Safe and Secure: 5 Ways to Ensure Your Home Is Protected.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.
Crime statistics, on the whole, may be on the decline but that’s small comfort to the millions of homeowners across the country. Each year, over 3 million home burglaries occur, with 28 percent of these crimes happening while a member of the household was present. Even more terrifying is the fact that 7 percent of these cases led to a violent encounter.
State and local authorities certainly do their part to protect our homes, but it’s a simple reality that police, neighborhood watches, and other organizations are not enough to deter criminals. Ultimately, the responsibility for defending your home lies with you. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your home is protected.
1. Keys to the Kingdom
Whether growing up or as a current homeowner, you’ve doubtless had the extra key surreptitiously hidden beneath a potted plant or loose stone. It’s such a common strategy that it should come as no surprise that criminals often look for these items hidden on your property. Rather than using this strategy, take it as an opportunity to form a mutually beneficial relationship with your neighbors.
Store your extra key, along with contact info and emergency numbers, with a trusted neighbor who can also keep an eye on your property while you’re away. You can return the favor by holding onto their key as well, thereby establishing a bond of trust between you and nearby residents. Community involvement is vital in protecting your neighborhood from crime and relying on each other in this way is an excellent means to establish a security-minded community.
2. Fear of the Dark
Lighting up the outside your home isn’t just a convenient way of illuminating pathways and staircases. A well-lit home is much safer in terms of preventing break-ins as well. It’s been shown that improved streetlights reduce crime, so there’s little reason not to extend this same protection directly onto your property.
Try to locate outdoor lights above obvious entry points like front and back doors, garage doors, and basement entries. If you’re concerned about your energy budget, consider using lights hooked up to motion sensors. This will save on both energy usage and require you to replace bulbs less often. Positioning is also important, so make sure to install lights roughly 9 feet up from ground level to prevent would-be thieves and vandals from interfering with them.
3. Loose Lips Sink Ships
Thanks in part to the widespread availability of smartphones, we’ve reached a point to where many people openly document most of their goings-on. Whether through Instagram posts, Facebook, or any other number of social media platforms, it’s common for people to share everything from their weekend plans to vacation photos. You may think this information is innocuous, but it can potentially put your home at risk for a break-in.
Imagine that next week you’re setting off for a three-day camping trip. Wanting to share this information with your friends is natural, but posting it to your social media accounts puts that information into a public space, so thieves and criminals now have specific knowledge that your home will be empty and defenseless. Therefore, if you plan to post information regarding plans that will take you away from your home for a set period of time, think wisely before posting that information online, as even trusted friends may harbor ill intentions when presented with such a perfect opportunity.
4. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Landscaping your property isn’t just about adding curb appeal. It’s certainly easier to let your yard’s vegetation grow wild, but doing so may invite thieves and burglars. Getting away with a home break-in is made all the easier when the property in question offers protection from prying eyes, which overgrown trees and bushes may provide.
Even with adequate outdoor lighting, untamed shrubbery, bushes, or trees will give burglars perfectly hidden spaces to hide or, if grown directly against the side of the house, access windows and side doors to perform their break-in. Take the time to cut back any overgrown branches so that entry points like windows and doors can be seen clearly by both neighbors and passing vehicles.
If you’re a homeowner then chances are your time is at a premium. Mortgages don’t pay themselves and between your work life and leisure activities, you’d be hard-pressed to find the time to watch over your property with any regularity. While neighbors and police can offer some protection while you’re away, their own responsibilities mean there will inevitably be times when your home is vulnerable to intrusion.
The simplest way and most cost-effective way to defend your home’s various vulnerabilities is with a comprehensive home security system. These systems offer a broad range of solutions, from cameras to watch when you can’t to entry alarms that won’t fail where locks may. One key advantage of having a home security system installed is that it allows you access to a broad range of security measures under a single price, rather than having to piecemeal these implements together yourself.
A Comprehensive Approach
Your home is meant to be a refuge from the troubles and stresses of the outside world, so when it comes to protecting your personal space, don’t neglect any of the tools at your disposal. Work together with neighbors to protect each other’s property and stow your extra key with residents you trust in case of an emergency. Keep your home well-lit and clear of visual obstacles and, for maximum protection, have a comprehensive security system professionally installed.
Now it’s your turn, how do you keep your home safe and protected?