Many of us have gaps in our home security that are glaring to the criminal minded but completely escape the notice of the average individual. The idea behind conducting a home security review is to put yourself in the criminal's shoes and look at your home as a potential target for crime. This will provide you with a more objective, comprehensive idea of the security of your home, where improvements can be made, and help you determine if you are in need of a home security system.
Outside Your Home
Walk around your neighborhood and identify characteristics that could be appealing to a potential criminal. For instance, do you live in an industrial area, bustling from 8am to 6pm, but deserted on evenings and weekends? Do you live in a neighborhood with high unemployment rates, where residents themselves might be involved in criminal behavior? Or do you live in an affluent neighborhood where husbands are typically gone all day and wives and children are left home alone? Use these observations to help modify your potential areas of vulnerability.
Observe your home, approaching from all possible channels. Perhaps approaching from the street, you notice that pedestrians have a clear view of your sitting room, which contains a new plasma television and other high-end electronics.
The following types of properties are the most vulnerable due to high visibility. Does your property have any characteristics that make it more accessible?
- House on a corner lot
- House with public footpath or alleyway running down one side
- Houses by playing fields, parks, or other public areas
- End of terrace (or condominium) units
Look for easy entry or exit points to your home for a potential burglar. Also take note of an unlocked shed, car, window or door, low or broken fences, or other unsecured valuables. Are there any signs of a dog or security system on the premises that would dissuade a potential criminal? Also consider: is your house number clearly visible to security officials?
Countermeasures for many of these observed vulnerabilities are simple fixes. Be sure that your window coverings provide adequate privacy, keep all valuables, including your home, locked. Perhaps consider planting prickly foliage in unsecured entry points to the yard, or possibly training a guard dog (or provide the illusion of one with a sign or a couple of scattered toys). When you leave the home, leave lights on inside the home in different rooms, perhaps one upstairs and one downstairs. Last but not least, consider investing in a monitored home security system.
Inside Your Home
When conducting a security survey of the inside of your home, start at the very bottom level. Work your way around the perimeter from left to right, and when you get back to the point of entry, move to the next level. That way, you'll be sure not to miss anything.
So, what are you looking for?
- Fire hazards
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguisher
- Hazardous electrical wiring (or damaged or exposed cords) - get it inspected if you're not sure
- Identify the most easily accessible exits from all points in the home. Educate your family on the best ways to get out in case of an emergency. Practice with your children.
- Strength and overall security of all doors leading outside and to the garage
- Strength and overall security of all windows
- Easily accessible lighting in all rooms
- Telephone access in all locations
- Valuable possessions. Record all details for insurance purposes: take pictures, record serial numbers, and descriptions.
- Trash! How much of your identity are you putting out on the curb? Bank statements? Tax information? Personal letters? Bills? Consider purchasing a paper shredder, burning your documents next time you have a fire in the fireplace, or cutting them up with scissors.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of where your weak spots are, move on to Easy Tips to Increase Home Security or 8 Quick Tips For Choosing a Security Professional to get a solid defense strategy in motion. These articles will instruct you on easy security fixes and give assistance in finding a home security system.