Installing a monitored home alarm and security system is one major way to make your house and family safer. Of course, it can be expensive to have one installed and to pay for 24-hours-a-day monitoring by an off-site company. Not everyone can afford to install a security system, at least when they first buy a house, but there are actions homeowners can take to make their property more secure until they are ready and able to buy a comprehensive system.
First, all outbuildings should have locks. Make sure you engage those locks whenever you leave these buildings. If you have a garage that is attached to the house, the garage door should be secured to the floor and the door leading into the house should be made of either solid wood or metal. Be sure it has both a lock and a deadbolt that are used as well.
Always lock your car when you come inside your house and if you have bicycles or motorcycles, they should also either be kept inside a locked building or secured to an immobile structure with tamper-resistant locks.
Trim trees, shrubs, and bushes so they cannot be used as a way to gain access to top floor windows. This will also minimize hiding areas for intruders. If you have the money, install motion floodlights that turn on whenever motion is detected close to your house. If you cannot afford these, simply turn on all outdoor lights as soon as the sun goes down.
All doors leading to the outside should be made out of solid wood or metal. Have a peephole installed so you can see who is at your door without opening it. Always lock your doors whenever you are leaving and at night. Do not leave spare keys anywhere outside. Instead, give a copy to a neighbor you trust so you can get it easily if you ever get locked out.
Inside the house, put your lights on timers so it will look like you are home even if you aren’t. Put your small valuables in a safety deposit box or in a fireproof safe kept on site. If you have any guns, keep trigger locks on them and lock the guns themselves in an approved firearm safe.
Take pictures of all your valuables and save the images to a DVD that is kept in a separate location. Take inventory of what you own and clearly mark all your valuables so they can be identified in the event they are stolen. Keep emergency phone numbers near your phone’s base or on your cell phone so you do not have to hunt for them in an emergency. Have an evacuation plan and make sure all family members know their roles.
A monitored security system is a great addition to an overall home security plan. However, even if you don’t have one, there are steps you can take to make your home a safe place to be. Do everything you can now and keep adding layers of security to your home as you are able to do so.
Neighborhood security and awareness are just as important for homeowners as it is for condominium or apartment dwellers in suburban homes. You can do a lot to protect yourself from the threat of burglary, robbery and home invasion by simply getting to know your area, your local law enforcement services, and others in your neighborhood, building or apartment.
Getting to know your neighbors by introducing yourself to them as well as getting to know building security, maintenance, and management personnel if you’re in an apartment can be crucial. Making a simple commitment with neighbors by communicating that you care about living in a safe neighborhood, that you will watch their homes when they’re away, and that you would like them to watch your home is a great start toward promoting neighborhood and community safety and trust.
Talking with your neighbors, which is a simple thing to do, helps promote community interest and security. It helps raise awareness of changes in your neighborhood and encourages people to be alert for suspicious strangers. This simple idea is often overlooked, but it’s a great step toward developing a safe community and preventing crime in your neighborhood.
In addition, use these common sense safety rules developed by Safe Home Security for homeowners:
Safety Rule Number One: Be very prudent about who you allow to enter your home and always confirm their identity every time.
Safety Rule Number Two: If you aren’t expecting a service person, do not let them into your home or apartment.
Safety Rule Number Three: You should know who the regular service people are in your building or in your neighborhood, including mail personnel, lawn maintenance people, etc.
Safety Rule Number Four: You can’t always know outside contractors but you can trust someone who is confirmed by the company they claim as their employer.
Safety Rule Number Five: Use the common sense tools for safety which include peep holes on your door so you can see who’s there before opening it, keeping doors and windows locked, especially when you are away, not opening doors for strangers and of course, having a professionally monitored alarm system, such as those provided by Safe Home Security.
Here’s one important tip that we tell all Safe Home Security clients: Never print your entire name on your mailbox. If your name is required on your mailbox for your neighborhood or your building, use only your last name. If you need more than the last name, then use only one initial and a last name. This prevents people from gleaning your name from your mailbox and then acting like they know you at your front door or when meeting you in a parking lot after following you from your home. This also prevents intruders from knowing your gender just by reading it on a mailbox as well, which will help keep you safe from robbery.
Safe Home Security recommends that every resident of every neighborhood take control and be responsible for the safety and security of their community. Start by forming simple informal neighborhood watch programs by suggesting that neighbors watch out for each other’s safety. Remember, a secure home and neighborhood help in making a happy home.