How to Secure a Home
in an Uncertain World… with Easy, Common-Sense Steps.
With our world becoming more uncertain every day, it pays to know how to secure a home against home invasions. We see riots in large cities, but what about our towns? What about where we live? What about protecting our families?
I did all the right things! I bought an expensive alarm system and had it installed. Doors, windows and motion detectors. The whole package! I felt safe! My husband worked out of town four days a week and he had left earlier that day, so I was home alone.
Sometime in the middle of the night, the alarm went off! It woke me up from a sound sleep and of course, I felt disoriented. I was afraid to go out into the hall to check it out and was trapped in the bedroom. After a couple of minutes, the alarm company representative called to see what was happening. I told them the situation and they advised me to look out into the hall and check for any sound or movement. I thought the first thing they would do is call the police – but no! She finally did say she would notify the police department.
To make a long story short, after about 15-20 minutes the police arrived. When everything was all checked out, they determined that the system was faulty and it was a false alarm. But, it sure taught me an unexpected and important lesson!
If there had been a criminal in the house, I could have been raped, shot, stabbed, or worse before the police even arrived. What good was that alarm system? How much protection did it give me?
The fact is that many people spend a lot of money on alarm systems…and they are useful to notify the police when there is an intruder. BUT – that alarm doesn’t sound UNTIL SOMEONE IS ALREADY IN YOUR HOME! It could take the police more time than you have before they get there. The situation could easily be over and done with before any help arrives. I believe the best solution is to prevent criminals from getting into your home in the first place!
The question becomes… How to Secure a Home in such a way that makes it very difficult for the criminal to gain entrance? After much research, I found ways to secure my own home and would like to share them with you. A totally unbelievable thing happened when I was doing keyword research for writing this article. One search term with a high number of monthly hits was “how to do a home invasion”. Isn’t this unreal? People are searching online for how to invade our homes!! And, sadly these days, the police can’t do much about it. It’s up to us to protect our families! Please take this article to heart and secure your home NOW!
With statistics showing that over 80% of invasions come in through the doors and windows, wouldn’t it be a smart thing to learn how to harden your home in these areas? *Note – It’s alarming that 60% of rapes occur during a home invasion!
How to Harden and Secure Your Front Door
Being a Realtor, I view home on a daily basis. In most of the homes that I see, the door, hardware, knobs, and locks are original to the house. This means that they have never been changed or upgraded.
Almost all builders install ‘builder grade’ hardware that couldn’t be called secure by any stretch of the imagination.
There are only small 3/4″ screws holding the hardware in place and door locks that can easily be picked or bumped in seconds by any amateur burglar. Basically, this means that screws less than 1″ long and a flimsy piece of wood trim is all that is standing between your family and an intruder.
It’s so important to take the time and effort to secure all your exterior doors. You can do it yourself or have a handyman do it…but just be sure that it is done! At the very least, you need to remove the short screws in the strike plate and replace them with 3 1/2″ screws that will go into the door frame itself. Then you should do the same with the door hinges on the other side of the door. Your exterior doors should all be constructed of solid wood or steel. And if you have a pedestrian door in the garage, be sure to harden it as well.
Never open your door to strangers! Install a peephole so you can see who is there, but remember that they can look inside your home through that same peephole. You can buy a peephole that has a cover for additional safety.
What is a Bump Key?
A bump key is pretty much the key to YOUR front door in a criminal’s hand. It’s easier than easy! And there are even lessons on the internet about how to do it! You’ve got to outsmart the criminal! The fact is that almost any lock can be ‘bumped’ or picked. So, no matter how much you have ‘hardened’ your door hardware, the burglar could still just bump the lock and come on in. The best thing I’ve found to combat this problem is the Door Bull, and it can be used in addition to the hardened hardware. So, no matter if the lock is opened, they still can’t open the door.
One huge consideration is that many insurance companies don’t pay for burglaries that happen without forced entry. When a bump key is used, no forced entry can be proven because they open the door and walk right in. The average loss for burglary is $2,800, and that can be huge when your insurance doesn’t pay!
We sell these Door Bulls and have them in stock. Call 615-428-8500 to order.
6-second Garage Door Break In
Do you think that you’re safe when your garage door is closed? Think again! Garage door safety is of utmost importance! All it takes is a coat hanger… and a criminal can be inside your garage door in seconds. Once they’re inside, they can close the garage door and do whatever they want…with no one being able to see them. It’s a simple thing to remove the little handle on the manual door release, thereby preventing this from happening. It just takes a few minutes of thought to harden your home against criminals, and many times…very little money!
How to Burglar-Proof Your Windows
We all love those large windows that let in a lot of natural light. But, those same windows can easily be broken with a simple kick or a rock. A criminal can be inside your home within seconds, so once again, let’s outsmart him. Security film is easy to install and it’s clear so you don’t even see it. Walk around your house and make note of any windows that could easily provide access to a burglar. You should install an 8-mil safety film on any window that a burglar could crawl into. Pay special attention to any doors with glass panes. It’s easy to break out one of them, reach inside and unlock the door to gain access. Don’t forget to check your pedestrian door in the garage. Most of these doors have glass panes and need to be hardened. Take a look at the strength of security window film…
This window film can be installed yourself – but it’s a pain to do it. It would be wise to practice on an old window first, but it will save you a lot of money.
Patio doors are also vulnerable to a home invasion. It’s important to make a habit of placing some sort of bar in the bottom groove to prevent the door from sliding open at night. This could be as simple as a broom handle, but make sure it fits.
Checklist for window safety:
- Do you have good locks? Do you keep them locked?
- Do you have a vertical bar inside the frame to prevent the window from being opened?
Actually, nothing is foolproof. These measures are simply ways to slow down the burglar or make it so hard to get into your house that he gives it up and moves on to somewhere else. These ideas can give you precious moments to get your family to safety or prepare yourself to protect your loved ones.
Motion Detector Lights and Outside Security
- It’s a good idea to install motion detector lights outside your doors. I recommend using solar lights that you can depend on in case the power is out. This can easily happen in the event of a natural disaster, and you will want to be able to see looters or rioters that want to take advantage of the situation.
- Other outside security could be cameras – either real or fake depending on your budget. The fake ones can look so real that a burglar can’t tell the difference. Cameras that you can monitor inside the house are great to have.
- Be sure to lock all exterior buildings to prevent someone from hiding inside them, or to grab your own tools to break into your house.
- Don’t leave any ladders lying around that a criminal could use.
More Ways to Secure a Home Against Criminals
You’ll have to decide about whether you want to be armed. It depends on your state laws – and whether you have children in the house. It also depends on your being trained in the use of weapons. But, they can save your life in a crisis!
Other things you might use could be bear or wasp spray.
You’ll have to be careful with these because they can be used against you if the criminal can take them away. So, use your own judgment.
What About a Safe Room?
It would be very expensive to build a true safe room, but you could easily have a designated room in your home to use in case of an emergency. It could be the master bedroom or any room that would be easily accessible by your family members. If I were creating such a safe space in my home, I would replace the hollow door with a solid door…and put the same door hardening equipment that was used on the exterior doors. Especially a Door Bull. Make sure you have a working cell phone in that space so you can call 911 and let them know where you are in the house.
Again, all of these measures will not guarantee that a criminal won’t finally get into your home – but it will buy you those precious seconds to get to safety or call the police (if we still have a police force)!
It might be a good idea to start thinking about getting out to a more rural community and perhaps start a hobby farm? I know there are criminals everywhere – but I feel that living in a low population area is safer.
I invite you to share ‘How to Secure a Home’ with your friends and family members! Please call with any questions you have – 615-428-8500.