Three Unusual but Effective Home Security Resolutions for 2014
All of us like to make resolutions to improve ourselves, but what about our homes? Start 2014 off right with these simple tips that can be practiced on a daily basis.
The best part? They’ll not only help to keep you and your family safe—they’ll improve your neighborhood relationships, and the look of your home, too!
1. Get to know the neighbors
Your neighbors are not simply the people who live next door: they may be your greatest allies in the fight against home invasion. If you’re not already on friendly terms, this year make it a point to get to know them.
A positive, established relationship with those living around you can be mutually beneficial. If you’re away on vacation or for business, it’s nice to feel comfortable knowing your neighbors are on the lookout for any suspicious behavior, or are simply there to collect your mail and newspapers. Likewise, they’ll feel good knowing you’re there to do the same for them.
If your neighbors participate in a neighborhood watch program, get involved. If they send out emails with news and events, sign up. If none of these options are available, suggest them—they benefit everyone.
The best way to befriend a neighbor? Simply look for opportunities to say “hello” or offer help. If all else fails, show up with home-baked goods!
2. Switch up your routine
How do burglars know when to break in? By following your daily routine.
This year, switch things up. Don’t live by the same rules every day. Switch up the time you leave for or come home from work a few days out of the week, or show up for lunch every now and then. If you generally turn your lights on and off around the same time each morning and night, consider setting up a timer so they can be scheduled to turn on and off automatically at different times even when you’re not home.
Be safe in your habits, and switch them up from time to time, too.
This one’s a win-win. Not only will you improve the look of your home, you’ll also be deterring burglars from lurking around in the overgrown trees and bushes that once dominated your yard. By trimming these down, especially those closest to the house, you’re ridding your home of potential hiding spots. A completely empty lawn is not the idea, though. Any large trees or shrubs that stay can easily be illuminated with flood lights.
Cheers to a safe and happy 2014!
Top 5 Tips for Securing Your Home Before a Winter Vacation
Winter already gets a bad rap for its darker evenings and frosty temperatures, and now there’s one more reason to be wary.
This time of year, because of the early nightfall, need for money during the holidays, and rise in number of houses left empty during holiday vacations, there tends to be a peak in home break-ins. Additionally, insurance claims spike, often the result of the unpredictable winter weather that can strike while individuals and families are away from home.
Yet, this is the time of year for travel. With so many facets of home security to consider, what are the basics to remember this winter? Here are some tips.
1. Secure your home: A home security system remains your best protection against break-ins. If your house, apartment, condo, or townhouse is not already protected by a security system, consider researching your options. For those in a rental, there are wireless systems that you can unhook and take with you any time you move.
2. Use a few timers: Instead of leaving one light on for the entirety of your trip, invest in a few timers that can be synced to various lights in your house. Schedule them to turn on and off at reasonable hours of the day and night.
3. Consider a safe: Consider investing in a high-quality safe if you have particularly important or expensive possessions. Hide it well and don’t write down the combination in an easily accessible location.
4. Don’t hide your keys: Concealing keys outside the home is never safe—burglars know where to look. Instead, give a spare key to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor, and ask them to stop by your home on occasion while you’re away. Offer to do the same in return when they head out of town.
5. Shed some light: Most burglars are looking for an easy and dark entrance and exist, so make use of security lighting by installing bulbs that strategically shine outside entranceways and hallways.
Aside from security, do your best to prevent winter weather damage by checking your gutters and your roof (for loose tiles), clearing your yard of any tools or debris, and leaving your heat on low so as not to return home to frozen—or worse, busted—pipes.
This season it’s the small steps that can have majorly positive impacts on you, your family, and your home.
Hitting the Road:
Thanksgiving Home Security Tips
We are preparing to enter what is for many of us the busiest time of the year, and this is especially true at Thanksgiving. With an estimated 93 million Americans expected to travel for the holiday, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of flight numbers, itineraries, recipes, and visions of masterfully crafted meals.
Don’t forget the importance of securing your home before you leave. While an ADT monitored home security system remains your best bet in safeguarding against holiday burglary, abiding by these simple but effective home security tips are a great start.
1. Take care of everyday items
- Turn off your telephone ringer or turn the volume down. To a burglar, a phone ringing endlessly is an easy clue that a house is empty.
- Don’t record a voicemail indicating that you’re out of town. If you have a traditional answering machine, pick up your messages remotely daily.
- Either request that your mail and newspaper be stopped or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect them daily.
- Using automatic timers, turn a few indoor lights on and off at certain points in the day
2. Inspect doors and windows
- Do not leave a key hidden outside your home. Burglars will find it. Instead, ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to hold onto a spare.
- Make sure all windows and doors are locked before leaving.
3. Clear the yard
- Rake the leaves and complete late fall pruning; roll up the hose and put away any tools, ladders or mowers.
- Make certain landscaping allows for an unobstructed view of your doors and windows from the street.
4. Check outdoor lighting
- Make sure all outdoor lights work and change any burned-out bulbs.
- If you don’t have motion-activated outdoor security lighting, install it in the dark corners of your property.
5. Out of sight, out of mind
- Keep valuables—and even items such as computers, laptops, video game systems, and other portable electronics—hidden from view of outside windows.
- Similarly, if you’re leaving any cars in the driveway, keep valuables and electronics out of sight, or better yet remove them.
- Did you recently purchase a large gift for someone for the holidays? Break down and hide or dispose of cardboard boxes to be discrete about new purchases.
- Close blinds and window coverings.
6. Guard your garage
- Make sure the door leading from your garage into your home has a strong lock, and use it.
- Before you leave, unplug your automatic garage door opener. You’d be surprised how easily these devices can be tampered with or opened with others’ remotes.
7. Lean on a friend (or a neighbor, or a family member)
- Do you have a neighborhood association or neighborhood watch? Get involved. Introduce yourself. Let others know you’re heading out of town so your neighbors know to keep an extra watch on your home. Return the favor when they go on vacation.
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway a couple nights while you’re away to deter potential burglars. Offer to do the same when they leave town.