Today’s post is a “Top 10” of the best ways to deter and delay an intruder – since you already know that the right alarm system is going to detect a break-in, if the bad guy gets that far. I receive a lot of questions about these additional measures for securing a home – so here is my list of the best home security tips!
1. Doors & Locks. The front or back door is the most common point of entry. Make sure you have strong doors and door frames, and use a deadbolt to back up the primary lock. Sliding glass doors are a favorite target for lifting out – and your alarm system’s glassbreak sensor is a good backup if someone breaks through the glass – which they do. The door from the garage into the house also deserves a deadbolt.
2. Windows. Your window locks may not be strong enough, so upgrade them – and use them! Unlocked windows are a frequent point of entry. And remember, one glassbreak sensor can cover many windows in an area. Remember your basement – window bars are good, and don’t forget alarm sensors for down there.
3. Keys and keychains. Chances are your hidden key is not so hard to find: have your friends guess – I bet you’ll need to be a bit more clever. And don’t put an address on your keys. A keychain without an address is useless to a burglar, but with your address it’s a gilt-edged invitation to your home.
4. Light it up. The last thing a burglar wants is to be seen. Exterior lights (especially the ones that are activated by motion) are a great deterrent to intruders, who focus on the rear and sides of your home – which is why we start there when helping you lay out your alarm system. And use lights on timers in your home, especially when away.
5. Get to know your neighbors. It really helps if we are looking out for each other. Here is the Neighborhood Watch link from the National Crime Prevention Council – it contains a wealth of information. Report suspicious behavior – to a would-be burglar, a patrolling squad car is a very powerful message to “Move on!”
6. Lawn and Papers. Nothing is more inviting to a bad guy than the “We’re away!” message. And speaking of neighbors, they appreciate it if your house looks loved and lived-in. Cancel deliveries or task a friend to keep things ship-shape. And remember to think twice about posting your whereabouts – see my previous post on this topic.
7. Get a dog. Dogs are great deterrents to intrusion. Most make noise, which burglars hate, and some are even scary (even if not so to you!). Just like your alarm system’s siren, noise is good. It’s not hard to design an alarm system around your pets – and make sure to add fire monitoring, for their protection. Some people even post a “Beware of Dog” sign – and there’s no Rex to be found.
8. Think like a burglar. This means looking objectively at your home and trying to find a way in. Ladder left outside? Put it away. Shrubs to hide behind, or trees to climb giving access to upstairs? Vents? Dog doors? Get creative – and sneaky! And remember: burglars do cut phone lines, which is why the cellular monitoring models are so much safer.
9. Alarm company signs. Here are a couple of scary stats: (1) the FBI reports that there is a burglary in the US every 15 seconds, and (2) without a monitored alarm systems you are three times more likely to experience a break-in as your neighbor with a system – and that deterrence starts with yard or fence signage and window decals. Make it clear you’re protected, and reduce the risk by encouraging the perp to find another target.
10. Alarm system itself. You already know where I stand on interactive, wireless home security with cellular monitoring. That’s our specialty at FrontPoint Security, and we’re proud to provide peace of mind to countless customers all across the US and Canada.
You can find more tips like these on-line, and here’s a handy link to a great video by the Houston, TX police on securing your home. Of course, it ends with a strong recommendation to install that monitored alarm system – and turn it on!