We imagine scenarios when an intruder might be able to gain access to our homes for ill intent. We imagine what time of day, where they might approach—and we take steps to help protect the most obvious of places and approaches. That’s why you lock your doors at night, or why you set the security system each time you leave for work in the morning. Maybe you’ve given some thought on how to best secure your home break-ins....
But what have you left out?
If there’s a way to get in, intruders can very well figure it out. That’s why a good checklist can help make sure that all your bases are covered and all your defenses are in place. Generally, it should be based on how intruders have acted in previous scenarios.
When we imagine an intruder gaining access to our homes, we often think about a door left unlocked or a faulty lock kicked in. Intruders do gain access from unlocked doors, but what if you’re dealing with an intruder who is able to pick locks successfully?
Your doors should have back-up systems along with physical locks. Keypads, security systems (that’ll notify you when a door has been broken into), & key-card systems are great back-up systems to help ensure that your doors are protected. Sure, you lock your doors, but why not take the extra step to give each entryway a better defense?
If you’ve begun to feel comfortable leaving your older children at home, it might not be a bad idea to equip them with the right knowledge to help prevent intruders. Maybe you think your thirteen-year-old is fine to stay at home alone for a few hours --but keep in mind that intruders will often be creative in their approaches. Intruders have been known to say: they’re a friend of the family; that they need to quickly use your phone; that a package was wrongfully delivered to their home — the list goes on.
One thing your family might benefit from is having a safe word in place. That way, before anyone unlocks a door, your family asks for a safe word to help ensure they really know that person. If you choose to share this safe word with maintenance or delivery services, be sure you change your safe word following that encounter.
Most windows come installed with locks on the inside, which would prevent intruders from simply opening them and coming inside. While these are a good safety measure, they aren’t always sufficient. Consider aesthetically pleasing gating (thin bars that line your windows from the outside) so that, even if an intruder breaks open a window, they shouldn't be able to enter the home.
Also, you might keep in mind the warmer seasons when you tend to leave your windows open with only the screen shut. Be sure you check every window when away to ensure that those screens aren’t exposed.
Tree Cover and Landscaping
While tree cover and landscaping has the potential to keep your yard secure from neighbors you might not want around, they also provide cover for intruders to approach your house. Given the intruder’s extra advantage, you might expand your definition of what it means to secure your home. You should secure your yard as much as you secure your home in order to help prevent secretive approaches. Intruders will be less likely to approach your home if there are wide, open spaces between your landscaping and your home. In these open spaces, it may be a good idea to install lighting (or motion-sensor lighting) to help ensure that an intruder will be in full view if they attempt to approach your home.
Trees close to the home should be trimmed regularly to prevent excessive darkness at night – and not to mention the ability to climb up to a window.
Basements & Crawlspaces
What about the entryways to your home you haven’t considered? Houses will often have crawlspaces or basement entryways that allow intruders to gain access to storage space and, in worse-case scenarios, your home. If it’s feasible, you may consider checking out the blueprints of your house to find every point of entry that an intruder might think to utilize. The same goes for sheds and garages! While your primary concern tends to be your home, you also store valuable items in garages and in sheds.
When it comes to home security, there’s definitely a lot to think about. While prepping your home for a possible home intrusion can seem overwhelming, mapping out each scenario can help make your preparation easier. Essentially, your goal as a homeowner is to have the intruder exhaust all options and give up trying. The more effort you put into creating obstacles for intruders, the safer you’ll likely feel.