Your home is your castle, and you must protect it from intruders. Even though you likely lock your doors and windows, your regular efforts may be ineffective at keeping criminals at bay. Unfortunately, if you are the victim of a home invasion or robbery, you may never feel safe again. You don’t have to leave your home’s protection to chance, though. We have put together a list of 8 foolproof tips for prepping for home defense. Read on to see how to best protect your home from damage.
How We Developed Our List
Our goal is to provide you with immediately useful information. Because we don’t want you to waste your time or energy, we have taken great care in compiling our list. We reviewed expert advice, product recommendations, home security procedures and other factors in compiling our survey. The result is a list you can trust to better safeguard your home.
8 Ways To Prepare For Home Defense
1. Install a Deadbolt
As many as 60 percent of home burglaries involve forced entry. Keeping bad guys from forcing their way into your home should be your first step when preparing your home defense strategy. Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your home from intruders is to install a deadbolt. It is also one of the most affordable ways to defend your home.
When you are choosing the right deadbolt for your home, look for a high-quality one. Specifically, choose a deadbolt that has a bolt made from hard steel. The bolt, by the way, is the part of the lock that extends into the hole in the doorjamb. Also, be sure the strike pin is tough, preferably choosing one made from reinforced steel or another strong metal.
There are two types of deadbolts on the market. Single-bolt systems require a key on one side, but you may open the other by turning a knob. Double-bolt systems, on the other hand, require a key on both sides. If your entry door has glass beside it, you probably want to invest in a double-bolt system to keep intruders from breaking the window to turn the interior knob. Of course, if you permanently leave a key in the lock inside, you defeat the purpose of having a double-bolt system.
Many locksmiths charge around $200 to install a deadbolt. When you consider the protection deadbolts offer your home, this cost is quite reasonable. You may also want to do the project yourself by visiting a home center. If you do, be certain you follow installation instructions carefully.
2. Add Kickplates to Your Doorjambs
While a deadbolt helps protect your home from forcible entries, your doorjambs may still be vulnerable. To get the most out of your new deadbolt, you must reinforce the doorjambs around all entry and exit points. Doing so is relatively simple if you have the right materials.
While you may rebuild the entire doorframe with reinforced wood or metal, you may want to use an aftermarket reinforcer. Since there are a variety of reinforcing products on the market, you may want to ask a home security specialist about which one is best for your home.
3. Invest in Motion-Sensor Lights
Motion-sensor lights are lights that turn on when a sensor detects movement. These lights are an invaluable tool to protect your home. Criminals generally don’t like to work in bright spaces. If a light turns on in or near your home, bad guys are likely to run from the scene.
For full effect, strategically place motion sensor lights around your yard, trying to avoid dead zones. By investing in several types of outdoor lights, you protect your home without sacrificing the look of your landscaping. Choose floodlights to cover broad expanses, accent lights to shine on pathways and overhead lights for porches and other covered spaces.
Motion-sensor lights can also help protect the inside of your home. When used indoors, motion-sensor lights activate only when someone enters a room. Instead of having to feel around for a light switch during an emergency, you get the lighting you need by simply moving. Meanwhile, motion-sensor indoor lights may decrease your monthly energy costs by as much as 30 percent since, unlike traditional switches, you can’t inadvertently leave motion-sensor lights on.
4. Secure Sliding Doors
Most home intruders gain access through sliding doors and other easy openings. Therefore, you must focus some attention on securing the sliding doors throughout your home. A security bar placed inside sliding door tracks is a quick and easy fix. Either a specific or makeshift security bar will likely get the job done, but be certain there isn’t any wiggle room in the track. Since criminals can gain entry with just a few inches, you must completely fill the track gap.
5. Place a Security Camera or Two or Three
If a bad guy is at your door, you probably don’t want to get close enough to look through a peephole. If you have a security camera pointed at your front door, you can quickly identify visitors from a safe, comfortable difference. The more security cameras you have placed around your home, the more protection your home has. For best results, place a camera at all entrances, near the garage and in open outdoor spaces.
Home security cameras accomplish a few security objectives. First, they deter criminals from entering the premises in the first place. If a criminal does gain access to your home, camera footage helps the police solve the crime. Meanwhile, you can watch children and pets through a closed-circuit feed in real time. You may also save money on your home insurance premiums if you install security cameras.
While security cameras used to be prohibitively expensive, their cost has dropped significantly in recent years. You can likely invest in an entry-level system without breaking the bank.
6. Install an Alarm System
Alarm systems are also an effective way to keep criminals out of your house. The best ones secure doors and windows in both your home and garage. When you are choosing the right alarm system, try not to scrimp on quality. Instead, opt for a system that sounds a loud, audible alarm and notifies a professional monitoring center.
Remember, most criminals are too savvy to be driven away by an alarm system sticker that isn’t backed up by an actual alarm. If you have a defunct system, your house may be a sitting target. Many modern alarm systems are user-friendly, allowing you to arm and disarm them with your cell phone. Some interface with home security cameras to allow you to remotely view your property. If you are uncertain which alarm system is right for your home security needs, check with a specialist. While you may have to pay a premium upfront, you can likely expect lower insurance rates and greater energy savings over the life of your alarm system.
7. Construct a Safe Room
If an intruder gets inside your home, you need a place to hide. Rather than looking for one when you are riled, consider constructing a go-to safe room. Of course, the easiest time to build a safe room is when you are constructing a new house. If that isn’t an option, you can retrofit one into your residence. There are several firms that build safe rooms inside existing homes. While a professional job is likely to achieve the best results, you can probably make your own safe space. It should be secure and lockable. The room should also have ventilation. To be certain your safe room is appropriate, conduct research before beginning construction. With some effort, you can likely create a safe haven that will protect you and your family until intruders leave.
8. Adopt a Guard Dog
Guard dogs were the original home security system. For generations, homeowners have relied on dogs with loud barks to drive intruders away. Even though technology is everywhere today, the old-fashioned approach still works. Simply put, if a criminal hears a dog’s bark when approaching your home, he or she is unlikely to attempt to gain entry.
Your family pet, however, may not be an effective guard dog. If your dog does not have a loud bark or welcomes anyone into your home, you probably shouldn’t leave your house’s defense up to Fido. Instead, work with a company that trains guard dogs. While one of these working animals makes a good pet, its primary duty is to scare intruders away from your home. The best ones accomplish both tasks without showing aggression to you or your family.
Since protecting your home and family is likely your top priority, you must develop a home defense strategy. While this list is not complete, it is comprehensive. Use the information on this survey as a starting point. Then, tailor it to your home’s unique needs. With a bit of effort, you can be certain anyone with criminal intentions stays far away from your home. Remember, you may only have one shot to protect your home, family and valuables from harm.
Join Mom with a PREP as we prepare our families for life’s emergencies, one day at a time.