If you’re looking for a DIY project to kick off the new year, why not make home security a top priority? Many people don’t take security seriously until after a break-in. Get ahead of things this year with some of these simple fixes.
Criminals love to lurk in the shadows, and all those overgrown trees and shrubs in your yard might make your house look like a prime target. By trimming back branches, especially those nearest to the house, you’ll eliminate potential hiding spots. While a tidy yard can help eliminate some hiding places, you probably don’t want a completely barren lawn. So illuminate areas around the trees and bushes that you leave behind with a few strategically place flood lights.
Reinforce Your Doors
A weak door can be felled with a few swift kicks or a twist of a crowbar. Add a layer of protection to your entryways by reinforcing your doors. These simple screw-on improvements can make your door impervious to heavy-footed criminals. A door guard plate will strengthen the door itself, and a door jam reinforcement — perhaps the best single improvement you can make — replaces a soft pine door frame with a solid steel inset. If you’re like to take it a step further, you can also replace an old wooden door with a solid steel security door.
Protect the Garage
You’re only as secure as the weakest link, and for many people that’s the garage. Many people make the mistake of leaving their garage door openers in their cars. If you park your car on the street, criminals only have to smash open a car window to get into your garage. One way to prevent this is to install a wifi-enabled garage door opener like the LiftMaster Internet Gateway or the Garageio, which allow you to use your phone — a device you’re not likely to leave behind in your car — as the clicker. These devices also allow you to see if you’ve mistakenly left the door open and close it from anywhere you have a internet connection, giving you peace of mind when you’re away.
Strengthen Your Windows
Windows are another common entry point for burglars. A brick or length of pipe will make swift work of most windows, unless you protect it with a smash-proof coating. A protective film, like 3M’s Safety and Security Window Films, isn’t very difficult to install — the film goes on like a giant sticker for your window. When a brick-wielding thief comes by looking for an entrance, he might be able to crack the pane, but the film will continue to hold the glass in place, barring entry. As an added benefit for those that live in areas prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, these coatings will add a line of defense against extreme weather — a home security win-win.
Install Security Cameras
Security cameras are nothing new, but a new generation of devices allow you to get a live feed on your phone or tablet, which means you can quickly check in or your home if you get an alert from your security company or a neighbor calls you to report suspicious activity nearby. These devices can catch home invaders in the act, but also petty thieves that steal packages off your front door step. If you decide to install a security camera, get one that’s motion activated like the Belkin NetCam or the Dropcam Pro. These cameras can send an alert to your phone when they sense sound or motion nearby, allowing you to quickly respond to potential threats and sparing you the tedious task of reviewing hours of security footage if a package goes missing or someone attempts a break-in.