Security 101

Some people are extremely concerned about safety and home security. Others… not so much. Regardless of where you live, security is always a concern – even if you live in a neighborhood that is generally considered safe and free of crime. Your home could be broken into and your family endangered at any time, and ensuring proper safety measures are in place is of utmost importance.

Having a security system in place is definitely preferred, and many advancements have been made in recent years to systems that allow them to be controlled remotely, offer additional features, and optimize protection. For many, though, even the relatively low cost of owning a security system can be somewhat cost-prohibitive, so I’d like to review some less expensive, more simplistic options that anyone can use to help ensure your family is as safe and secure as possible.

First, ensure that deadbolts are installed on exterior doors. Contrary to the latch bolts that come with standard doorknobs and are fairly easy to pry open for people intent on doing so, deadbolts are thick and solid and have squared off edges that make them much stronger. If you don’t already have deadbolts and plan to install them, ensure that the keyed side (the side that requires use of a key for operation) is located on the exterior. The last thing you want is to have to locate and use a key in the event you need to escape during a possible emergency.

Next, check the screws in your strike plates. They typically come with short screws, but you can replace those with longer screws that will better secure them and prevent them from easily being pried off.

Windows (especially older ones) are often slightly misaligned and do not fully lock shut because the sashes are a little uneven when closed. It’s easy to overlook this seemingly minor problem when the windows still fully close, but they become a potential entry point for would-be intruders when they do not physically lock when shut. Most unlocked windows can be opened from the outside with relative ease.

An often overlooked home security feature is lighting. Statistics show that burglars are greatly deterred when lights are either already on, or suddenly come on, during a possible robbery or break-in. Dusk to dawn and motion sensor flood lights work great for this purpose. Dusk to dawn lights sense a decrease in natural light and come on when it’s dark (the time that break-ins are more likely), and motion sensors come on only when detecting motion. They also literally “flood” the area with light, providing great visibility and little room for intruders to hide. Even interior lights that are turned on are a good deterrent to potential intruders, which is why many people set lights on timers when they’re away from home.

There are other obvious security related practices that I won’t address here given varying beliefs and sensitivities. I would stress, though, that the more consequential a security measure may be, the more dangerous it may also be if not properly managed. Responsibility is vital, and any security plan should be practical, well planned and clearly communicated to all of the home’s residents.

It’s worth taking some time to evaluate your home’s security measures and to plan for improvements. This brief article provides some basic insight that will hopefully be helpful, but your own plan will likely involve numerous factors that align with your own property, your level of concern, and even your beliefs. Regardless, it is a good idea to ensure that your family and home are as safe as possible.

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Author: hillinspections

I am a Certified Master Inspector (CMI) and the owner and operator of Hill Property Inspections LLC, the top-rated inspection company in the greater Johnstown, PA area, based out of western Pennsylvania. I specialize in property inspections and environmental testing services and have a passion for helping my own clients and other families in learning to properly maintain their homes. I’m also the owner of Hill Pest Control, LLC and a pest management professional committed to helping our clients rid their homes and businesses of unwanted pests. I am an Army veteran, former State Farm Insurance Agent, and real estate investor with experience in all facets of real estate construction, transaction and insurance. I am also the founder and President of the Southwestern PA Chapter of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and an affiliate member of the Cambria-Somerset Association of Realtors (CSAR).

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