
  • Use timers to turn on/off lights & electronics
  • Schedule lawn or maintenance people to come when you're not home
Products & Technologies
Doors & Windows

There are few basic guidelines to keep in mind when choosing or installing exterior doors, windows and hardware that will dramatically increase their effectiveness at keeping the bad guys out.

  • Be sure that all external door are solid core wood or metal doors
  • Consider reinforcing door jambs with metal hardening kits
  • Use 3" wood screws or longer to secure the door hinges so that the screws reach the frame of the door
  • Use 3" wood screws to secure the striker plate to the door frame
  • Choose a deadbolt with a bolt of at least 1" long
  • Look for deadbolts with "anti-saw" or "anti-drill" features and are ANSI Grade 1 or higher (sometimes referred to as "commercial")
  • Don't buy locks that can be opened with a "bump" key. Schlage and Baldwin,┬ámake lock sets designed to defeat bump keys.
  • Use a security film on any windows that are less than 42" from a door to prevent a thief from smashing the window and reaching the lock.
  • Apply frost or window treatment to any exterior windows to prevent people from seeing inside
  • Use window stops to prevent windows from opening too far
  • Use a primary and secondary locking method for sliding doors

Recommended Products:

Motion Lights

Motion lights are a fantastic way of deterring prowlers and burglars as they serve a dual purpose - they alert you to the presence of an intruder and also light up your property for everybody to see.

  • As a minimum you'll want a motion or fixed light installed at every entrance to your house and garage.
  • For your own safety you should also install motion lights in all the areas that you frequently access such as walkways and garage areas.
  • Consider hard-wired or battery operated lights. Solar powered lights are not as reliable.
  • General landscaping or hardscaping lights are also a good way to shed light on dark areas of your property.

Recommended Products:

Indoor/Outdoor Cameras

With the new "internet of things" the automated home security industry has exploded. This means you have lots of options when it comes to cheap, powerful home security gadgets. There are also quite a few sophisticated "low-tech" options that can help deter potential burglars for very few dollars. Below are a few of the items I recommend installing as part of your security strategy.

  • Dummy CCD cameras and motion detectors can go a long way in deterring prowlers.
  • WIFI cameras and sensors now integrate with your mobile phone giving a 24-7 window into the activities around your house.
  • Sophisticated multi-CCD camera systems are readily available at places like HomeDepot or Costco and quite easy to install.

Recommended Products:

Securing Packages

Thieves and prowlers love an easy target and packages left on porches provide a wealth of opportunity. Check for mail & packages daily and employ the following tips to prevent your packages from being stolen.

  • Sign up for delivery notifications from your delivery service so you know exactly when your package arrives.
  • Provide a secure drop box for mail & packages which is secured to the house.
  • Use furniture or pottery to provide a hidden space for packages.
  • Consider using an alternate delivery address or secure locker.

Recommended Products:

Created By
Christopher Daniels
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