Your home is your castle, your retreat from daily life. Yet when that castle's fortress is breached and you have a burglary to deal with, you suddenly lose all of the security you have felt at home. Keeping your home safe is not impossible, but it does take some planning. Here are some tips to consider.
Hide the Valuables
Yes, you are proud of your flat-screen TV, but that doesn't mean it should be clearly seen through your front door or window. A potential thief is going to spend time searching the best houses to hit, and if yours looks like it is packed with valuables, it's going to be a more enticing target. Keep them stored or use them in a less visible room of the home.
Choose the Right Door
Your door is often the place where a thief will enter, so choose carefully. If your door doesn't have a deadbolt, upgrade to one that does, or invest in having one installed. If your door has glass, make sure it is not within arm's reach of the doorknob. All a thief would have to do to access your home is smash the window and reach inside to twist the door open.
Secure the Perimeter
How many valuables do you have in your backyard or an outdoor storage shed? What about your air-conditioning unit? Is the outdoor component in the backyard? These are items that tempt potential thieves. Also, your back door — especially if it is a glass sliding door — is another potential entry point. Make sure your entire home is secure by installing a fence around the perimeter. The fence should be tall, strong and self-locking to provide the most protection.
Install Motion-Sensor Lighting
Burglars love the dark, because it protects them from being seen and caught. Keep them away by installing motion-sensor lighting. These lights turn on when something crosses the path to light up otherwise dark and well-hidden areas of your yard. A light coming on suddenly can also give the impression that someone is home, heard the burglar and turned on a light, sending many potential thieves packing.
Get a Dog
A dog barking will deter a thief in many instances. The dog does not have to be a vicious guard dog, just one that will cause alarm when a potential intruder is nearing your home. Small, yappy dogs may not be much in a fight, but they can be effective at warding off thieves. If you have a doggy door, however, make sure it is secured when you are not home, because a doggy door can provide an entrance point to a thief, if the door is long enough.
Invest in a Home Alarm System
A home alarm system can provide another layer of protection. With the right system, you can receive an alert when a thief is trying to get inside your home. Some systems are even connected to dispatchers who will notify law enforcement officials of the problem.
If you are investing in a home alarm system, make it obvious. Put up a sign that says your home is protected. However, you may not want to say exactly what system is in place, as this can give professional burglars the information they need to disable the system quickly.
How protected is your home? All it takes is one burglary to shake up your sense of security. What’s more, many of the features listed above — from fencing to home alarm systems — will boost your home’s resale value, should you decide to sell in the future. With these simple measures, you can quickly improve the security of your home, deter potential thieves, and make your home as safe as possible.
Dean White is the founder of The Fence Store, which was established in 1989. The Fence Store has done fencing work for Northwestern University and the Chicago area.