Survival Skills: 10 Ways To Enhance Home Security

deadbolt

Your home is your castle, so how do you keep the bad guys from breaching the walls? The answer is simple: Create layers of defenses that will deter would-be burglars long before you have to think about deploying home-defense weaponry. If the crime rate starts going up, or your neighborhood starts going downhill, consider these home security enhancements to help you sleep a little better at night.

1. Lighting
This is one of the best crime deterrents. Only the most brazen of thieves and home invaders would attack a well-lit house. Lighting around the home's exterior is good. Ample lighting at back doors and ground-floor entrances is even better. Invest in a timer or two for interior lighting, to make the home look occupied when you're away on vacation.

2. Motion Sensors
These saved my family from a break-in when we lived in a questionable community. One evening, just after we turned out the lights, we saw a shadowy figure creeping past our bedroom window toward our patio door. Once the person was on the patio, the motion-sensing light came on, and the would-be robber fled. These devices aren't just for lights, either. Motion sensors can be attached to all sorts of devices, even sprinkler systems. How about a face full of water, creep?

3. Dogs
One of the best crime prevention strategies for the past several thousand years is the domesticated dog—and the bigger the better. These four-legged alarm systems are lovable and instinctively protective, and they possess senses that are far superior to our own. Their ears will pick up a prowler long before any alarm system will trip. Sometimes, even the threat of a dog will keep the bad guys at bay. We formerly kept a large water dish and massive rawhide bone on our back porch, even though we didn't have a dog at the time. It was a rougher neighborhood than the other one I mentioned, but nobody ever tried to break in.

4. Deadbolts
Locking doorknobs are an important line of defense, but they are nothing compared to a deadbolt lock. This extra door lock cannot be breached by sliding a shim or credit card by it as you can with a locking door knob. This one will take some work or criminal talent to get through. Sure, they can be picked like most locks, but it does slow down unskilled home invaders. And even if a skilled burglar attempts to pick the deadbolt lock, it'll still make some noise that will alert your big dog.

5. Alarm System
This can be a commercial system that is professionally monitored. It can also be something a little more thrifty, like a do-it-yourself system. This second choice relies on you to hear an alarm going off and then doing something about it. Obviously, a "real" alarm system is a better choice.

6. Bar The Windows
I'm not suggesting the metal bars that go on the outside of the window, unless you live someplace where that is warranted. This form of window barring is simpler and less noticeable. Cut a wooden strip that fits snugly between your bottom window sash and the window trim at the top of the opening. This stick can be painted to match the window and jammed into the corner of the window. This reduces the chances that someone could pry on the bottom sash with a crowbar and break the window lock. Cut a longer strip and lay it in the bottom track of sliding glass doors to supplement those locks as well.

7. A Nice Shrubbery
Shrubberies are important, and not just for recreating old Monty Python movies. Select shrubs that are covered with long, sharp thorns and plant them under ground-floor windows and other points of vulnerability of your home. Rose bushes, hawthorn, blackthorn, fire bush, fuchsia, barberry, and holly are great choices.

8. Noise Makers
Chimes, bells, and other noisy things can be attached to exterior and interior doors to let you know when the door is being used. It might be annoying during the day when you and your family are moving about the house, but they provide valuable info in the middle of the night.

9. Secure The Garage
Attached garages are often easy points of entry for thieves. Make sure your garage door locks securely, and that the house door leading from the garage is locked.

10. Do Nothing
This is the easiest one of the bunch. Don't repair squeaky floorboards or oil your door hinges. If you know the third stair creaks when you step on it, leave it that way. This can give you vital information during night-time hours.

What do you do to make your home secure? Please share your tips in the comments.