by Lucinda Watrous
A home security audit is the best way to identify weak points in your physical security. Take the time to evaluate your home not from an aesthetic point of view, but from that of a criminal. Look for ways you could break into your home if you locked your keys inside. Then consider how much further someone would be willing to go to get inside if they didn’t care about damaging the house.
Inspect the Exterior
Walk outside and thoroughly examine the exterior of your home, including entrances, windows, and the surrounding physical area. Prune shrubs and trees leading up to the house, and those around windows and doors, closely enough to make it impossible for someone to conceal themselves. House numbers need to be clearly displayed and easily visible from the road to assist emergency responders in locating the home in case of an emergency.
Check Your Doors
All doors should be of a solid material and locked with a deadbolt of at least one inch. One of the newest innovations to come into the home security market are smart locks. These devices allow your smartphone to become a digital key that unlocks a deadbolt. This can boost your security by making it quicker and easier for you to enter your home. A digital monitoring system for your doors allows you to see who is at your door whether you’re there or not.
Watch Your Windows
Windows are an easy target for thieves wanting to gain entrance to a home. They are far easier to open or break, and are typically not monitored as closely. To make your windows more secure it is essential to make sure they are always locked, even if they are partially opened. Never leave windows open when the family is away from the house, and ensure the exterior space around them is adequately illuminated. As an additional security precaution, many home security companies will add motion sensors to windows to alert residents if they are tampered with. There are also numerous options available for private installation.
Don’t Forget the Garage
The garage is an often overlooked exterior entrance, especially if people use the space for storage instead of for parking. It’s important that you reinforce the garage door itself to make access to the area more difficult. Garage door armor is a lot like adding a deadbolt to the biggest entrance to your home. However, the secondary point of entry is the door between the house and the garage. It should be as sturdy as the other exterior doors, and also fitted with a deadbolt.
Most people store their most valuable items in their bedrooms, which makes it an ideal location for a safe. When choosing a safe look for one that would be difficult to move, ideally more than 100lbs. It is easy to take smaller safes and open them in a more leisurely setting. If the safe has to be opened before the criminals are able to leave, it is possible they won’t bother and will instead move on to more easily accessible items. Take the time to secure all items of value, including jewelry, heirlooms, and firearms. This may require more than one safe, but the investment is worth it as a deterrent and as a safety measure.
Technology is rapidly changing home security. Making your home as secure as possible has become something tech savvy people can do for a fraction of the cost of working with a home security service. You can watch what is going on in your home from your smartphone. The variety and functionality of devices is expanding at a rapid rate and each new iteration makes it easier than ever to secure your home. While performing your home security audit, consider the ways high tech options might make your life easier and your home safer.
Completing a home security audit will force you to think of the ways in which you and your family are vulnerable. Many people avoid doing this because it is scary to think about someone else invading your space in such a way. Unfortunately, according to the FBI, there is a burglary in the United States about every 15 seconds. Take the time to make your house as secure as possible, and avoid becoming a statistic.