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Your home is your castle, and one of the most frightening situations you will ever find yourself in is the home invasion. If you’re home when it happens your family could be in grave danger, and even if you’re out, you may never feel safe in your home again once it’s been broken into. Today, we’re going to cover some simple strategies you can use to secure your home, making it difficult for an attacker to gain entry. The goal here is to harden your home defenses, so any would-be attackers choose to move on to an easier target. Here’s 9 strategies the team at APE Survival recommends to boost your home security:
Secure your entry points Every external door needs to be replaced with a solid core or metal-reinforced door. Normally the front door is already solid, but back doors and even the internal doors from your garage aren’t as safe, and you can bet most intruders know this. Replace these doors before it’s too late. You should also fit wide angle (at least 160°) peep-holes in every door, so you can confirm who is out there before unlocking your door. Chain locks are good in theory, but should never be relied upon as they can be broken if they’re hit with enough force. Now you’ve got a solid door, fit all of them with quality deadbolts, and dead-latch mechanisms on the handles so they cannot be shimmied open with a credit card. While you’re doing this, replace the strike plates (the piece the latch fits into) with heavy duty versions, using screws that are at least 3 inches long so they penetrate deep into the hardwood door-jamb. Without changing the strike plate over, a swift kick to the latch will usually result in the wood molding of the door breaking, no matter how solid your door is.
Sliding doors and windows If you have a patio it’s inevitable you have a set of sliding doors, and if not most of your windows will probably slide open. The risk here is that most sliding doors and windows, especially older versions, only use a simple latch mechanism to stay closed. With a bit of leverage, an attacker can easily lift a window up in its rails and unlatch it, and then slide it open. To prevent this, the easiest option is to cut a piece of dowel to fit in the tracks, so a window cannot be opened until it is removed. You should also ensure the rollers are in good condition and the doors properly fitted so they cannot be lifted free when they are locked shut.
Strengthen glass panes A brick or a swift strike from a piece of pipe will destroy a window, giving a determined intruder access to your home in a matter of seconds. To combat this you can install security grates on your windows, or if this is too unsightly there is security film you can purchase now to hold the broken pane in place, even if an attacker strikes it multiple times. This film acts like a giant sticker that attaches straight onto the glass and has an added benefit for those families who live in tornado-prone areas - as an additional line of defense in a storm
Lights If the sun sets and your home remains pitch black, it’s a clear sign to everyone that no one is home. Pick up a few light timers and use these every day, to ensure your home is always well-lit and has the appearance someone is home, even if you’re working late. In addition, get bright exterior lights fitted to your home. The path from your car to your front door should be well illuminated and free from any areas a potential attacker could hide, and use motion detected lights all around your home to stop anyone sneaking up to any part of your house without your knowledge.
Alarm systems As a deterrent, an alarm is excellent because it increases the risk an attacker faces if they break into your house. It can trigger sirens and lights that wake the neighbors, and the cops will quickly turn up which no criminal will want to face. Ensure you always use your system and never store your pin code in an area that is easily found (like on a post-it note next to your front door.
Security cameras Motion-sensitive security cameras are getting cheaper, and the latest generation of devices allow you to stream footage live to your smartphone or tablet, no matter where you are. Cameras allow you to catch intruders in the act, and can also deter the petty thieves who have been coming to steal the packages from your doorstep. Find a security camera system that notifies you via an alert when something is happening, so you can rapidly respond to any security threats - even when you’re on holidays.
Get a dog If you don’t have the space for a guard dog like a Doberman or a Rottweiler, even a small dog is a great deterrent to an attacker because their barks will draw attention to the intruder’s presence. Remember though, it’s not safe having a fully trained attack dog as a family pet, so focus on obedience training only.
Be a good neighbor Getting to know the families who live around you is essential for your home security, because they provide an extra set of eyes and ears, especially when you’re away on vacation. Forming friendships with your neighbors can be as simple as just being friendly and saying hello, inviting them over to your house on occasion, and making an agreement to keep an eyes on each other’s homes when you’re away.
Look at your own practices It’s often the fault of the homeowner who fails to adequately secure their house. Leaving windows wide open, failing to lock the front door when you’re out in the backyard and generally just being unaware of the potential for danger is the biggest risk you face when it comes to home security. Talk to your children about the importance of not opening the front door for strangers, and ensure you’re following all of our advice to harden your home against an attacker. The key to boosting your home security is to make your house the most difficult to break into on your street. If you can frustrate an attacker and make it no longer worth their while to break in, you can prevent the majority of intruders from ever gaining access to your home - and that’s what will keep your family safe.