Evaluate Your Home Security Needs
Appropriate home security is arguably the most important thing that you can invest in – whether you are a homeowner or a tenant of rented accommodation. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring that your home is protected from potential thieves, however, as there are all kinds of variables that need to be taken into consideration.
What’s good for the goose will not necessarily be good for the gander, and likewise the most elaborate apartment security in the world may not be much use if you live in a detached house. Let’s take a look at the many and varied different options open to you for bolstering your home security, regardless of where you call home.
It’s always advisable to invest in a burglar alarm to protect your property wherever possible, but it may not always be logistically possible. A prime example of this would be apartment living.
Burglar alarms very rarely trip or are activated by accident, but it can happen. This is not a major problem if you are based in a detached home, as you should be able to take the necessary actions to switch off the alarm before your neighbors are disturbed. In an apartment setting, however, this could cause a great deal of noise that will inconvenience many people around you, as well as potentially being mistaken for a fire alarm and spreading panic to the dwellings that surround your home.
Additionally, a burglar alarm may not be strictly necessary if you live in an apartment. You will be surrounded by neighbors, many of whom will be familiar with the comings and goings associated with your front door and potentially raise the alarm themselves if they witness any suspicious activity. Many burglars will also not make the effort to break into an apartment – with so many different potential targets, they’d rather push a succession of doors and find one that is unlocked.
Burglar alarms are highly recommended if you live in a single property, especially one that is comparatively isolated such as a rural setting. Think about whether it is a required investment for an apartment, though, as it could cause more problems than it resolves.
No matter where you live, you should never take any chances with the security of your door. This is the first line of defense between you and any potential theft from your property, after all. Apply as many locks as you can!
If you live in an apartment block, you should definitely consider applying a chain and peephole to your front door. A great many people will be coming and going throughout an apartment block, and it could be easy to mistake 4A for 4B. Do you really feel comfortable opening the door to somebody when you are not certain of who is on the other side of the wood?
This does not mean that you should skimp on your door security while living in a standalone or terraced house, but you could take a different tack in such a setting.
Consider adding privacy glass to your door – something that you can see out of from the safety of your own home, but anybody on your stoop cannot use to peer in. You could also consider adding a videophone to your front door so you can see how is ringing the doorbell. If applicable, add an extra layer of security such as a porch that will require more effort for an unwelcome visitor to gain access. These are the kind of visual deterrents that will make a thief think twice about targeting your home.
If you own your property and can afford the investment, double-glazing is already worthy of serious consideration – it will add value to your home, and retain heat. Perhaps best of all though, it will make it extremely difficult to break in through a windowpane; while single glazing can be smashed with a brick or other solid object, double glazing is tougher than old leather.
Of course, this makes it particularly important to secure your windows (which includes applying some kind of lock) if you live in a house, or a ground- or basement-level apartment. If you live in a fourth or fifth floor, windows are not such an immediate concern, but an enterprising thief may still gain access with the use of a ladder. It is not unheard of for such individuals to claim to be window cleaners or a similar vocation that involves gaining access to higher ground.
Wherever you may live, ensure that your windows are closed and locked whenever you are not home. Consider leaving lights on (you can use a timer switch), and leaving the radio or television on while you are out, too. This will give the impression that somebody is home, and encourage a thief to stroll on by.
If you live in a detached house with a separate garage to house your family car, ensure that you have appropriate security placed around this. The security measures could take the form of an alarm system, a padlock, a security light or anything else that will make you feel comfortable. Ultimately, just make it difficult for an outsider to gain access to the garage – this, coupled with a traditional car alarm, should help keep your car secure.
If you live in an apartment you are unlikely to enjoy such a luxury, but you may have a communal area for bicycles – even if it’s just the hallway. If you are to leave your bike in such a location it’s ripe for theft as you never know who will be spending time in such a location. Make sure you attach some kind of padlock to the wheels to deter an opportunistic thief, and register it with the Chicago PD in case the very worst should happen.
There is no good reason not to secure and insure every one of your personal possessions in the event of a burglary, but what steps you should take will depend on where you live.
If you are based in a house, think about your furniture as well as smaller valuables, such as jewelry. Thieves could easily remove sofas, chairs, big-screen TVs and how knows what else and load them into a van without too much trouble, so look into the possibility of anchoring your furniture to the ground in some way. You should also consider applying locks to any chests or ottomans.
If you are living in a high-rise apartment it will obviously be more of a challenge for a thief to get larger items down a flight of steps without being spotted, but that will mean that smaller valuables will be even more appealing. Never leave anything such as a laptop, tablet, smartphone, jewelry or designer clothes or sunglasses in plain sight, and wherever possible, lock everything away. It’s easy to find secure furniture that cannot be broken into quickly and easily, and you will be much more relaxed knowing that anybody that gains unlawful entry into your property will not be able to quickly and easily toss your belongings into a backpack and make good their escape.
If you are lucky enough to live in a property with an outside space, you’ll have to ensure that you place just as much emphasis on securing this area of your home as you do the front. Many burglaries take place by gaining access through a backyard, and even if a thief doesn’t enter your home you may find that they will gleefully steal any garden furniture that you may own – or, even worse, any beloved furry family members that may be contentedly playing in the garden.
If you do have a backyard, be sure to install a solid, tall and lockable gate – preferably coated with anti-climb paint to make it increasingly difficult for thieves to scale. You’ll be able to pick this up from any DIY store. You should also cover up anything that may look appealing, such as expensive garden furniture or a barbecue.
If you live in an apartment with a shared or communal yard space, it can be difficult to be vigilant about who may be coming and going. Never leave anything valuable of your own in this area, and if you live on the ground level with the easiest access from this outside space, consider installing some kind of motion-sensitive lighting to keep an eye on any unexpected entries at night. This could be problematic if there are pets in the apartment block as they will be prone to wandering and setting off the reactor, but it’s a welcome layer of protection.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to security around the home – it’s always advisable to be safe rather than sorry, insuring everything that you own and ensuring that anything valuable is kept out of easy access by an aspiring and enterprising thief. Follow these tips, however, and you will be free to relax and enjoy your home safe in the knowledge that you have taken the necessary steps to protect what you have worked so hard for.