As the weather warms and the days get longer, people start heading outdoors. And while they’re basking in higher temperatures outside, they often leave their doors or windows open to let some of that fresh air inside.
The bad part: those windows and doors could be an open invitation for a criminal to burglarize your home.
In fact, according to the FBI, a burglary occurs in the United States about every eighteen seconds. But before you go and make a big purchase on a home security system, take a moment to look around your home. By making a few simple upgrades, you can significantly improve the security of your home and the safety of those who live there.
1. Assess exterior doors:
Whether they walk through a front door that is left open, or kick in one that is locked, 34% of burglars enter through a home’s primary entry point. Inspect your front, side and back doors. If your doors are worn or have a hollow core, have the doors replaced with solid-core (made of metal or wood) or metal-clad models.
While sliding-glass doors have latches to close them, they are often an easy entry point for burglars. To make it more secure, try placing a wooden dowel cut to the appropriate size or an adjustable safety bar in the interior floor track. You might also consider adding a floor bolt.
2. Replace weak locks:
Locks are the weakest point of a door. Replace them with a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame. The strike plate—the stationary piece that the bolt enters—must be heavy-duty, made of solid metal or brass, with six 3-inch-long screws that penetrate the door jamb and the door frame. Locks such as these can be purchased at a big-box home store.
3. Trim the shrubs:
There’s no better hiding place for someone looking to burglarize your home than in shrubs that are too tall, bushy, or not well-spaced. Make sure to prune them regularly.
4. Check the windows:
Unlocked or open first floor windows are a favorite way in for would-be burglars — especially when they can conceal themselves behind overgrown shrubs. Be sure that the window locks are operable, and if they aren’t, replace them. If your windows are 15 years or older, consider having them replaced with newer models. Not only will that strengthen your home security, it also will benefit your energy bills.
5. Light up the outside:
Exterior lights with infrared motion sensors installed near each point of entry are a great deterrent for anyone targeting your home, as their sudden illumination could indicate that someone is home…and watching. Replace any burned-out bulbs, and put your porch lights on timers.