The Care & Feeding of Your Home: How Safe Is Your Home?

By Handyman Bob Strong12 Burglar In Daylight

A burglary occurs every 15 seconds in this country, with an average loss of $1,600. Two thirds of all burglaries are residential and of those, two thirds occur between 9 AM and 3 PM, when there is a high probability that nobody is at home. So, what can you do to make your home safer?

You might consider installing an alarm system. About thirty percent of all homes do have alarm systems, which is how we know that homes without an alarm are 2 to 3 times more likely to be broken into.

But, it is not enough to simply have an alarm system. While the noise may seem reassuring and off-putting to you and me, it rarely stops the burglar. The alarm system must be monitored, so police are dispatched in the event of a break-in. The system must also have a wireless back-up, so cutting a phone line won’t disable the monitoring feature.

With the advent of Internet monitoring, you may even choose to incorporate a video feed which also allows you to keep an eye on your home from virtually anywhere. This is a service now offered by home entertainment companies like Xfinity as well as by the major home security companies.

The most common failure experienced with an alarm system, however, is still human failure. Don’t forget to set the alarm!

You may want to improve the locks on your doors and windows. In fact, simply using the existing locks would prevent the thirty percent of all entries that are made through unlocked doors and windows.

Many of the older style locks are easily defeated, so relocking your home with more current models would be a good investment. Make it very apparent that you are serious about home security by installing a dead-bolt, as well as just the key lock in the knob.

Install secondary locking devices on windows to prevent them from opening fully. This could be the same device that serves as a child safety feature to prevent toddlers from falling out.

Something else you may want to think about installing is a high grade security storm door. When used during home entry training, SWAT teams have to pull them off the face of a house using a vehicle or “blow” the hinges using an explosive; they are that hard to defeat! Available for virtually any door type, from single or double hinged entry to patio slider, they look great and keep the weather out as well as the burglars. Locally, these custom-made doors are available through Mascotte Home Security.

And, to help deter those burglars who would enter at night, install “dusk to dawn” security lighting on the outside of your home near every door. These lights are available at nearly every hardware store. Simply replace existing light fixtures or hire an electrician to provide power to any locations not already lit.

Be sure to remove convenient hiding places near the doors by trimming back all the shrubbery, making the house very visible. Burglars do not want to be seen!

Finally, don’t hide a key under the mat or under that special rock in the garden. Yes, burglars do know where to look. Give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or put one in a locking key-box, similar to the ones realtors use.

The moral of the story is this. Burglars will always find a home to break into. Your objective is to simply make your home look less inviting than other homes in the area.

Handyman Bob offers home improvement advice on his radio show, Around The House, every Saturday from noon to 2 on FM News 101 KXL. He is also a licensed general contractor and Certified Asbestos Building Inspector. Questions?