Home Security 101: Beyond the Alarm System
But even the best home security system works only after a break-in has occurred.
Use this preventative guide to home security to ensure your home is protected – beyond the alarm system.
Step 1: Deceive Would-Be Thieves
The first step to deterring prospective thieves? Make them believe you are at home. Instead of advertising your absence with an empty driveway and an overflowing mailbox, create a set of ruses to keep prospective thieves second-guessing.
There are several ways to go about creating this illusion:
- Lights and electronics, such as a television or a radio, can be set on timers to turn off and on at predetermined times.
- Turn down the volume of your telephone so prowlers cannot hear whether or not you answer the phone.
- Set up your phone to forward calls to another number, such as your cellphone or to a trusted friend, to prevent thieves from testing your number to see if someone picks up.
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn or remove snow from your driveway.
- Ask a neighbour to use your garbage cans for garbage collection a couple of times while you are away.
Step 2: Make it Difficult to Break In
Securing your house properly is a preventative measure that can foil even the most elaborate robbery attempts. There are several weak points in your home you should be aware of:
The most obvious place to enter your home is through a door. Be sure all external entrances to your home are protected by solid wood or strong reinforced steel-wrapped doors. This prevents thieves from smashing through door frames or wedging them open with crowbars.
Windows are one of the easiest ways to break into a home. All your windows should be closed and locked if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time. Install reinforced glass with invisible security films for windows located within arm’s reach of any door locks.
Most sliding patio doors are equipped with flimsy locks which often do not lock properly. Place a metal rod in the track of your sliding door to prevent them opening more than a few inches.
The deadbolt is the first line of defense against unwanted home intruders, choosing the correct deadbolt is paramount to successful deterrence. In addition to locking your door, a good deadbolt should prevent thieves from sawing through the bolt itself, levering the bolt out of place or drilling straight through the actual lock.
The other half to the deadbolt, the strike plate, is a further deterrent for any thieves looking to enter through your front door. The strike plate is a flat metal piece which attaches to the doorframe over the location where the door’s spring-loaded latch pops into place. Screwed several inches into the door frame, an effective strike plate acts to further reinforce the door against forced entry.
Step 3: Offer No Place to Hide
Although thieves are usually depicted as nocturnal prowlers sneaking through basement windows, many robberies take place during the day when people are more likely to be away at school or work. Keeping that in mind, be sure the immediate area around your house is clear of shrubs, low lying tree branches or any other foliage which could potentially conceal a burglar’s work.
Furthermore, motion sensor lights are always a good way to deter nighttime prowling.
Step 4: Get to Know Your Neighbours
Your neighbours do not have to be your new best friends, but it is a good idea to get to know them. Aside from being able to borrow their lawn mower, this mutually beneficial relationship means you can look out for each other’s homes when one of you are away. For further neighbourly assistance, join your local Neighbourhood Watch chapter.
Even the most secure of homes can fall victim to an unfortunate accident – as a homeowner, you deserve the peace of mind of knowing that your home is protected. Besides alarm systems and locks, be sure all of your insurance needs are met. Desjardin offers “all risk” coverage which covers a wide variety of risks, such as fire, theft, and water damage. Speak to your insurer if you’re unsure whether your home is adequately covered, and rest easy knowing that you’re doing all you can to protect your home and everything in it.