Whether you leave town for a vacation or leave to run a few errands, it's easy for busy people to become careless and leave their home vulnerable to break-ins.
According to the latest FBI statistics, there were 2,159,878 burglaries in the U.S. in 2010, resulting in $4.6 billion in property loss. Out of all burglaries, more than 60 percent were the result of forced entry. Residential burglaries accounted for 74 percent, and more than half occurred during the daytime.
You can enhance the security of your home without spending a fortune with these three simple measures.
- A deadbolt is a type of lock that has a steel bolt that extends into the door jamb and strike plate of a door frame. The most common type is the single cylinder deadbolt – which is operated by a twist knob on the inside of the door and a key on the outside.
- Locksmiths say unless you have working deadbolt locks and actually use them, your home isn't secure.
- For around $100 per door, you can have a high-quality deadbolt installed.
- If the deadbolts are not functioning properly or they are inadequate, the intruder can kick the door in.
- Organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) give quality ratings that range from one to three. One represents the highest quality so check the lock before buying.
- New homeowners should have their locks changed, because there is no way to know who previously had keys to the home.
Channel 4's Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson has shown us time and time again that he recommends a double-cylinder deadbolt. There's a key hole on both sides, preventing a burglar from breaking a window, reaching around and turning a knob to unlock it. But Jefferson emphasizes the importance of having the key nearby, in case there is an emergency situation and you need to get out of the house.
- The best lock in the world isn't going to make a difference if the overall quality of your door, doorjamb, and door frame are poor.
- Replace the door. Many exterior doors are designed with security in mind, using reinforced glass or small windows away from the lock to prevent a burglar from reaching in.
- The most secure door feature is a solid core, not a hollow one. To check this, knock on your door: solid doors sound "dead," while hollow doors will echo. To improve security, replace any hollow entry door with one made of metal, fiberglass, solid wood, as they can't be kicked in or broken easily.
- Hiring Tip: Have a professional locksmith assess locks and doors. Only a trained professional can spot the kinds of vulnerabilities that make burglars' lives easier.
- The installation and proper placement of outdoor lighting can enhance the security of a home. Security lighting should be mounted high enough to prevent tampering. Security lights can also be protected by a plastic guard or metal mesh cage.
- When placing and aiming exterior lights, they should illuminate the homeowner's property; however, they should not shine through the neighbors windows. While the initial adjustments can be made during the day, fine-tuning should be done after dark. If used with security cameras, lights should be placed and adjusted to prevent excessive glaring and shadows.
- It's also wise to have a security lighting plan for the interior of the home, especially if you plan to be away for an extended period of time. Security experts recommend using timers to control interior lighting. The best timers will allow random settings so there is no fixed pattern to signal the homeowner's absence.
- Security lighting can lose its effectiveness if it's overused, or not used properly. Security lighting that remains on all night is sometimes ignored, and activity in the area may go unnoticed. Motion sensors can help alleviate the problem by drawing attention to any activity.
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