A home security checklist is a basic but extremely useful way to make sure your home is well-protected or assess the level of protection your home currently has.
A good home security system can cover many of the basic ways to protect your home. However, a security system can only do so much. And there are many different ways people can further secure their property, be it residential or commercial.
Professionally Monitored Home Security System
There are no home security systems that can guarantee nobody will break into your home. However, a fully-fledged home security system that is monitored by a security company 24/7 is an excellent deterrent and guarantees as much safety as possible.
Most of the home security systems sold today will usually incorporate multiple devices, sensors, and alarms that will add multiple layers of security when used together.
Smart home security systems like Vivint give unprecedented amounts of security.
Many, if not all, of these, can be remotely operated through a smart device like your smartphone. This means that you can monitor the condition of your home, who enters, leaves, and everything that happens in real-time.
Door and Window Security Sensors
Door and window security sensors are a must. They are one of the most simple devices that anyone can install in their homes.
Door and window sensors will monitor the status of the windows and doors. If somebody opens them, the sensor will sound an alarm.
Those are very simple and inexpensive devices, however, homeowners should not rely only on them but combine them with other means of protecting their home.
Reinforced Door and Window Locks
Make sure to have heavy-duty locks with reinforced strike and guard plates installed on all your doors and windows.
If your door does not already have a deadbolt, one should be installed as soon as possible. Multiple deadbolts can be used at different heights to provide better protection. Deadbolts are sturdier and will better prevent brute force entries.
If you have just moved in or rented a new house or apartment, make sure to change all the locks in order to prevent other people from potentially using an old or lost key to enter your home.
Of course, having the best locks will do little for your home’s security if they are not used; make sure always to lock all the doors and windows when you are leaving your home, not staying in the same general area of the house, and during the night.
Sturdy Doors and Windows
You can have the best security system and equipment in your home, but it can do little to no good if your home’s doors and windows are easy to break.
Make sure to have doors and windows made of solid hardwood, fiberglass, or metal. This is especially important when it comes to sliding, patio doors, and older weathered doors and windows.
Sliding doors should be secured properly. Secondary locking systems should be installed, including anti-lifting devices and locks. (The same applies to overhead rolling doors, garage doors, and shed doors.)
The door and window frames should also be installed securely to the walls. All windows and doors should fit tightly in their frames.
Glass Break Sensors
Although window open/close sensors are good for making sure the windows (or doors) are closed, a burglar may gain access to your home by simply breaking the window.
In this case, it is recommended to use glass break sensors to monitor the perimeter for any signs of glass being broken.
In addition to that, it is recommended to use a security window film or break-resistant glass.
Home Security Cameras
HD home security cameras are almost a must-have. Although you can achieve good levels of security without them, they are among the best burglar deterrents there are.
Ensuring your yard and home is covered by cameras will make breaking into your home a lot more difficult and risky.
Installing your cameras in a safe, hard to reach, as an easily visible location is a good way to inform people your home is being watched.
Home Security Yard Sign
Signs that will alert potential burglars casing properties that your home is currently protected are a must-have. One study found that simple security signs that are informing people the area is monitored can significantly reduce bicycle burglaries.
But there is a caveat here—the security sign should not give away what security measures and home security system you are using.
Home security companies often give away free branded home security signs that owners can place in their yards—in a certain way, this is a nice marketing trick and free advertising, but it can compromise your safety as burglars will know what system they are dealing with and can find ways to bypass it.
Well-Manicured Back and Front Yard
Both your front and back yard should be kept clean and well-manicured.
If there are trees, shrubs, and bushes, they should be properly trimmed or pruned so as not to provide hiding spots for burglars. This applies to all greenery in your yard, sidewalks, and driveways, or near doors, windows, gates, and porches.
Everything around your home should be well-lit. All the entryways, pathways, front, and backyard should remain lit during the night. This will keep many thieves away as nobody wants to be easily seen.
