Burglaries occur every 15 seconds in the United States. Even more worrying for new homeowners is the fact that 73 percent of those robberies happen to residential properties.
Home safety should be one of your top priorities when moving into a house, so here are the first 10 things you should do to help secure your new home.
1. Secure the doors.
Roughly 33 percent of burglars enter through the front door. Perform an inspection of not only your front door, but all doors around your home. Make sure t the frames are strong, the hinges are protected, the wood is not hollow, and, if your door has a mail slot, that someone can’t reach through it to unlock the door. The front door might be a nice focal point of your house, but don’t sacrifice security for a pretty view. If your door doesn’t have a peephole or a deadbolt, you should install those immediately to help make the door even more secure.
2. Lock the windows.
The latches manufacturers place on windows aren’t always effective, and sometimes they’re downright flimsy. Replace them with locks or key-operated levers to help beef up your safety. You might also consider inserting laminated or tempered glass for a stronger hold. As many as 23 percent of home burglaries occur through first-story windows, but don’t forget to secure the basement and second-story windows as well.
3. Purchase a security system.
All homes should have some form of security system, whether it’s a basic camera installation or a fully monitored smart system. Evaluate the needs for your area and choose a system you’re comfortable with. Some of the basics to consider include an alarm, motion sensors for the doors and windows, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
4. Meet the neighbors.
Your neighbors can be a helpful first line of defense against a home invasion. They know the area and can help keep an eye on your home when you’re away — but they can’t do that if they don’t know you. Make an effort to meet your new neighbors and form good relationships so you’ll have people to rely on. If something fishy is happening in your area, a good neighbor will call and let you know.
5. Perform a mock burglary.
Now that you’ve made friends with the neighbors, have one of them walk around and through your house to look for things that aren’t secure. Are valuables out in plain sight? Can you see through the curtains into the home? A mock burglary can give you great insight into areas of your security plan that might need tightening up.
6. Find your resources.
Find information on contacting the local police, check for a neighborhood watch program, and see what other resources your area has available to aid in home safety. Some local police forces will send an officer over to give you tips on securing your home for your family.
7. Light up the landscape.
The FBI states the majority of burglaries occur during the day, likely when you’re at work. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to secure your home at night. Place lights around your front and back yard. Use lights that come equipped with motion sensors for added protection. An intruder might be less inclined to break in if there is a spotlight on them.
8. Eliminate hiding places.
Shrubs and bushes may give your house curb appeal, but they also provide burglars with a handy place to hide. Trim down trees and plants close to your home that could be used for cover and opt for smaller flowers instead.
9. Add security signs.
Many security providers also include yard signs and window decals with security packages to help deter potential burglars. If you have them, put them up. If you don’t have a security system, weigh the pros and cons of fake signage. Sometimes the belief that there’s a security system inside can be as effective as actually having one.
10. Come up with a plan.
It’s not enough to have security measures in place — you have to have a plan in case they fail. Sit down with your family and come up with a simple routine to help secure your home. Set rules for opening the door for strangers, locking the doors and windows whenever you leave, and using the alarm system. Make sure your kids know what to do should a break-in occur and have an exit strategy in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Click below to use our Home Security Checklist. Easily identify and improve potential weaknesses in your home’s security.