How Secure is your Home?

by : IC

When it comes to home security, a lot of people don't worry about it until something bad has already happened. Their home has been broken into and they've lost valuable possessions. Maybe someone was even hurt. Hopefully, you haven't had any trouble yet, and you're just thinking ahead. The smart thing to do is to prevent these things from happening in the first place.

This article can serve as a checklist for deciding if your home is safe and secure. If you know it's not, the following information can give you a place to start.

1. Neighborhood

Take an objective look at the neighborhood where you live. Have there been four or more burglaries within a few blocks in the last few years? If so, you may be considered to live in a high risk area.

Do you live within a few blocks of a major highway (which can provide an easy escape route for thieves) or a wooded area (where they can hide)? Do you live on a cul-de-sac? Thieves often target low-traffic areas, since they're less likely to be seen.

If you don't have a neighborhood watch program, you may also be at a higher risk.

2. The House

Now it's time to turn that objective examination onto your house. Do you have valuable jewelry, artwork, high-end electronics, or collections worth money? If so, do a lot of people know about these items? Are they visible from windows? This could make you a target for a burglar.

Do you keep a spare house key outside, such as under a mat, above the door, in a flowerpot? Thieves know all these hiding spots, so this is not a good idea.

What about your doors? Are they solid wood or metal, or are they hollow-core doors, which can be kicked down? Are all doors leading inside (including through the garage) secured with heavy-duty dead-bolt locks and reinforced strike plates? Do you have a pet door and if so is it large enough to allow a human to enter?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, your house may be an attractive target to burglars.

3. The Yard

Home security isn't just about the house; it's about the property too. Do you have trees and if so are any of the limbs close to the house where they might allow an agile climber access to a balcony or second-story window? Are there trees or shrubbery that could provide hiding places next to doors and walkways? Does the landscaping prevent the neighbors from seeing into your yard? (While you may like your privacy, keep in mind that privacy gives thieves a place to hide while they do their work.)

Is your lawn mowed and the yard maintained, or does an overgrown appearance give the idea that the owners might be away on a trip?

Do you have valuable outdoor equipment in the yard, which might tempt burglars (i.e. outdoor speakers, electronics, high-end recreation gear, etc.)? Is there an unlocked shed or garage with tools that could be used to break into the house (ladders, hammers, etc.)?

Again, if you answered yes to these questions, it may be time to step up your home security efforts. You don't necessarily need to spend tons of money on a state-of-the-art alarm system (unless you live in a high risk area or would simply feel more comfortable with one), but for your safety, it is important to address the issues raised here.