Home Security Tips: Secure Your Family from Intruders

Home Security Tips: Secure Your Family from Intruders

How do you protect your home, your property, your family, and everything that matters to you the most? A secure home is a safe home, and deterring crime is getting easier every day.

Home security is about making your home a harder target to crack, and even if a persistent predator is able to grasp some sort of success, you will buy valuable time while gathering as much evidence as possible to catch the perpetrator. Here are a few ways to protect your home from theft with low-tech, high-tech, and robust security options.

15 Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Protection

Before getting to the deeper explanations, here is a checklist of areas to cover as you work on your home security plan:

1. Check the doorknobs

Does your doorknob wobble or jiggle rather than turn smoothly in the socket? It could be damaged in a way that thieves can remove and enter with a technique that isn’t obvious to you.

2. Check the door frame for forced entry

If the door has been breached before, it’s easier to use a pry bar or other tool for an additional entry. Replace the frame if heavily dented.

If the door has been breached before, it’s easier to use a pry bar or other tool for an additional entry. Replace the frame if heavily dented.

3. Look for loose or damaged hinges
Thieves may work on weakening security across multiple days. The hinges may be loose, and a thief could simply lift the door away when you’re gone.

4. Check the door frame for rot or mold
A rotten frame can be bent enough to open the door without a lock.

5. Install a deadbolt
Deadbolts are secondary locks with strong bars that make lock picking and frame entry harder.

6. Inspect the peephole
Make sure you can see any visitors clearly. A video doorbell is another option, but won’t work without power.

7. Check the window locks
Locks can be weakened just like hinges or may fall apart over time.

8. Check the window frame
Just like a door frame, weak window frames and sills make prying and lifting windows away easy.

9. Install secondary window locks
Deadbolts and backup locks will make thieves take more time to break in.

10. Invest in backup power
Having a well-lit home with ways to communicate with emergency services will make natural disasters less of a criminal risk.

11. Install outdoor lighting
Illuminate the outdoors to make it harder for criminals to sneak in the shadows.

12. Invest in a surveillance system
Video evidence can help catch successful thieves or track suspicious persons before they formulate a plan against you or your neighborhood.

13. Secure outdoor property
Use chains or build a shed to protect bicycles, grills, and other outdoor items.

14. Create an emergency escape plan
With more security and more time against thieves, have a way to lock yourself in for safety or escape to safety outdoors. Have a communication plan to contact neighbors and police to bring safety and witnesses.

15. Join or begin a neighborhood watch program
If you live with multiple neighbors, making sure everyone watches the neighborhood will keep criminals uncomfortable while making things safer for residents, visitors, and lost travelers.

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Deadbolts and New Locks for Home Security

Was your home broken into recently? Are you worried about break-ins because of neighborhood crime problems, or do you just like to secure your home in affordable ways?

Doors and windows are the first places to look. If you haven’t been a victim of a crime or if you’re just performing basic security, you can easily accent your home’s décor with a deadbolt lock.

Deadbolt locks add an additional layer of security to the standard doorknob and lock set. These locks act as a second security barrier, making it harder for thieves to break in.

For most thieves, time is of the essence. They need to figure out how to get around the door or through the door, and a deadbolt provides multiple areas of security. The lock mechanism means one more lock to pick, and the deadbolt makes sliding credit cards and other prying tools through basic locks harder.

Along with your new lock, consider getting a lock from somewhere other than your local hardware store. If you can buy the cheapest locks from a local hardware store, so can local thieves. Buying a lock for practice will help thieves identify the brand and skill needed to break into their neighborhood’s homes.

Ordering a lock online or buying a rarer lock and doorknob set with a deadbolt lock means getting a different system than what rookie thieves are dealing with. Veteran thieves can do a better job against any system, but the deadbolt still means more time—and more left-behind evidence—that could lead to capture.

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Physical Security Inspections Are Vital

Any home needs to cover the basics of physical security. Locks and deadbolts are a must, but you need to make sure that your home isn’t full of other weak points.

Home maintenance and home improvement are vital if you want everything else in your security plan. What’s the point in getting a lock if a thief can bust through a rotten door frame or pry their way through an unlocked window?

Make sure that your home’s structural integrity is as close to normal as purpose. All entries need to be inspected for cracks, loose connections, broken parts, or intentionally removed security features.

This may include windows that lack locking latches, loose door handles, or door frames that have been forced open in the past. If the entry area looks damaged, are you sure that it hasn’t been loosened to some secret technique that a thief could open in seconds?

You don’t need to be an international spy or security expert to solve that problem. Don’t you know anything about door frames or window locks? You can bring in home construction, remodeling, or home security professional in for a simple inspection.

Specialists are valuable, but some of the most obvious security problems can be spotted with people who have construction and design experience. If you’re in the middle of a criminal investigation, allow law enforcement to inspect and document compromised areas. If it’s just broken, skip ahead to replacing the problem.

Replacing doors and windows can be expensive, but how expensive is a home invasion? If you can’t spare the money for a replacement window or door frame—or an entirely new window or door with new connections—there are reinforcement bars that a security professional can help you figure out.

That said, windows and doors aren’t much more expensive than many security options. High-quality, high-design windows and doors are pricey, but you can find security doors for around $100.

If your door frame or window frame is damaged, you will need professional installation. That can be more expensive, but reach out for financial help if your property or life is in danger.

Government programs such as HUD can help you replace parts of your home, especially if you have a police report or were the victim of a natural disaster. If you’re renting, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to provide a safe and secure home, and a home inspection can determine if your safety is compromised due to the home’s level of disrepair.

Surveillance and Recording Options

The world of home security is changing as computers and the internet become faster and more affordable. The world of low-cost web cameras (webcams), laptops, and smartphones has also delivered affordable home surveillance.

Modern home surveillance systems have high-quality images and affordable night vision. Not only can you record security video in HD (high definition), but you can save video files and move them to and from computers.

In the early 2000’s and prior, law enforcement and private persons would need to burn video evidence onto discs like CDs or DVDs or invest in expensive tape decks. You can still do all of that as a backup plan, but modern surveillance systems can copy and paste onto a few of these modern options:

USB drive. Also known as a thumb drive or flash drive. Some are handheld sticks, while others are blocks that hold a lot of data. You can copy the information over to other computers or even upload (send) information to the internet.

SD card. Small cards that hold files. These were originally popular in digital cameras, but are in most smartphones and can be used with any computer. SD card readers are extremely cheap and only need to perform a basic plug-in and read job.

Hard drive. Hard drives in any computer will work the same way. These bulk storage units turn your surveillance system into a computer in its own right. Mid-tier and advanced surveillance systems are computers and can be clicked and typed on for easy use.

Solid state drive (SSD). The modern upgrade of hard drive. SSDs use the same tech as flash drives or thumb drives and have no moving parts. They move files faster but are more expensive.

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on these systems, but spending a little over $100 is fair. If you’re not tech-savvy, get a surveillance system that advertises easy computer access.

A security professional should install the camera system to make sure that thieves aren’t able to easily break into the camera system or hack in. While most residential thieves aren’t hackers—after all, digital crime is faster and with better payoff than breaking into homes—people with expensive physical assets may be the targets of more sophisticated criminals.

Physical security and digital security can come together for an affordable security upgrade. You don’t need to spend even $1000 to bring it all together. Start with deadbolts, check your home’s maintenance needs, and invest in some home surveillance tech.

Contact a home security professional to get help with putting your security plan together in parts or as a whole package.

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