In a society where communication technologies consistently invite people into our lives, it’s nice to have a sanctuary from the public. But much like our wireless routers and cell phone conversations, our homes may not be as secure as we think. Here are seven potential vulnerabilities, and their solutions, that likely escaped your vigilance.
Poor Exterior Lighting
A burglar’s greatest weapon is concealment. Whether entering or exiting your property, the inability to identify an intruder can compromise any efforts to retrieve your stolen possessions and signal vulnerability to potential criminals. Maintain adequate lighting on the exterior of your home, and place it out of reach so that it cannot be repositioned from the ground level. Your lighting coverage should be robust, and ready accessibility will render it ineffective quickly.
With the risks of getting caught, burglars are unlikely to invade your home if they don’t perceive some gain from doing so. Valuables and expensive electronics placed in plain view of passers-by will indicate to criminals that your home is a profitable prospect. Move boxes of valuables away from windows and consider placing your flat-screen television out of street view. If it’s visible from the sidewalk, then it’s public knowledge.
A hearty deadbolt can keep the less scrupulous at bay, but if a broken window renders your locks obsolete then your money was wasted. Pay attention to windows located near door locks. If a criminal can break the window and access your door then steps should be taken to secure the lock or block access, so that the integrity of the mechanism isn’t compromised by an unfortunate workaround.
Sometimes the greatest vulnerability is psychological. An unfenced property presents no obstacle to home invasion, which can be very dangerous in high-risk areas. Privacy fences can keep prying eyes from scouting for valuables, but even a three-foot-high chain link fence
can present the needed psychological protection to keep burglars at bay.
Lack of Deterrents
A fenced in yard is part of a variety of solutions known as “deterrents”; indicators that burglars are unwelcome, or unable, to enter your home and get away safely with your belongings. A ‘beware of dog” sign, even when one does not own a dog, can be enough to deter intruders, but a sign indicating that a home security system is installed packs an even greater punch. In case criminals call your bluff, be sure to back up your threat with the real deal
and guarantee your safety in the process.
Hedges or Trees
Much like inadequate lighting, concealing shrubbery enables criminals by concealing their movements. There's nothing wrong with aesthetically pleasing landscaping, but tall hedges can create cover for intruders. Consider trimming your shrubs, cutting down trees, and pruning the garden a bit to help keep your property more secure.
Second Floor Access Points
If a criminal wants into your home, they will find a way. It’s easy to think of second-floor windows as out-of-reach, but nearby balconies and awnings can provide convenient access for unsavory characters. Regardless if your home is multiple stories, make sure that windows have functioning locks, and be wary of entry enabled by nearby architecture. Even if the entrance is less convenient for a burglar, the profit is worth the extra effort.
In high-risk areas and more bucolic neighborhoods, crime can happen. Preventing the pain of lost valuables and compromised peace of mind is a matter of understanding your home’s weaknesses and taking the proper precautions. Light your home and trim your foliage to expose intruders. Add a fence and any other indicators that burglars are not welcome. Finally, make locks and valuables less accessible and visible, and your family, and sentimental possessions, will be safer for the effort.