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?