Burglars are adept at determining which homes are an easy mark. Research suggests that if it will take longer than five minutes for an intruder to gain access to a home, they will forego that residence for one that allows easier accessibility. Studies also indicate that 60% of prowlers are deterred by the presence of a home security system. Whether you live in Los Gatos, Campbell, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, or beyond, adding multiple layers of security inside and out can keep your family, belongings, and home safer.
Your Home’s Exterior
Visibility: Solid privacy fencing provides prowlers with the perfect cover. Ensuring your home is visible from the street makes it less of a target. Trim trees and shrubbery, especially around windows and doorways. If you have a fence around the front of your home, it is preferable to have it at a lower height if it is a solid enclosure or if it is higher, your home should be visible.
Illumination: Light the entire exterior of your home, especially the back and side yards where prowlers are prone to hide. Install a mix of continuous light sources at porches and entryways and motion sensor lighting that illuminates all areas around your home.
Stashing spare keys: If you hide a spare key outside, use a combination lockbox and attach it to something permanent and sturdy. Burglars know that keys are frequently secreted away in yards and they know just where to look.
Exterior doors: All exterior doors should be solid wood or metal and durable frames. This provides a deterrent for easy entry, making it less likely an intruder could kick it in. Substantial metal strike plates should be affixed to the door jamb with extra-long screws. If any external doors have glass, retrofit them with security window film.
Locks: Installing high quality, strong locks and deadbolts on all exterior doors is one of the best ways to protect your home. A locksmith can help you determine if the locks you have on your home are robust and can upgrade them if needed. Homeowners should also use their locks on windows and doors. Always lock up when you are away, including windows and doors on the second level of your home. Many prowlers burgle homes between 12pm and 4pm when the occupants are most likely at work. It is also a good idea to keep doors locked while your home.
Garages: Just as with your home’s exterior doors, the man door to your garage should be a solid material with reinforced opaque glass. The same goes for garage door glass panels. If you have a door that leads from the garage into your home, this, too, should be sturdy and secure. If you have a home security system, it is worth adding sensors in the garage to detect intrusions.
Windows: All windows should have robust frames and locks. If your home has older windows, use add-on hardware as a secondary security measure. Security film is a quick and cost-effective way to reinforce window glass if you don’t already have laminated, tempered, or reinforces glass panes.
Your Home’s Interior
Alarm system: Install (and use!) a 24/7 monitored alarm system, one that will alert the local police if needed. Be sure to alarm your residence even when you leave home for short periods of time-remember, most burglars are in and out in ten minutes or less. Be sure to activate the night mode option when the family is home in the evenings.
Smart lighting: Use your home’s smart features (or even the traditional analog timers) to turn lights on and off both inside and out on and off at varying times that would coincide with your natural schedule. If possible, use these devices to also turn on and off TVs or stereos, again creating the illusion that someone is at home.
Extra locks: It’s also worth adding locks to closets and rooms where you keep valuables. Studies show that, if an intruder does gain access to your home, they go directly to bedrooms in search of jewelry and money as they are more easily concealed that larger items like computers and electronic devices. By making bedrooms and closets where these valuable items are stored more difficult to access, an intruder is much more likely to leave empty-handed.
Get a safe: A home safe can provide one additional level of security for your most valuable possessions, just as jewelry, coins, and cash, especially when coupled with extra locks as mentioned above. Home safes should be either large and heavy enough to deter removal or securely fastened to the floor.
By implementing all or even a significant majority of these security measures make your home much less appealing to intruders. Proper lighting, locks, doors, and windows as well as a monitored alarm system all play a part in the multi-layered security for your residence, protecting your possessions and giving you peace of mind.