A new home can be unfamiliar, especially in terms of security. When choosing a house and neighborhood, evaluate the safety of not only the house’s structure and surrounding area. Here are some ideas on how to ensure that your new home is safe.
- Inspect the house’s yard and the surrounding yards. Unkempt properties are a more likely target for intruders because they imply a lack of habitation or care.
- Trees that are close to the home can provide access to a higher floor entry.
- Overgrown bushes and landscaping give intruders more hiding places. Check the property for potential covers for intruders.
- Certain locations are more susceptible to floods. Find past records of flooding in your area if the house is near large bodies of water.
- Particularly dry areas of high temperature are also more likely to spread and start fires.
- Make sure that enough natural lighting reaches the yard. Look for sources of artificial light as well for nighttime around the house.
- Check the doors for sturdiness. Make sure they are made of solid wood or metal, and they are not worn from age or use. Many intruders enter households by kicking in the front door.
- In addition make sure there are no windows near the door that intruders could break to unlock the door from the inside.
- Inspect all possible points of entry for intruders. Make sure windows and doors all close and lock properly.
- The house number should be clearly seen from a distance. Police and other officials may use this to find you and help more quickly in an emergency.
After you have decided your new home will keep you safe and comfortable, there are still some more measures to protect your home against intruders.
Practice Safe Habits
- Keep the garage door closed so intruders cannot use it as a means of entry. Many intruders enter households through doors in the garage because they are less likely to be locked or reinforced.
- Do not keep a key hidden around the house. Rather, keep your spare keys with a trusted neighbor.
- If you have a tool shed, make sure it is also well secured. Otherwise, it may provide tools for intruders to use when breaking in.
- Have phone calls from your home forwarded to your cell phone if you are not home, so others won’t know when you are gone.
Reinforce Doors and Windows
- Rekey or replace the locks of your house. This will ensure that you are the only one with copies of your key.
- Install anti-lift devices for the windows so intruders cannot use them to enter your home. You can use through-the-frame pins for vertical sliding windows, and wooden sticks or dowels for horizontal sliding windows.
- The windows should open no more than 6 inches for ventilation.
- Sliding glass doors should also have anti-lift devices to keep them from being lifted out of the track. You can use through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
- For sliding doors, keep the latch and door rollers working properly.
- If you do not already have them, install deadbolts and strike plates in all doors.
Install a Security System
- A home without a security system is 3 times more likely to be broken into, and losses due to burglaries average $400 more.
- Surveillance cameras will help you keep an eye on all areas of your house.
- Yard security such as a lawn perimeter alarm will also deter intruders before they even get close to your home.
- Certain security systems allow you to control your house locks even when you are far away. This eliminates the need to keep spare keys, which can fall into the wrong hands.
- Alarms will immediately and effectively alert you to an intruder, so you can keep your family and home safe.
- Make all aspects of your home security system secure and effective. Intruders will be able to find the weakest spot of your system and use it.
Maintain Your House and Yard
- If the house’s lighting isn’t sufficient, install lights and lamps around the house to eliminate any hiding places.
- Keep the greenery trimmed and well kept. Intruders use overgrown bushes and trees to stay out of sight.
- If you have a gate, keep it in good condition. It won’t completely stop intruders but it will deter them, and they are very easily spotted when trying to climb over fences.
- Do not leave personal property lying around in the yard. This signals to outsiders that the homeowner has items worth stealing and can convey carelessness.
- Plant roses or thorny plants under windows and fences to make breaking in harder for intruders.
Most home security tips focus on the minority of Americans who live in single family homes, but 63 percent of Americans live in apartments – and they need security, too! National Home Safety Month is important for apartment renters and owners, because everything from kitchen fires to carbon monoxide affects those who dwell in non-single-family homes.
The city life offers its residents a constant pulse of creativity, energy and excitement. But, with that bustle and exhilaration comes a high number of people living in close proximity, often in a multi-unit building. According to a National Crime Prevention Council study, apartment residents are 85 percent more likely to be burglarized than those living in other types of housing and condo owners are nearly 25 percent more likely.
