Home safety tips every homeowner should know

Home safety tips every homeowner should know

These are the things that you can do to keep your home safe and every homeowner should know them.

The first thing that you need to do is get in the habit of keeping your doors locked at all times. It might seem foolish to lock the door in the middle of the day when you are home, but crime statistics show that many home burglaries occur in the afternoon. Many of these burglars know that it's more likely for no one to be home during the day and some are even brazen enough to enter a home even if they know someone is there.

When you are not home, you need to create the illusion that someone is home. Use timers and motion detectors on lights so that it appears someone is home. Note that old fashioned timers that always turn the lights on and off at the same time are easy for criminals to learn the patterns of and ignore. Get the newer programmable light timers that allow you to vary the schedule when the lights are turned on and off. Look for those that have a random setting for additional security. Modern timers can replace the switch, which allows you to install them to control your outside lights as well. You can also connect one of these timers to a radio or TV so that it sounds like someone is home listening or watching.

All of your exterior doors should have a high-quality deadbolt lock. Replace the screws that are used on the hinges and striker plate with ones that are, at least, 3 inches long. These are the weak points on any door and if the screws aren't long enough, the door can easily be kicked in. If you replace the door on your bedroom or master bath with a solid core door (most interior doors are hollow core) and install a deadbolt on it, you can use that room as a safe room.

When there is an unexpected knock at the door, check to see who is outside before opening it. If possible, use a window to look out, preferably one that isn't obvious that you're looking out of. If you do not know who is at the door, you should think twice before opening it. Ask the person what they want before opening it, as once the door is opened, it's easy for them to push past you and enter your home. If someone is asking for help, you can call 9-1-1 for them without having to open the door. This is especially important if you are the only adult in the house. Teach small children not to open the door for anyone and to not look through the blinds or curtains at the front door, as this may let a criminal know your vulnerability.

Do not leave any spare keys outside, regardless of how well you think they are hidden. Most people think their hiding spot is undetectable, but usually, it's a common spot where thieves will look first. Give a spare set to a neighbor you trust or lock them in quality, heavy-duty lockbox in an inconspicuous location. One good location is to hide the key in the garage and have an outside keypad that you can open the bay door with. Just make sure that it's a hidden location and not simply a convenient location. If it takes you a couple of minutes to get the key out of its hiding spot, it's probably a good location.

Your sliding patio door and all sliding windows should have a length of pipe or another metal bar in the track so that the opening part can't be jimmied off the lock and slid open. The bar needs to be the same length as the track, so there is no movement of the door or window when it's unlocked. You can attach a short piece of ribbon or string to the far end (farthest from the side that opens) so that you can easily pull out the bar, but not have it within reach from someone reaching inside.

Unless you are outside and can see it, keep your garage bay door shut at all times. It's a common tactic among thieves to run into the garage and steal something convenient when no one is around. You might only be on the side of the house for 5 minutes, but that's plenty of time to steal your tool set. Worse yet, criminals know that the inner door in the garage is almost never locked, even when the garage door is closed. Very often they will walk into your house when you're not looking and steal your purse or other objects that are usually found in the kitchen.

Do not advertise the items in your home, especially those in rooms that have windows that face the street. Keep your drapes, curtains or blinds closed shut. This prevents would-be thieves from scoping out what you have before they even enter your house. If they know you have something they want, they are much more likely to break in, than if they are uncertain that breaking into your house is worth the risk. Likewise, keep your cash, jewelry, guns and coins locked up in a fire proof safe. Don't leave them lying around your house. Not only does this make it harder for them to be stolen, but in the case of guns, it keeps them out of the hands of unsupervised children.

Even though it's convenient, don't leave messages for neighbors, friends or family on the door. If you're going to be away for a few days or more, turn the volume down or off on your phone and answering machine. A phone that is always unanswered is a tip-off that no one is home. If you have home delivery of mail or newspapers, have a neighbor collect them, so they're aren't piling up outside, as this is another tip to thieves that you're not home.


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Sofia Cook

Sofia is a mother of two and loves to swim with her daughters. She loves spending time with her family especially taking family trips to the beach.

About The Author