After conducting a home security review, you should have a better idea of the overall safety and vulnerabilities of your home. Here are some ideas to get you started on a plan to guard those gaps.
Home Security Tips for Outside Your Home
- Consider erecting a fence with a locking side gate or, if you already have a fence in place, repair or replace broken or rotted sections.
- Make sure that the footpath to the front door is unshielded by bushes, allowing for greater visibility of anyone approaching.
- Lighting can be a great security measure. Depending on conditions, consider installing lights controlled by a switch, timer, or motion detectors. Also, make sure that you have a bright porch light so that you can see who is at the door.
- Ensure that your house number or name is clearly visible from the street for emergency services.
- Check locks and general security of all outbuildings: garage, shed, greenhouse, etc.
- Secure bikes, tools, or other expensive equipment in a locking shed or garage.
- Make certain that ladders or ropes (tools that would make it easier for someone to gain entry to your home) are locked securely away.
- Create the illusion of a watchdog with a "Beware of Dog" sign or scattered dog toys.
- If possible, keep vehicles in the garage. This makes it more difficult for anyone watching your house to track your behavior.
- Never leave personal documents in the trashcan on the curb. This makes your most cherished asset the easiest to steal: your identity! Shred or burn any waste containing valuable information.
- Strategic landscaping can also work to your advantage. Consider planting prickly bushes around the perimeter of your property and trimming unruly bushes that could serve as cover for an intruder. Trim back overhanging trees that could help a criminal to climb over any fence you have.
- Invest in a home security system or display a sign indicating that you have one.
Home Security Tips for Inside Your Home
- The most common way for an intruder to gain entry into your home is by pretending to be someone else: a delivery person, solicitor, or even a police officer. Always ask to see identification and ask them to read the full address for the delivery (chances are that if they're an intruder, they don't have your address memorized!).
- If you don't have a window by your front door, install a wide-angle viewer (or peephole). If you have children, make sure that they have a way to view the porch, too.
- Give some thought to your interior lighting plan. Make sure switches are easily accessible, or consider installing a centrally located master control panel. Also, when you're away from home at night or early in the morning, leave lights on in different areas of the house each time you leave.
- Make sure all windows and doors are sound and lock securely. Consider inserting a length of metal or wood into the track of sliding doors or windows to prevent them from being forced open.
- Ensure that your blinds or curtains sufficiently cover windows or purchase coverings if you have windows that remain unprotected.
- Check location and functionality of smoke detectors. Experts can advise on the number and positioning of smoke detectors; a safe bet is one per room.
- Ensure that the rooms in which you spend most of your time have telephone access.
- Leave talk radio on when you will be away from home for longer than a few hours.
- Consider ways to switch up your schedule so that anyone monitoring your movements won't be able to make easy predictions or assumptions about your behavior.
- Don't hide keys outside! Give emergency keys to two family members or close friends who live nearby.
- Keep a log of all valuables and their worth, inside and outside, for insurance purposes.
Home Security Tips for When You're Away
- Tell a trustworthy neighbor when you're going out of town and when you expect to be home. Be sure to let them know if you expect any services or deliveries while you're gone. Leave them with contact information. Leave a key with them or a close friend or family member (provide your neighbor with that contact information, too, so they have someone to call should anything seem out of place). Ask them to remove any items collecting around the house, such as newspapers, fliers, or mail. Be sure to let them know if you have a security system!
- If you'll be gone for an extended period of time, ask a close friend or family member to maintain the exterior of the house by mowing the yard, watering plants, or in the winter, shoveling the driveway.
- Set the thermostat at about 50 degrees in the winter time to protect piping while not wasting energy.
- Install timers on a few lights throughout your house. Don't overdo it, but do consider all levels and areas of your home.
- Plan ahead; if possible, cancel services or expected deliveries for that time period.