Installing motion-activated lighting is possibly one of the best investments any homeowner can make in order to up their security as they are an excellent deterrent.
Motion-activated floodlights will keep the electricity bills low while remaining vigilant to any movement around your home.
A See-Through Fence
Fences are not a good deterrent and will not stop any burglar as often they do not pose any challenge. However, make sure to have a fence that does not limit visibility. You want something that can be seen through as this can expose the criminal.
Privacy fences that prevent people from looking in your backyard offer privacy to both you and the thief.
A Video Doorbell
A video doorbell will often be a fairly inexpensive investment that can be well worth it in the long run.
A video doorbell (or a video camera) will allow you to see who is at the door without having to open it. Those smart doorbells will often even allow you to do that remotely without even having to be in your home.
An often overlooked aspect of home security is properly marking and photographing any equipment, objects, devices, or vehicles that can be stolen.
Keeping a good inventory of what you own, including photographs (for proof), serial numbers, and individual markings, will help you when talking to the authorities and getting your items back.
Ensure that your valuables and any expensive belongings you may have are not easily visible from the outside. Burglars will always be looking for opportunities, and as they are casing different homes, they will look for anything that they can steal.
Investing in curtains, shades, or blinds to make your possessions harder to see from the outside can make your home a little less appealing.
High-Security Safes or Safety Deposit Boxes
If you have valuables that you want to keep in your home, it is mandatory to invest in a high-security safe. Safes can vary a little depending on their purpose; some may offer extra fire protection while others are more heavy-duty.
It is not recommended to skimp on the quality of the safe. Often some low-end and mid-end safes may prove to be easily picked and even cut open. Although the safe may look good on the outside, it may not fool an experienced thief.
Make Sure Your Home Is up to the Fire Code
Your home security should not be geared toward criminals only.
Other things, like fire, can also be devastating.
You never know when an accident may strike. The fire code should be followed at all times.
Smoke and CO sensors are well worth it as they will monitor your home for any signs of a fire breaking out. In addition to that, having a fully functional and easily accessible fire extinguisher is also recommended.
Know Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors. That way, you can all watch out for each other. When you know who is living in your immediate surrounding area, you are more likely to notice suspicious activity.
Don’t Leave Keys Unsupervised
Leaving a key under the doormat or a potted plant is not a good idea. If somebody manages to find it, they will have an easy time breaking into your home.
If you want to have a backup key, it is recommended to leave it with a trustworthy neighbor, friend, or relative.
Keep Your Insurance up to Date
Make sure your insurance is regularly updated in accordance with any major purchases, acquisitions, or home improvements you may have made recently.
In certain cases, your old insurance may not cover your new acquisitions or life changes, in which case it will have to be reviewed.
Make Your Home Appear Inhabited
Burglars find uninhabited homes a lot more attractive. If you are going on a vacation for a long time, make sure your home appears inhabited.
This is why using at least two light timers—one to turn the lights on and one to turn them off—is an excellent way to make your home appear inhabited.
In addition to that, make sure that the yard looks tended to, and somebody is picking up your newspaper, and mail deliveries or the deliveries have been completely stopped.
Use Only Heavy Duty Padlocks
If you have any gates, sheds, or any items that you need to secure with a padlock, make sure that you use high-quality, heavy-duty padlocks that are also waterproof (especially when used outside).
Combine them with heavy-duty square chains that are not easy to cut.
Keep Your Privacy on Social Media
Never disclose on social media if you are leaving your home—especially if you will be leaving for extended periods of time. Somebody can easily gain access to your information and find out that nobody is in your home.
Conduct Frequent Tests and Perimeter Checks
Regardless of what security measures you have taken, make sure to regularly inspect and test your home security systems, control panels, sensors, locks, alarms, etc.
Everything should be fully operational, and any battery-powered devices should be working properly.
Check your yard, fences, doors, windows, and landscaping for any weak points that a burglar can use to their advantage.
In certain cases, an inspection by a certified security professional may be needed.
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