Environmental Home Security Tips
When considering where to build or buy a home, consider contacting
the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to ask what
the crime history is for that neighborhood. Most agencies
tabulate crime by geographic area (called districts, zones,
sectors, sections, or something similar), and should be able
to provide this data as public information.
Drive through the area to assess general conditions. Are the
potential neighbors owners themselves, or are the owners predominantly
absentee and the occupants primarily renters? While renters
are not negative neighbors in any way, owners just naturally
have a more intense interest in maintaining their own property
in prime condition, and will tend to be more involved in neighborhood
Is the area generally clean? Graffiti-free? Homes in good
repair? Don't forget to check during hours of darkness to
assess street lighting, area lighting, and the lighting on
and around your residence. Are street locator signs in place
at intersections as you approach? Are street addresses prominently
displayed on all (or most) of the residences?
Outdoors Security Tips
Plant materials ("foundation plantings") should be trimmed
so that they are not any higher than the sills of the windows
or they have no branches below three feet to create a clear-view
zone. Plants should not create places of concealment, particularly
adjacent to the entrance or at bedroom windows. If plants
are overgrown, ask to have them trimmed before buying. If
you are selecting plant materials, work with the landscape
designer to ensure that the materials selected will not grow
to create a problem.
If the yard is fenced, are there any gates? If so, where do
they lead, and can they be locked? Remember that privacy fences
limit the ability of your neighbors and police/security patrols
to see the enclosed area; if you don't really need the privacy,
consider a cyclone or other fencing material which does not
block open view.
Buried utilities are far less susceptible to interruption,
and are unlikely to be manipulated by criminals. See whether
the service entrance for the residence is inside the perimeter
fence, so it is more difficult for the criminal to access.
If the telephone and/or cable come in overhead, look to see
where the nearest above-ground splice-boxes are located and
whether those locations are inside fenced yards or are accessible
There should be a light fixture outside every door on a house
to enable a scan of the area to be accomplished safely from
inside. Consideration should be given to use of globes on
such fixtures, which are vandal-resistant. It is possible
to wire such fixtures to a photo-cell or timer so that they
automatically come on at dusk and turn off at dawn; this arrangement
ensures the exterior of your home is illuminated during hours
of darkness and makes it more difficult for an observer to
tell when you are gone. Very inexpensive (starting at about
$20) motion sensors can also be installed in almost any existing
exterior fixture (as part of a new fixture, or as an add-in
for existing fixtures) that will turn on the light automatically
when anyone approaches the door. These can generally be adjusted
to determine how close someone approaches before the light
is activated. Most of these devices also have a photo-cell
so they don't activate during the daytime. New systems available
not only turn outside lights on, but can also turn many lights
in the home on and off at different times during the night,
giving the illusion of someone being home.
Attic & Hatches Home Security Tips
Access to your attic should be inside your security perimeter;
in the garage or an interior space. If you have an external
access door, consider having it professionally removed and
the opening permanently sealed; there is no effective way
to adequately secure such an opening.
The same applies to hatches to crawl spaces (externally-applied
padlocks are much too easy to defeat to provide any but the
most temporary security), and outside hatch ways to basements
(although modern all-steel hatch ways usually are capable
of being adequately secured from inside, and not very vulnerable
to manipulation or defeat from outside).
Strong Room Home Security Tips
If you have certain assets which you wish to afford a higher
level of security on a routine basis, or you want to create
a space within which you can secure high-risk or high-value
assets during periods when you will be gone from your home
for extended periods, you might consider creating an inside
Select an interior closet or similar small space. Replace
the door with a solid core wood or metal door, Use non-removable
pin or pinned hinges. Install a dead bolt lock and a matching
box strike in the manner described above.
If you have an alarm system, extend it to cover the door to
the strong room; provide a separate activation touch-pad for
this room if desired. Now you have the home equivalent of
a vault; unless the intruder is willing to destroy interior
walls, it is unlikely entry will be gained in the amount of
time a typical home burglar is willing to spend on the premises.
Bear in mind that, absent special protection, this strong
room remains as vulnerable to fire as the rest of your home.
Use of a safety deposit box or off-premises storage for critical
records and small valuables is still strongly recommended.