Need Security Tips
I'm looking for basic security suggestions. Little non tech things I can do myself to enhance home security. I plan on looking into a security system, but want to do the basic things too.
I have a deck on the back of the house, and the door leading to the deck is a steel door, with full glass, and that worries me. Should I replace it?
My ideas so far are to use light timers on a couple of lamps and a clock radio. Second idea is to add wood bar inserts to the windows to prevent them from being opened even if the lock is somehow broken.
I am a single woman with a handicapped daughter. This used to be a home with a man of the house and a dog, but the man and dog are both gone (you don't want to hear that story). This is a low crime area, but if I'm gone a lot, and I will be in the summer, someone may figure it out and take advantage of my absence.
Think about it, even if the whole door was steel, what would stop someone from just breaking a window.
Inside light on a timer, outside lights on sencers, keep the bushes cut low around the house, dead bolts on the doors.
All cheap and easy to do.
One lived behind me and the other across the street...
and NOTHING went on without them taking notice of it.
You should look into getting some of your own.
If its a low crime area try not to worry too much. You can't live your life being scared all the time
How about... a big huge pair of broken in work boots placed stragically in view to give the place a male presence. Plus a few scattered items to give large dog presence
Motion detector outside lights, some sort of recorded huge dog barking. ( no idea how that would work)
Self defence training and for goodness sake stop watching criminal minds late at night with the lights out.
Definitely the best suggestion. Although when the dust settles in your personal life, you may find these same ladies cramping your style :laughing:
Know your neighbors. If you don't know them, get to know them.
Lock your doors and windows when you are away or asleep. Many crimes are those of opportunity, and are what I refer to as "walk-ins", rather than "break-ins".
Try to arrange furniture such that flat screen televisions, expensive stereo systems, etc. are not in plain sight of someone walking up to your door.
Wood dowels, or similar devices in the door tracks are good. Depending on circumstances, perhaps cut them a bit short, so that a window can be left partially open for air circulation, and still secured.
Security lighting and a radio are good.
Trim bushes around doors and windows to prevent areas for someone to lurk where you are most vulnerable, fumbling with your keys, groceries, etc.
Ask your local law enforcement agency, whether city or village police department, sheriff's dep't., etc. for advice. Many of them are more than happy to stop by our house, and make specific recommendations.
Have a plan. While burglaries are not good, a home invasion can be much worse. What will you do? Where is the phone? Do you have an audible alarm? I'll bet you do; how about the panic button on your vehicle's key fob? An oft overlooked deterent, which is not going to sound inviting to an intruder.
Know your neighbors. If you don't know them, get to know them.
This is kind of up my alley.....
1. Don't have anything that is visible that would encourage someone break in and take it.
2. Dog(s). A dog in the house or backyard will cause 99% of the bad guys to find another house.
3. Motion Lights
4. Trash....don't leave the box the TV came in at the curb for trash pick up. Kind of like advertising "I have a new flat panel TV".
Don't get carried away with bars on the windows and big locks. Almost all home burglaries take place during the day when no one is home. They knock on the front door. If no one answers, they go around the back and break a window. Locks only keep honest people honest.
A monitored alarm only tells you when they broke in. By the time the police are called, bad guys are gone.
An alarm system is not a bad idea...but don't spend a whole lot of money on them. They are good for sounding an audible alarm when someone breaks in....this will cause 99.9% of the guys to leave.....assuming they were not afraid of the dog. The alarm system is also nice if it has the audible anoucement feature....lets you know when any outside doors are opened....as in your daughter coming or going.
At night....keep the curtains closed.
I was always told that time, light and noise are the things burglars hate most. Other criminals have different issues.
As mentioned, a team of home burglars can be in and out of house almost if not absolutely between the time an alarm system beeps for the code and it actually goes off. They know where to look and can ransack a place in just a couple of minutes. It happened to me once and it is a creepy feeling. They got very little of value but a couple sets of cufflinks my grandfather gave me.
Total irony, a friend who sold dental alloys was staying at my place when I was out of town. His briefcase with about $30K in metal was sitting by the doorway and they walked right passed it because it was so butt ugly. He always traveled with real quality luggage but that looked so awful nobody would touch it.
So, disguise your valuables and do not put them in the usual places. Burglars will not take the time to look for them and will find no attraction at all to ugly things in the first place. Not saying to make your place look tacky.
Dowels, etc. in sliding door and window frames will slow thieves down. Crime prevention folks from the Evanston Police Department once taught me to drill holes through casement window frames on each side and put 20p steel nails in them. Simple and effective. I drilled a second set so I could open them somewhat for ventilation.
