It only takes one unlocked window to invite a thief into your home. And, although nearly 2.5 million burglaries occur each year, a new study by Ace Hardware reveals 79 percent of people feel "very safe" in their homes. This last statistic breeds a false sense of comfort and suggests there is more homeowners should do to defend their dwellings. Follow these tips for tightening up your home's security:
Door locks are deterrents
Many would-be burglars won't hesitate to use the front door, so turn them away with a good deadbolt. There are two types of deadbolts, single cylinder and double cylinder. Single cylinder locks are keyed on the outside with a thumb-turn knob on the inside and are good for general entry doors. Double cylinder locks are keyed on both the outside and the inside and are good for entry doors flanked by windows.
Security that makes the grade
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) uses a grading system to gauge the safety and security of door locks. Grade 3 locksets are the most cost-effective and provide low-level residential security. Grade 2 locksets meet light commercial building requirements and provide medium safety at a medium price. Grade 1 locksets, though somewhat more costly, meet stringent commercial building requirements and provide maximum residential security. Generally, a Grade 2 lock is sufficient for most homes.
Windows and patio doors
Some of the easiest entry points into the home are windows and patio doors. Make sure these are always shut tight and locked, especially if they can be accessed from the first floor. For single- and double-hung windows, make sure the sash locks work properly. For sliding windows and patio doors, consider installing a security bar to prevent unwanted opening of the unit.
It's hard for thieves to use the cover of darkness when they can't find any, so keep the areas surrounding your home well-lit, especially around points of entry. Decorative lighting around the perimeter of your home serves a dual purpose, while motion activated lights on the side of the house and near the back door keep the darkness, and the burglars, away.
Make sure bushes and tree branches are trimmed to prevent the landscaping from serving as a hiding placed for burglars.
Having a secure home doesn't require unsightly barred windows or solid-steel entry doors. Choose security options that fit your home's décor. Interior window locks as well as light fixtures and door handles are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes to suit your needs.
Tightening up your home is an investment in the safety of you and your family. Spend a little time and money upfront to prevent having to make up for damages and lost property later. And remember, if you have home improvement questions and need a little advice, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org- I'd be glad to help! - Lou