A home is an investment. Whether you intend to live in it and spread your roots in it or to rent it out for passive income, it always pays to protect your investments. Sadly, there will always be people looking to take advantage of others for their own gain. It’s your job to make sure that your property is safe from burglars and thieves.
Home security can often be costly, but when you compare that cost to the price of what you’re protecting, such as your family or your livelihood, the cost is well worth it. Here are a couple of suggestions to help minimize security risks and keep you and your family safe and sound:
1. First Line of Defense
Invest in fences and metal gates because these prevent intruders from entering in the first place. Although not foolproof, they create noise, are durable, and limit the entry points for people attempting to enter your property. Ensure that you buy quality locks for your gates because less robust ones are vulnerable to destructive entry and don’t even need to be picked.
Sturdy-looking gates and fencing also have the added benefit of looking imposing. Burglars and thieves are opportunistic in nature. If your home doesn’t look like an easy target, it will be more likely that they’ll pass you by in favor of a more-vulnerable-looking home.
2. Light ’em Up
Install motion-activated lights. These ensure that either you or your neighbors can see when something big enough to trigger the motion sensors is walking in the vulnerable parts of your home. Sure, depending on where you’re located the lights might be triggered by animals most of the time, but the added security for your home is worth the occasional inconvenience.
The psychological impact of the lights coming on can serve to deter thieves as well. Suddenly being thrust underneath a powerful light can be enough to break the resolve of many burglars, who will likely flee after feeling like they’ve been discovered. Unless your house is known to contain highly valuable objects, most burglars will probably leave instead of risking jail time.
3. No Place to Hide
Keep bushes away from your windows. Police call it crime prevention through environmental design because of how landscaping can deter or aid intruders from sneaking into your property. Bushes near your windows pose a high risk of criminals trying to enter your home through them without being seen. Unless your window has metal grates, don’t put blind spots near your windows.
High hedges and solid walls can also be a security risk once they’ve been bypassed. Although they are difficult to climb, once they’ve been crossed or scaled they provide ample cover from view, unlike a fence. This means that once a burglar is on your property, they can actually help conceal them from any passersby who might be able to blow the whistle on them for you.
Do not have emergency keys hiding on your property. Whether you hide them under the doormat or under a loose cobble in your foundation, this is likely the first place an intruder will check. After all, a burglar doesn’t stay a burglar if they aren’t smart enough to be successful. If you really must have emergency keys to your home, give it to a neighbor you trust or a family or friend who lives nearby.
Even if you feel like you’ve come up with the most innovative hiding spot ever, there’s always the possibility that the burglar targeting your home has found out about already in some way. It’s always best to rely on security methods that don’t rely on intruders not knowing where something is but rather on methods that don’t care one way or another.
5. Appearances Matter
Try not to make it obvious when the house is empty. Signs such as packages and mail left out for days or lights left on 24/7 are a sign to criminals that no one has been home for a while. Investing in lights that automatically turn on and off at set times of day or asking a trusted neighbor to collect your mail for you when you’re gone can greatly reduce the risk of your home looking like the perfect target for passing opportunists.
It’s also worth noting which parts of your home’s interior are visible from the outside. Can someone looking through your windows see your valuables? Position high-value items in your home away from the view of your front windows. It’s also worth considering that if you leave your house keys in plain sight, many smartphones nowadays have cameras that can take pictures good enough to make 3-D printed duplicates capable of opening your front door.