Simple Steps to Prevent Home Invasion

prevent home invasion

Take these simple steps to prevent home invasion in 2013

Today is the first day of a new year, and we can also make it the first day we work toward a safer, more secure home.

Over the coming months, we’ll explore many different topics relating to your family’s safety (Have suggestions or requests? Hit me up in the comments.), but today we’ll start with some very simple things you can do, right now, to make your family and home safer in 2013.

SEVEN Steps to Preventing a Home Invasion

1. Use a Peephole

We teach our kids to never open the door to strangers, but then we make this mistake ourselves. True, most front-door visitors wish us no ill-will, but one who does won’t think twice about breaking your door in as soon as you’ve opened it a crack. Install a peephole and use it before opening the door to anyone.

peephole as burglar deterrent

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Hopefully not a Soprano!

2. Lock Up

Statistics say that 4 in 10 burglars walk in through an open (unlocked) door or window. You can greatly reduce your risk by simply locking your doors and windows whenever you go out and at night. If you love sleeping with the windows open, install special windows that lock when open – but not so open that intruders can slip in.

3. Kick-proof Your Doors

It’s a scary thought, but burglars do kick down doors to get into a home. You can make your doors stronger by installing a sturdy frame, deep box strike, and solid door in wood, fiberglass or metal. (Catch some more tips on how to burglar-proof your doors.)

4. Light ‘Em Up

Take outdoor illumination seriously and install floodlights around your home. Put them on motion sensors. Ideally, no area of your home’s perimeter should fall outside the reach of your lights.

keypad door lock

A keypad door lock is a safe way to grant access to your home

5. Keyed Entry

Many times, a spare key given to a home contractor or other person can fall into the wrong hands. The best strategy is to give out a separate key that works on only one door; change it as soon as the job is finished. (You can buy locks that you can easily re-key yourself.) Alternatively, you can install a keyless entry panel that uses a combination code that is easily updated as often as necessary.

6. Shady Shrubbery

High shrubs, bushes or trees around your home provide convenient cover for would-be intruders. Keep landscaping around doors and windows pruned and low-cut. If you have an undeniable yen for high bushes, choose burglar-deterrent plants – those with sharp thorns, razor-sharp leaves, or other decorative-but-inhospitable features.

7. Install a Home Alarm

If you don’t have an burglar alarm system already installed, consider one for 2013. There are many different options available, from systems that merely surveil your entry points to state-of-the-art alarms that incorporate motion and vibration sensors, cell phone monitoring, and closed-circuit video recording. There is truly an option for every budget, so if you’ve been holding out in deference to your wallet, you’ll likely be surprised at how affordable a home security alarm system can actually be. And in the end, can you really put a price on your family’s security?

9 Top Questions to Ask Your Home Alarm Company

How to Choose a Home Security Company

Put your family’s safety in the hands of a trustworthy security company

Scan your local Yellow Pages and you’ll find dozens of home alarm companies advertising their security services. Where to begin? A recommendation from a trusted friend or family member is always a good start, but even in the case of a glowing review, you need to ask basic questions of any potential company.

1. Is the company a member of a recognized security association?

A reputable and trustworthy home alarm company will be affiliated with a local or national industry association, such as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. For safety’s sake, call the organization to verify the company’s membership.

2. How long has the alarm company been in operation?

In the home alarm industry, time = experience. If you’re installing a very simple system, a new company might be acceptable, but complicated systems should be left to a company with years of experience in complex security systems.

3. Is the company fully licensed?

It is essential that any home alarm company be fully licensed for business by state and local governments. Don’t believe everything you’re told – call to double-check.

4. What security measures does the company take to ensure client safety?

Asking an open-ended question like this can tell you a lot about a home security company. They should rattle off a decent list of security measures, including:

  • Background checks and security clearances for all employees
  • Certified electricians to wire your system
  • Fully bonded
  • Liability and/or Errors and Omissions Insurance
  • Written guarantee on your home alarm system
Arming your house alarm system

Always ask about advanced home alarm features, like mobile phone access to the system

Always ask about advanced home alarm security features, like mobile access to the system.

5. What is the company’s average response time to alarms?

A good company will respond to all alarm reports within 60 seconds.

6. Does the company’s home security equipment have a warranty?

All things electrical have a finite lifespan, and when they involve your family’s safety it’s important to have a warranty. Ask a potential home alarm company whether just the equipment has a warranty, and whether installation/repair is also covered. Additionally, a solid company will always schedule a repair visit within 24 hours of your complaint.

7. Can the alarm company provide proof of your alarm system to your homeowner’s insurance?

Your home security company should be able to supply official proof of your system, so that you can get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.

8. How often does the home alarm company test their systems?

Your house alarm should receive regular tests to ensure that it is working properly. At minimum, these tests should be conducted once per month.

9. Does the company offer systems with advanced safety features?

Thieves are unfortunately savvy to many basic security features, so an advanced system is the best way to keep your family safe. Ask a contender security company what kind of advanced features their systems have. Some features to seek out include:

  • Cellular Monitoring: A wireless system that is connected via cell signal does not rely on your telephone line or broadband Internet connection, so it cannot be disabled by even a tech-savvy burglar.
  • Remote Access: Access to and the option to arm/disarm your system from any Internet device.
  • There’s an App for That: Access to your system via a smart phone or other portable device.
  • Email/Text/Phone Notifications: Your system can send an automatic email, text or even phone call if an alarm is triggered (doors open, a window is broken, power goes out, etc.) when you’re not home.
  • Video Services: While you’re out, you should be able to view your security feed from a smart phone or any web-enabled device.