Keeping your home secure is very important. It's your castle, and the one place your family expects to be safe at all times, where they can totally relax. I've lived in my fair share of bad neighborhoods, and along the way have picked up a number of unusual tricks to ensure any burglars skip over your home and onto an easier target. Basic home security is fundamental, we will highlight how small, simple tricks can make a big difference. Today, we're going to cover a few little-known tricks to make it more difficult for a criminal wanting to break into your home. The more difficult you make it, the better the chances they'll give up and go after an easier target.
Sliding doors and windows
Unless you live in a fortress, you've probably got sliding doors and windows all over your home. The downside is they're not very secure. Often the latches are easy to pick, and if the doors not been installed correctly, simply grabbing the glass and "jiggling" it can be enough to either free the latch, or life it off the tracks so the entire piece can be removed. Once it's off, a criminal has free access to your home. Not good. The first step is to ensure all of the sliding doors and windows in your home are configured properly, and can't be lifted off the tracks. You'll just need a flashlight and a Philips-head screwdriver, to adjust the rollers on the track. Turn these until your door fits snugly in its tracks, and can't be lifted. Then, head to the hardware store and buy dowel rods. They're cheap, and you can easily cut these to fit inside the tracks. The goal here is to add a second locking mechanism, so that even if they manage to pick the latch, the dowel rod is sitting in the tracks and the door cannot slide open.
Keep your spare keys secure
I've been guilty of this myself, but not anymore. Leaving a spare key inside a shoe or under the mat where anyone who spends more than about a minute searching for it can find is a recipe for disaster. But, you also don't want to have to fork out a hundred dollars to a locksmith if you happen to lose your keys, so what do you do? My advice, is to get a key lock box. Just like the realtors use, these boxes are secure, can be installed in a not-so-obvious location on your property, and require a combination to get in, so only you are going to have access to the spare set of keys. If you want a cheaper option and you've got a secure letterbox, you can always buy a simple combination lock for your mailbox and keep your spare key locked inside.
Be smart with your valuables
Take a minute now and run through all the valuable items you own. Chances are, you've got most of your most important items, like jewelry, cash and your credit cards stored in your bedside table in your master bedroom. Guess what? Burglars know this, and your bedroom is one of the first places they will start looking for loot. Instead, get a water and fireproof safe, and install it securely in a not-so-obvious location. Like a broom cupboard under the stairs, in a kitchen cabinet, or even in your toddler's room. The trick is to put it in a not-so-obvious location, where a thief won't think to look. But don't stop here. Most criminals know there will be some valuables in a home, and they won't give up until they find something worth taking away. So make it easy for them. Get a jewelry case and keep some fake decoys in your bedside table, and if you want to take it to another level you could even get a small "decoy" safe that you keep somewhere obvious (like your bedroom closet). This way, they'll think they've found the loot and will be out the door fast, before they even realize their mistake, leaving your most valuable items safe and secure.
Install a home security system
The presence of a burglar alarm can deter most criminals, but there's a few tricks I advise if you're getting a new one installed. Get two keypads, one in your master bedroom so you can trigger the panic button as soon as you hear a disturbance, and don't put the main keypad in an obvious spot which can be seen by anyone watching. The last thing you want is to have a burglar scouting your home and being able to see the pin you enter when you arrive home. Plus, if they can't find the keypad after they've broken in they're going to have a much harder time disarming it before the alarm sounds. Get it installed inside a broom closet or somewhere that's not obvious, so you have to "know" where it is to be able to find it. If a home alarm is out of your budget, my advice is to keep your car keys with you and ensure you can hit the panic button from your bedroom. Most burglars aren't going to want to stick around when that sounds, as it will draw unwanted attention from your neighbors.
Stay armed at all times
One rule I follow is that I'm armed at all times. If someone does break into my home and wishes me ill, I've got the means to protect myself. If you're not a big firearm fan or want something you can carry at all times, check out our knife card
. It folds down so you can keep it in your purse or wallet, and you've got the confidence you've now got easy access to a self-defensive weapon, just in case. Keeping my home safe is my top-most priority. It's my sanctuary, and a safe haven for my family. In addition to basics like keeping your doors and windows locked, a few simple changes can make all the difference. Your goal is to make gaining access to your home just difficult enough that anyone with ill intent goes off to find an easier target. You don't need to live in a fortress, you just need to follow basic tips and tricks like the ones we cover today, and you'll greatly increase the security of your home.