Issue 52

Home Security Checklist, Part 1

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Home Security Checklist

This is the first of a two-part article on things everyone should do to make their home as safe as possible.  Most of these suggestions will apply to any kind of domestic structure - a home you own, a home you rent, or an apartment.

This first installment will focus on preventative steps you can take.  The next installment will focus on defensive steps.

Our Refuse To Be A Victim safety awareness seminar goes into much more detail.

We like to think of our home as our "castle" - this inpenetrable structure with a moat and guards.  Very imposing, in our own minds at least.

In reality, most homes are "easy pickin's" for the bad guys.  There are some things you can do to make it a bit more difficult to get into your house, but anyone that wants to get in will get in.  You want to make it as difficult as possible, but more importantly, you want to give yourself as much advanced warning as possible that someone has breached your home security zone.

Best tip for staying off the Bad Guy Radar?  Don't "show off" your wealth.  No one needs to know you have an expensive coin collection, pricey art or a safe full of cash.  Don't ask to be a target!

Preventative Measures

Criminals like easy targets.  The more warnings you give, and the more "hoops" you make them jump through, the less likely your home will be targeted -

Alarm System and Signs - Stick one of the signs in your front yard and register for monitoring service.  Most of the time, you can get the equipment for free if you sign up for a year of monitoring.

Beefed-up Door Frames - This goes hand-in-hand with dead bolts and the like.  It doesn't matter the length of the screws you use for your deadbolt installation if the door frame can't withstand the force of a violent entry.  Door frame strengthening kits such as this can make a huge difference.

Window Locks - Don't make it easy on them - lock your windows when they're not being used.  For windows you're using, place blocks in the tracks to limit how wide they can be opened.  Sure, they can just break the glass, but that will alert you or your neighbors.

Security Lights - Whoever invented the motion detector should receive a Nobel Peace Prize!  These work so well, and are so inexpensive, every home should have them.  Criminals like to work in the dark.  Take the darkness away, and you will often chase the criminal away.  

Set your lights to stay lit for at least 3 minutes after they've been tripped.

Safes - A home safe is truly only as good as the money you spend on it!  Take a look here how quickly and easily the popular home safe found at most Big Box stores is defeated.

These safes do a good job of protecting papers from fire, but are a small deterrent to criminals.

Large safes are pretty much the same.

Think Quality, not Size.

Seriously consider a "bait safe" - a safe that screams "take me" to the criminals.  Have your valuables hidden in other not-so-obvious locations.  There is a lot of information on the Internet regarding stealth safes.

If you do have a "bait safe," be sure to keep SOME valuables in there - a small amount of cash or some jewelry can be a good idea.  Why?  If you happen to have a home invasion robbery, you may be forced to open the safe.  You're less likely to be harmed if the home invaders are able to walk away with something of value.

Security Cameras - Since we're talking about preventative steps, real or fake cameras both accomplish the same task - keeping bad guys away.  Because of this, you want the camera to be visible, and you want it to have some sort of light to indicate it is working.

Low Vegetation and Tree Limbs - Keep your shrubs at least 2 feet away from your home and no more that 3 feet high.  Be sure any trees on your property that have any large limbs which would support a human being are at least 5 feet away from your home.

Next Issue:  Part 2:  Home Security Checklist - Defensive Measures Once They've Entered Your Home

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