WRITER | JEREMY SCHELLIE
PHOTO | EPS SECURITY
Understanding Your Home’s Security Risks
Often, the bedrock of a family is the home they keep, a place to build memories and to be with the people they love. We spend countless hours pouring our hearts into designing, decorating, and maintaining our Dwellings. Big or small, a home is a place to feel happy, warm, and, most importantly, secure.
The protection and security of our home are far too often overlooked or pushed to the wayside. Crowded schedules become too important, increasing the risks homeowners unknowingly take every day. Homes are a refuge from the world around us, and it is critical that we care for them accordingly.
One of the first steps a homeowner can take in securing their home is to focus on the habits that may be leading to avoidable risk. Taping a spare key to the bottom of the mailbox or hiding it in a flower pot is an easy example. Even worse, some homeowners simply forget or purposefully leave their doors unlocked.
Leaving a garage door open during the day is another unfortunate mistake many homeowners make. Whether it’s due to forgetfulness or intention, this simple act makes the home an easy target, and the price can be a big one. While some burglars “case” a house, prowling for unfettered access and the ideal time alone, just as many crooks are pure opportunists. They lurk through neighborhoods searching for the one homeowner who mistakenly left a window open before heading out for the day.
The harder a homeowner can make it for a would-be burglar to see a home as a target, the less likely a burglary or home invasion will occur. It may seem simple, but the obvious safeguards can be very easy to overlook. The best plan of action is to create layers of security for your home. Think of it as a nice cozy bed in a cold Michigan winter. The more blankets of protection added, the easier it is to sleep at night.
The first layer of defense is the outside of the home, where video surveillance is the best resource. Video camera technology has become far more affordable in the last decade, and the options are varied and practical. Adding outdoor motion sensor lights can be relatively inexpensive and a great deterrent as well. Always consider what your home may be advertising to anyone who happens to drive through the neighborhood. Is there obvious evidence of that really expensive new electronic purchase in the garbage you’ve just taken out?
According to the most recent FBI crime report, 65 percent of burglaries happen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. while many people are at work.
The next layer of protection is the most important. It is the perimeter of the home, especially the ground floor. Unless there is easy access to ladders and ledges, most risk comes from the ground level. At a minimum, it is best to have appropriate deadbolt locks on all outdoor entry points. As noted before, the majority of break-ins are during the middle of the day. To compound that fact, the majority of break-ins occur through the front door. This is the point where a home security system can take over the heavy lifting. Motion detectors and door/window contacts can sense any unauthorized access to the house, as long as they are accurately installed by a professional. Other than a 24/7 monitored security system, many home improvement stores provide homeowners access to keypad dead-bolt locks, home automation devices (with supporting mobile apps), and many other Wi-Fi compatible gadgets that can be used to enhance home security. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds, providing a far better option than stashing a golf club or baseball bat in the front door closet.
Lastly, the inside of your home is the final layer of security. Ensure that everyone in the family is on the same page when it comes to emergency situations. It can be a tough conversation to have, and for many homeowners, it may never happen, but with over 1.5 million burglaries in the U.S. per year, building layers of security is the best form of protection.