Home should be a safe haven – so it’s important that you feel secure in your surroundings. Consider the following tips to help manage the security of your home.
Light it up.
Brightening up your home is a great way to both feel safer and prevent break-ins after dark. Consider outdoor lights (like on the porch or garage) that automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. You can also try motion detectors along walkways and around the exterior of your house to help alert you when someone (or something) comes close to your home. Some apps or devices can also put a timer on lights to give the appearance that you’re always home even if you aren’t.
Get the right system.
Home security systems are becoming commonplace today, and many systems come at a very cost-effective price. Cameras can give you visibility to visitors (like doorbell cams), as well as inside and around your home. Window break alerts can automatically call authorities when a window is broken. Connecting your door locks and garage doors to a system also give you easy access into and out of the home from an app or device, while allowing an outside company to monitor all entrances to your home. Some systems also connect to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, giving you an added layer of protection and monitoring. And setting up notifications means you can keep your home safe wherever you are.
Already have (and like) your security system? Make sure you use stickers or signs to prominently display that your home is protected, which can further deter burglars from even trying to break in.
Meet the neighbors.
Having a strong network nearby can make you feel safe, especially when you’re home alone (or live alone). So make a point to get to know your neighbors! Nosy neighbors can be your best extra layer of defense: If they know when you are at work and when you aren’t, they will have the right to interrogate anyone suspicious roaming around your house when you aren’t around (or at the very least, notify you if something seems off). Another bonus? If you’re traveling, consider having neighbors help out by collecting your mail and putting out (and taking back) the trash to make it seem like you’re still around.
Check and reinforce doors and windows.
Outdated locks and seals on windows and doors can be extra inviting to someone wanting in. Double check all doors to make sure locks are in working order, and consider adding deadbolts if they don’t already exist. Assess window and door conditions to make sure they’re solid and not easily broken through. And make sure all your windows solidly lock and latch as well.
Keep your keys close.
You might be tempted to leave a spare key around your home, but take caution. Some hiding spots can be easy to crack – and inviting to burglars! If you decide to give friends or family a spare key, keep track of who has one to make sure you know who has access to your home at all times. And if you’re just moving into a new home or apartment, change the locks as soon as you’re in. You never know how many people have a copy of the key! (This is another bonus of a security system with door keypads – no keys!)
Take care online.
With location-based services in apps and check-ins on social media, it can be pretty easy to find out where people are! Posting your current location can be the biggest giveaway to potential criminals, who can easily determine when you’re home and when you’re gone. And take caution if you’re heading out on vacation. Consider posting after you return home (instead of when you’re about to leave) to help prevent break-ins while you’re away.
Have an emergency strategy.
If an issue arises where you need to quickly exit your home (like a break-in, fire or bad weather), you’ll want to be prepared ahead of time. Develop an emergency exit strategy and go over it with your family so you’re ready for nearly any situation. Practice your escape, outline a plan to inform authorities and decide who to contact in case of emergency.