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Despite what you read in newspapers or hear on the local news, we’re actually living in much safer times. Crime rate in the USA has been falling since 1980, and the present burglary rate has come down to about the same level as it was in 1967!
That said, there is still a lot you can lose if you get robbed. Not just robbers, there are real threats from other unscrupulous elements that can cost you not just your cash and valuables but also cause you injury. Securing your home against intruders therefore becomes essential.
You needn’t make your house into a fortress, but just ensure you aren’t the lowest hanging fruit in the neighborhood. Considering the abysmal awareness and precaution most Americans take, not counting the pittance they spend on securing their living and work spaces, I think it is going to be pretty easy for you. Here are some cost-effective and easily achieved clever ways to secure your home against intruders.
A prominent factor in a criminal’s mind is to not be caught. Any markers of their presence can get them likely to face the law, as can any attention they catch from people around.
Lights and sounds can be pretty scary to burglars for this reason. A floodlight suddenly opening as the burglar approaches the window, or perhaps a siren going off is everything a burglar is scared off. A motion detector can come in handy, since they can be pretty hard to get past.
They are easy to configure too. Many put in a solar panel to power them, which ensures the system is not disabled even if there is a power cut. Motion detectors can also be adjusted for sensitivity, so your system doesn’t go off with a leaf moving in the wind an only catches more suspicious motion.
A lot of people prefer to have their phones ring with a notification instead of a siren. Sirens may irritate some of your neighbors, but floodlights can be avoided by anyone who draws curtains before sleeping. Configure your floodlights to stay on for a little while and then shut off. A minute is ideal, but it depends upon how much electricity or battery power you have or are willing to spend.
It is surprisingly easy to pick through the average door lock. And if unwilling to pick a lock, someone can break open a door by just kicking it a few times. Thankfully, there are easy reinforcements available.
A common mistake people commit is putting a glass panel or a window right next to the door. It does help you see who’s at the door, but a simple punch can knock the glass out and allow a criminal to access the latch inside. It’s a classic example when design and aesthetics fail the prime purpose of security.
Another common mistake is employing flimsy material like PVC for the door. A strong, tough wood is not to be bargained with. A lot of substitute material often comes down in barely any strong kicks. Replacing the door with a stronger material can be pretty helpful.
There are also pocket sized devices that can make your door lock pick-proof. Reinforcing the area around the handle can also be useful.
Criminals prefer to grab the first thing of value they spot and run away with it before someone can take notice. It is safer for them, and chances are that the fewer articles lost, the less the owner will miss them and pursue the case with effort. This can be used to minimise your losses in case of a robber getting in anyway.
There are a lot of cheap things you can buy off the internet that will appear to be expensive to a rushed robber. A cheap mobile handset, a second hand laptop or something similar will lure the criminal. Place it close to the door or in a conspicuous spot, and let them carry it away. They’ll think they’ve scored a big amount but they’ll be sorely disappointed when they try to sell the goods. It’ll save your other, more precious things from the hands of the criminal. Once they’ve picked something they think is of value, they’ll be eager to bolt.
If you’re not comfortable letting the robber go, you can fix a pressure switch under the surface of the laptop so that it goes off when the laptop is lifted. It can be used to turn on a light or a siren which can alert the neighbors and give you time to lock your door and call for help. Isn’t that clever?
Put Things Out Of Sight
The most clever way to keep out intruders is to keep all that can lure them out of sight. Installing blinds is a good idea that more people should employ. A lot of people put expensive gaming consoles, showpieces and other fancy stuff really close to the entrance. You shouldn’t be afraid to embellish the house, but if you live in a neighborhood you don’t think is safe, it is better to keep your good stuff further in.
Jewelry, expensive electrical equipment and other such stuff not only informs a criminal in the neighborhood about what you’ve purchased, but also that you can purchase it and so probably have similar expensive stuff and maybe some cash lying in the house. You don’t want to advertise that. Destroying packaging and cartons, smashing them or disposing of them after shredding or dismantling can help.
Being careful whom to invite inside the house goes a long way in ensuring your safety and that of things you have in the house.
Get a Smart Doorbell
Doorbells are no longer just instruments that inform you when someone’s at the door. The modern day doorbell can do a lot more. The common method is to connect it over WiFi, but there are other ways to use a smart doorbell for your protection.
A common type of bell is one with a microphone and a speaker that can let you ask who’s at the door before you open the door. There are ones which come with video cameras as well, which can relay a picture to a unit inside or to your mobile phone over the WiFi. It can help you avoid an altercation with someone you’d rather not face, and maybe even alert the cops. There are bells that store video footage over the internet in drives, and you can retrieve that video footage for security purposes.
Microphone and Camera enabled doorbells do come for several times the price of a normal doorbell, but they’re worth every penny you pay for them. There are even doorbells that come with motion sensors, which can help you save electricity, keep intruders away and more, depending upon what brand doorbell you buy
Make Your Hedge Inhospitable
One clever way I learned the house could be armed against intruders is by planting specific plants around the house. And I don’t mean this in the feng shui sense. There are plants that can irritate the skin or cause a pesky rash to someone who gets too close. How does this make the house safer? Let me tell you.
When trying to get a close approach to the house, an intruder finds a friend in the hedge or shrubbery people love to plant right under a window or close to the porch. The height of the shrubs can easily mask someone while they’re ducking. It only helps if the shrub is leafy or dense with branches.
There are plants that cause rashes when touched that you can plant around the house, especially in areas a burglar would try to sneak along. Plants like Euphorbia or Mezereum are pretty common to find in most areas, and both deliver a nasty rash when someone gets too close to them. If the robber is busy scratching themselves crazy, they’re likely to fumble around and give themselves away, or decide to abandon the project and call it a night.
Just be sure you don’t have pets or kids walking to the bushes. Children can be attracted to the bright red toxic berries of Mezereum. It is a great idea to prune the plant after flowering, or pluck out dried flowers before they have a chance to form into berries (wearing rubber gloves of course).
Put a Security Sign
Put things into perspective for the robber. If you tell a burglar that your house has security measures in place, they’ll likely not bother you. Criminals look for profit in little effort. So if they feel they have to deal with a lot of security systems or an alarm system that’s hard to fool, they’ll be discouraged to try robbing you.
A lot of people put up signs warning intruders of ferocious dogs. More than ferocious dogs, however, a criminal is likely to be dissuaded by a dog that barks a lot. Barking dogs alert neighbors or the owner if they’re home. Whatever they have their eyes set on inside the house, it’s not worth being seen.
However, not all security signs are helpful. For example, if your security sign proclaims the brand (some even announce the model; hey, it’s cheap advertisement for the company!), the robber will be able to find ways to get through the security and reach your valuables. Everything’s available on the internet these days, you know.
Similarly, if you have a sign marking your camera (think cheesy posters or wall art that might go something like “smile you’re being recorded”), it won’t show them their place or be a quirky show of attitude, but alert them to not look into the camera and perhaps wear a hat, a cap or a hoodie when they come breaking in.
Keeping your house safe from intruders doesn’t require you to build a fortress or be paranoid about everyone who comes visiting. Only ensure your house and property are not low hanging fruit. Keeping the garage safely locked, installing an anti-burglar system and a video-enabled doorbell are really easy and convenient. For everything else, any little trouble you face installing them will be worth the peace of mind you attain knowing you are safer than you were without adequate security in place.