Your home is your castle – or it used to be. A castle has a strong door protected by a moat and high walls. It will withstand the invading hordes, vagabonds, and thieves’ incursion. Why have we let that slide? Here is a guide to simple things to tighten home security.
Simple things to tighten home security is by guest Gadgeteer
Sam Hoffman. He is passionate about research and analytics. He writes about the
latest trends in home security.
Fallacy: Your home is the place where you should be comfortable and secure.
Fact: Today, most homes are completely insecure. And it is not just physical things like door and windows locks, security systems or security screens. They only keep honest people out.
Our Simple things to tighten home security guide covers many bases, but one thing is certain. Criminals follow the easiest route to the money. If you make it harder to physically or virtually break-in, then they will move on to easier pickings.
Rule # 1 door locks
99% (made that one up) have a standard barrel lock on the front
and rear doors. Any professional thief
can open or pick such a lock in seconds to minutes – or easier still use a tool
that hydraulically forces the door and breaks the mouldings.
If thieves see an advanced lock like the Igloohome Bluetooth mortise and deadlock and ideally a strong door or metal mesh security door they will either give up or use some C4 to get in (or jsutbrerak some glass).
A decent Bluetooth mortise (we cannot recommend Wi-Fi) lock costs about $500 (plus any fitting but they usually fit an existing lock cut-out). They have an app that can alert you if the door is open, off-latch and keep logs. As a bonus, you can give an all-time, one-off, or scheduled PIN to cleaners, couriers and it is a great boon for short term rentals as there is no hassle of changing locks if keys are lost.
Rule #2 – Security is only as good as its weakest point.
If you beef up your front door, then you need to make back
doors, French or sliding patio doors and windows equally secure. To a degree,
this is a little easier. You can fit low-cost internal deadbolts to these and
if necessary, reinforce mouldings/frames so that they cannot be easily forced.
Lower level windows may need security screens.
A good lower-cost way to know about security is to fit smart sensors that detect the unauthorised opening and via If This Then That (IFTTT) can trigger alarms or report to monitoring services. D-Link has excellent Wi-Fi based motion sensors and sirens. Samsung has a Smart Home ecosystem called SmartThings that brings together sensors, lights, security cameras, locks, video doorbells etc. Google Assistant can integrate a wide range of smart home products.
Rule #3 Security Lighting
We all need to be energy conscious. But switching off
outdoor lighting invites criminals to work undetected. You should never go to
bed with your security lights off.
You should also consider installing motion sensor lighting. These lights automatically go on when they sense any intrusion. There are low-cost motion sensitive lights at your local hardware. These may provide a visual deterrent, but thieves are smart and realise that that is all they do.
Arlo has also introduced the Arlo Ultra 4K security system that is backwards compatible with Arlo Pro/2 cameras. Part of that ecosystem is the Arlo Security Light (2 pack) that provides motion sensor activated, 400 lumens (about office level lighting) and motion sensors to dark alleys, hallways, paths etc and phones home – thieves avoid homes equipped with smart lights.
Rule #4 Never allow strangers to enter your home
That goes back to a good security door but also to having a
smart doorbell or camera to let you know who is at the door and to enable basic
It is not always possible to do a quick background check of all the handymen and maids you would like to hire but this way you get to vet them before they are inside your castle. Thieves or home invaders won’t continue if they know your finger is on a panic button to a monitoring agency or that their image is on file.
Rule #5 Remove potential hiding spots from outdoor areas
Trim the trees and bushes in your outdoor areas, or they may end up as potential hiding spots for thieves. As asserted by Art of Manliness, criminals are fond of dark and bushy areas, and they will most likely break into your home if it has incredibly tall grasses and bushes.
If you have a secluded front entrance, it’s a golden rule to
have security cameras, lights and sirens as well as thinking about a flashing
light/siren at the fence line.
Rule #6 Don’t hide a key under a pot plant
Avoid obvious places to hide that spare key. Under pot plants,
on the top door sill, under a brick…
How Stuff Works says some security techniques are too obvious, and every criminal knows them.
If you must leave a key use an IglooHome Keybox 2 at $239 that is practically indestructible and has room for keys, keycards and more.
Rule #7 – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Thieves go directly to the master bedroom. That is where easily
‘pawnable’ watches, jewellery and often money and credit cards usually are.
If they have the time, they next go to the home office and entertainment area looking for carriable items like laptops and tablets. Thieves know instinctively what items are worth the money and what are a waste of time. Don’t worry about silverware or paintings unless the robbery is drug-related and they are off their heads!
A simple solution is to not to put all your valuable items
in the one room – put at least one precious item in non-obvious places in each
room. This way, you will lower the risk of losing all your valuables.
Rule #8 Don’t expose your assets
Thieves often ‘case the joint’ to look for easy ingress and egress
points. But they also look for obvious high-value assets. Leaving window
coverings open allows them easy ‘remote-access’.
GadgetGuy’s take – Simple things to tighten home security. It is well past time for healthy paranoia
Joe and Jane Average generally compromise the security of their greatest assets – their feeling of security – daily.
Because security is not muscle memory, thieves/hackers know that. There is always a door or window somewhere that someone forgot to lock.
We have focused on physical things – doors, locks, windows etc. We have shown how smart cameras and lights can secure some areas.
Now, we could write a whole other article about securing your virtual world. The attack vectors have increased exponentially. Hackers can access many security cameras or intercept email or look up calendars. You can reveal too much on social media (like innocent holiday shots indicating your home is vacant) inviting thieves to come in. And cybercriminals can even monitor IoT in smart homes for utility usage to ascertain occupancy patterns.
Our parting message is to stop assuming your physical home
is safe and start doing something about it – because thieves take the easiest
and most obvious route.