Is your current home security system a joke? Every 13 seconds in the United States, another victim is made…the next one could be YOU.
I’m not trying to scare you… but those are the simple facts. And Frankly, the terrifying part…is the compounding effect a home invasion has on you and your family… The FBI's most recent public data shows that over $3.9 Billion was lost due to burglaries in 2014.
That means the average burglary victim loses at least $2,551 from a home invasion. Source: FBI.gov
And many lose much more…
The physical and emotional trauma that stems from an invasion are often much worse…your insurance will cover the things you lose, but only time can repair your peace of mind. What can you do to avoid sleepless nights and terrified children?
The answer to your home security system needs… is a lot simpler than you might think.
I need to let you in on a little secret… that fancy alarm system that you pay through the nose for… isn’t going to stop a determined criminal. Did you know that the average response to home alarm is 20 to 40 minutes, according to an article in the New York Times – 20 to 40 minutes!
If you live in a more suburban area, that response time may be a little more speedy, but you’re still looking at 10 minutes or more before anyone gets to your door.
You might be thinking, 10 minutes isn’t very long… but if you really want to get a good idea of how at risk you are, do me…and yourself a favor. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and make a run through your house, grabbing everything of value. You might be surprised at how quickly it starts to add up… and most thugs don’t work alone
As scary as it is…. You can’t stop a home invasion… but there are a few simple tricks you can do to keep yourself out of the crosshairs and severely reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
7 Simple Home Security System Hacks
1. Doors and Locks
- Use a solid core or metal door at entrance points.
- Be sure to use a heavy-duty deadbolt with a one-inch throw bolt (make sure that it is 1”- most of the lower quality deadbolts only have a ½” bolt).
- Use a quality knob-in-lock set with dead latch mechanism.
- Replace the standard strike plate that comes with your deadbolt with a heavy-duty strike plate that uses 3-inch screws.
- Install a wide-angle peephole so that you can view your entire entryway.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, change the door locks, you don’t want the previous tenants to be able to come in and out as they please.
- When you buy new locks, remove and destroy the model stickers that come on the package. Most manufacturers have a limited amount of tumbler combinations per model. If you toss the box into the trash, all a thief has to do is find the box and take a trip to the hardware store for him to be able to walk in and out of your home with his own key.
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2. Sliding Glass Doors:
- This type of door is usually secured by latches only.
- They are vulnerable to attack.
- Security can be increased by inserting a wooden dowel metal track blocker into the door track to prevent movement.
3. Windows (the most frequent point of entry during warm weather months):
- Windows are left unlocked at a much higher rate than doors.
- An open window that is visible from the street may be the sole reason that a house is targeted. An open window with only a locked window screen is particularly inviting to thieves. Access is quick, easy and most importantly, silent.
- Windows have latches, not locks; they should have secondary locking devices.
- Wooden sticks/dowels work well with horizontal sliding windows.
- For vertical windows, through the frame pins work well.
- For ventilation, leave no more than a 4 – 6 inch window opening.
- Make sure that the opening is not large enough to allow someone to reach through to unlock the door or remove the window lock.
4. Be a Good Neighbor:
- Get to know your neighbors.
- If they are trustworthy, agree to watch each other’s homes.
- While on vacation, pick up mail, newspapers, packages and flyers; put out their trash on trash day (and return empty barrels).
- Offer to park your car in their driveway and listen for a siren from their home security system.
- Water flowers, grass and plants.
- Communicate with each other about anything suspicious or noteworthy.
- Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of activity inside.
- Use timers (lights, radios and televisions). Make the home appear occupied.
- Exterior lighting is very important.
- Lights in front of the home should be on a timer.
- If you are not an owner of one of Safeguard Security's Reactor home security systems, use timers or motion sensors for other exterior lighting, especially at the rear of the house.
6. Identification of stolen goods:
- Engrave your driver’s license number (and state) on televisions, stereos, computers and small electronic appliances.
- Photograph your valuables, especially jewelry and electronics.
- Make a list of make, model, serial numbers and value of important items.
- Give a copy of this list to a relative or close friend.
- Having this list as accurate as possible will help when it comes to filing an insurance claim.
7. What if you see something or someone acting suspicious?
- If you see anyone acting suspicious around your house or a neighbor’s house, call 911 immediately.
- If your house is broken into, call police immediately. Don’t touch anything that the criminal may have touched.
- Wait outside for police to arrive.
- Write down plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
- Not all break-ins will be stopped, regardless of the precautions that you take. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure that your valuables will be covered in the event of a theft.
Just think… an hour's worth of work over the weekend could turn your home into a fortress…
Do you have your own home security system “hacks” you’d like to share? Leave them in a comment below and let us know.
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