Burglars don't like the possibility of their activities being seen so definitely keep shrubs trimmed and put motion sensors on outdoor lights.
Burglars do not like noise and most honest alarm company folk will tell you the audible siren will do as much good or more than the silent central monitoring. And believe it or not, you can get alarm systems that trigger the siren and the sound of a mean old dog on the inside of the house.
Do call the crime prevention team at the police department or whatever unit assigned to such community relations things. They will send someone pleasant out to offer suggestions. Let the police department know when you are traveling and out of town for periods of time. They will not put a unit on your home but will often route an extra patrol pass.
Patrol cars only have 2-4 paid eyes. There are many more if you have neighbors so do get to know them at least to the point you can mention you are going to be away. Cancel or have someone get your mail and newspapers. Return the favor and keep an eye out when they are away or report suspicious activity. Burglars tend to work hoods once they get away with one home so it is in all of your interest to stop them in their tracks before they gain confidence.
Timers on indoor lights are a good idea but invest in something like an inexpensive x-10 system that randomizes things a bit. You can also buy inexpensive x-10 type alarm components.
Lock down everything as good and reasonably as you can. Basically any easy forceful entry will not be possible without doing bigger (and loud) damage. Get a monitored alarm system. If you want to save money, skip all the door/window sensors, go with a few infrared motion sensors in key areas of the house. Think like a robber, where would you be likely to check out for stuff to steal? Make sure the sensor hits those paths. Most now are pet safe so if you do decide to get a dog or cat, the animal will be too small to trigger it.
You might go 20, 40, even 60 years without a B&E but it only takes once, to realize the devastation it will do to you and possibly loved ones if someone happens to be in the house when it happens. I see it kinda like insurance. Good idea to have an alarm system. Even in my small town there are B&E's all the time. Mostly commercial locations, but they do hit homes too sometimes.
On top of having a system you also want to make your house the least attractive to burglars, as suggested. The window sticker and yard sign also help as most crooks rather not bother with a house that has an alarm system if they can find one without. And have lots of light outside.
Also, make sure the "brain" module of the system is in some locked metal box somewhere in the basement, and get an auxiliary one for your entry. Typically the keypad is the brain. A robber comes in, smashes the keypad, alarm disabled. So you want that out of sight completely.
Drapes are good too, make sure they can't see inside the house. They'll be less likely to try to peak inside as they don't know if you're standing right there or not. Also keep in mind that they'll usually know whether or not you're there just by if there's a car in the driveway. so the timers are almost useless for every day usage. Timers are better when you go on vacation and leave the car behind. Then it just looks like you're off work for a week or something.
Avoid storing knives and other weapon-worthy items near the door/windows, or outside. Ex: if you have a wood pile outside or something, I would not leave the axe just laying there. If you have a shed/garage, make sure it is locked and also protected by the security system.
In order of cost...
Beware of dog sign.
Fake alarm company stickers/panel.
Really loud, audible alarm connected to doors and windows.
OK, so I'm going to do these things;
Do I need to replace my deck door? The door I have looks like this.
1. Get a dog. They make great pets, and a barking dog inside a house makes it less appealing to break into.
2. Install motion-sensor lights on all 4 sides of the house. Have them on the second floor, if you have 2 floors.
3. Do not run the exact same schedule, and run the exact same routine, every day.
4. Make sure all doors and windows lock properly, and can be secured - especially those on ground level.
Good luck! :)
I have had a monitored alarm system in several of my houses. While they may seem like a good idea, they are frankly more trouble than they're worth. I never once had a "real" alarm - every single one (seemingly once a month or so) was accidental. They were much more frequent when the kids were still at home.
We now live in a very rural part of WV and have few neighbors. Most are our age (60+) and many are retired. Everything surrounding us is wooded private property with no houses and no through traffic. Response to any alarm or 911 call would exceed 30 minutes, so a monitored alarm system would be a waste of money. We lock our doors at night but that's about it. When we first met the neighbors, I did make it a point to slip into the conversation that I am retired military, a former police officer, and that both my wife and I own guns and know how to use them.
speaking as a former police officer (4 years big city), Monitored Alarm Systems are a joke (the one exception being the Life Alert style for medical emergencies).
At best, they let us know where to take the burglary report and at worst, the City starts hitting you in the pocket book for false alarms.
In 4 years I didn't go to one monitored call on a residence where an actual burglary had taken place.
If your going to get a Monitored one it should be silent during the day with a strobing light on the front of the house near the address numbers.
Show your neighbors where the strobe is and if they are home during the day ask them if the alarm company can contact them.
Mr Dog...YOU were a copper??? who knew....
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