A home should be a place of comfort and guaranteed security. Here are some simple home safety tips to implement into your life.
Worried about someone breaking into your home while you’re out on vacation?
Who wouldn’t? Although the number of property crimes is decreasing, they still cause billions of losses. In 2017, the FBI recorded 7,694,086 cases of property crimes, a huge drop from the 8,651,892 instances in 2013.
Despite that, we’re still looking at $15.3 billion in losses.
We can thank the increased awareness of homeowners to such crimes leading to a decrease in numbers, but we need to be even smarter. Read our home safety tips below to keep your valuables and your family safe.
- Set Up a Reliable Surveillance System
You may have had previous experiences with break-ins. Or you’re getting paranoid after some suspicious activities in your neighborhood. In these cases, it’s smart to install a home security system.
A security camera can deter would-be thieves from entering the home. This study linked the CCTV systems to reduced crime rates in areas like Baltimore and Chicago, proving that it not only works as evidence against a suspect, but it also helps prevent a crime from happening in the first place.
Modern surveillance systems also make it easy for homeowners to check on their homes. These can alert the owner – wherever they are – if they detect motion. High-tech solutions can also have night vision and other features.
A camera (especially when there’s multiple of them) is a sign that you’re hiding something valuable, though. That’s why you shouldn’t get too confident on your system; follow the home safety tips below, too.
- Get Rid of Potential Hiding Spots
Healthy plants, bushes, and trees look great, but they may be dangerous. They can provide burglars a cozy place to watch your house from, especially if they’re tall and bushy enough. Not only will they hide people from you, but they will also hide them from your neighbors while they try to break in.
Trim down bushes around your windows and the perimeter of your home. Branches that are strong enough to hold a man and close enough to a window can give them access. Cut them down, as well.
While you’re landscaping, make sure to clean up and remove items that a thief might use to break a window. Tools you left in the yard or an unlocked storage room and broken tree limbs can be strong enough to break the glass.
A ladder is a jackpot. They can use it to access the higher floors, where you may be laxer in locking the doors and windows.
After taking care of greenery, observe your front lawn and your yard at night. Are there any dark spots where they can hide?
Install some lights in that area; buy motion-detection models if you can. They can keep your electricity costs low and lets you avoid disturbing other people.
- You Should Have Clear Visibility, But Not Them
The previous tips give you clear visibility of your surroundings, but that’s not all you can do to make it clearer. When someone comes knocking on your door at night, you must be able to see who’s on the other side without opening it.
A peephole is the simplest solution, but an even better one is a home security system that allows you to see your front porch from your smartphone or a laptop. A lower-tech (and cheaper) version of this is the door camera intercom. It still works as well as the smart alternative today, so it’s an option, too.
However, other people should not have clear visibility into your home. Your valuables shouldn’t be visible from the street or your front door. Your alarm panel shouldn’t also be in a location where people from the outside would see you arming it.
If you like leaving the curtains drawn apart at night, change that habit. You’re letting them scope your house under the cover of darkness.
Remember to close them when you leave the house, as well. This will prevent anyone from knowing no one’s home.
- Secure the Garage
Garages double as extra storage space for a lot of homes, making them a possible target for burglars. They know it can contain valuable and high-ticket items, like lawnmowers, tools, outdoor gear, and so on.
Check the locks in your garage and upgrade as you see fit. If there are windows, cover them with a cloth to prevent anyone from peeking in.
Don’t forget to leave them open, as well. Having open garage doors violate the previous tip, which says to lower the visibility of your things from the outside. With garage doors open, anyone passing by your house will be able to see if you have something valuable.
If you often forget to close the garage doors, consider getting an automatic door that closes on its own. Some doors you can even control without stepping out from your car. This also ensures your safety at night as people are more vulnerable while getting in or out of their cars.
- Make the House Look Busy and Occupied
Vacant houses are a prime target for thieves, especially those who have been scoping your house for a while. This gives them a window of opportunity to try and circumvent the security measures you put up.
If you have to leave the house for a while, you can make it look like there’s someone in there. One simple way is to leave a car in the garage. It has a flaw, though: this can deter thieves for only so long until they find out that there’s no one there.
They can find out by observing the house a full day or two. They’ll notice the lights don’t turn on, no sound is coming from it, or no footprints are leading to or away from the door.
If you have smart lights, set them to turn on at intervals. Turning on the television or an electronic device from an app will help with the lack of sound. A smart doorbell you can talk through wherever you are will also allow you to shoo away the people on your porch.
If it’s snowing, you’ll have to take care of the footprints. Ask a favor from your neighbor, relatives, or your friends who live nearby.
Having someone come to your house now and then will also take care of the mail and flyers on your property.
- Check and Maintain the Locks
Some locks are easy to pick, some doors have flimsy locks, and some locks the homeowners forget to use. With these, thieves only have to find the right timing to break into your house.
Make sure to always lock your doors and windows, even if you’re only going out for a minute or two (but don’t forget your key!). It helps to set up a routine of checking the locks on every door and window in every room before turning in for the night.
You also have to mind the locks when you move into a new home. Call a locksmith to change every lock. Previous homeowners and the people they gave key copies to will still have access to your door.
Another instance when you have to change the locks ASAP is when you notice it’s not working the proper way or when you experienced a recent break-in.
For doors with flimsy locks, such as sliding doors, add another layer of security. Setting a metal bar in the track of the door slide to prevent it from opening is a simple yet effective method. If you have the extra funds, though, upgrade your locks, install deadbolts, and make sure no opening nearby allows a thief an opportunity to reach in and unlock the door or window.
- Buy a Safe for Your Valuables
Although rare, there are times when a burglar may still be able to break into your home despite your security measures. This explains why you can never be too safe – buy a safe to keep your most important valuables in.
Cash, guns, important documents, and jewelry are hot items for burglars. Instead of putting them in your drawer, place them inside a safe.
Choose one that’s big enough to store the things you intend to put in there. Then, hide the safe somewhere inconspicuous. Dressers, studies, bedrooms, and such are the first places they’ll look at, so avoid those.
Many people choose to keep it inside their walls, hidden by an unremarkable painting or else. Some may even take it a notch higher and hide it in a hidden room.
Choose a waterproof and fire-resistant safe to protect your valuables from accidents, too. If you can’t hide it in the wall, choose a heavy model that will be almost impossible to carry out of your house without special equipment.
Learn More Home Safety Tips to Keep Your Home Secure
Like we said above, you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to your home and the safety of your family. Follow our home safety tips to improve your home security, but don’t stop finding other ways to keep it safe. Check out other guides for more tips today.