Here are some security tips to offer your urban clients who are looking to purchase in a multi-unit building.
- Secure all points of entry and items you own and store outside.
- Lock all the windows. Often being on a high floor lures people into a false sense of security. Intruders can access higher-level apartments because of fire escapes, ladders, and possibly even from another balcony.
- Always dead bolt the front door. Many apartment dwellers feel that because their front door opens to an interior hallway they don’t need to deadbolt or lock their doors. This provides easy access to criminals who can easily break in via a door lock.
- Check the door’s quality to make sure it can’t be kicked down. A sturdy door should be solid wood or metal.
- Put locks on outdoor furniture, grills, bikes and other items that maybe accessible to thieves on decks and patios.
Give the impression of habitation when you leave:
- Keep the television or radio on when you leave, to make it sound like someone is home.
- Keep the shades down and use light timers when you are out for the evening or out of town
- If you are leaving for an extended period of time, ask someone you know to pick up your mail for you or put a hold on its delivery
- If you live alone, consider adding an additional name aside from yours on your mailbox to give the appearance that more people reside in the unit.
Stay informed and aware:
- Look up crime rates and the location of any sex offenders around your apartment to keep yourself informed.
- Meet your neighbors and join a condo association board, if available. Your neighbors will be able to help recognize signs of suspicious behavior.
- Keep track of everyone who could have a key to your unit. As a rule, you should always change the locks when you move in.
The tips above will help lower the likelihood of your apartment or condo falling victim to criminal activity, but nothing helps more than having a security system in your apartment or condo.
SafeMart has reinvented the way home security is delivered so that renters and owners can add a home security system without having to sign long contracts, wait for installers or pay for expensive support visits. SafeMart.com lets you customize a system that fits your apartment or condo and gives you 24/7 control from your mobile phone or computer. It’s the perfect solution for apartment renters or condo owners.
Updated: This is one of SafeMart’s most popular posts. Realtors have given this information to new homeowners, but regardless of whether you just bought your first suburban house or you’ve lived in the suburbs for decades, read these tips to make sure your home is secure.
The quiet suburban life: a close community, wide spaces, and familiar neighbors. But more space and privacy can sometimes invite more attention from intruders, so homeowners must consider security measures. Taking the necessary security precautions and home maintenance steps will help keep your suburban life feeling secure and ensure your family is safe from harm.
Safeguard Your Home
- When you buy your home, replace the locks to ensure you are the only one with a copy of your house key.
- Identify points of entry for intruders, such as unsecure windows and doors, and replace or fix them.
- Inspect the lighting around your home. If there is not enough, install more lights, especially around possible points of entry.
- Trim your lawn and landscaping around your house to eliminate hiding places for intruders.
Consider a Home Security System
- Deploy home automation features that allow you to lock and unlock doors from anywhere so you don’t have to leave a key under the mat.
- Installed cameras will record your property and catch intruders in the act or while they are scouting your home.
- Motion sensors around doors and windows will catch intruders who are trying to enter your home.
- A home security system can also be set to automatically lock doors and turn lights off or on.
Practice Safe Habits
- Always lock the door after yourself coming in and out of the house and make sure back, side and any other doors on the outside of the home are locked as well.
- Close and secure all windows and doors before going to bed–especially if they are on the ground level.
- Set light timers to give an appearance of habitation on both the inside and the outside of the home–especially when you are away for an extended period.
- Always shut the curtains at night, so intruders cannot see into your home.
- Don’t leave possessions such as cars, bikes and toys in the front yard overnight.
Establish a Positive Rapport with Neighbors
- Learn more about your neighborhood safety groups like Neighborhood Watch.
- If there is no Neighborhood Watch group available, start one by talking to your friends and others around your neighborhood.
- Let your neighbor know how to recognize suspicious activity around your home.
- Leave an extra key with a neighbor rather than hiding it somewhere around your house.
- Communicate with neighbors when contractors are coming to your home.
This post was posted on the homefinder.com blog as guest post from Sam McBride who writes the home security blog for SafeMart.com