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Evaluating Your Home’s Security

When evaluating the security of your home, we suggest putting yourself in the mind of the criminal who wants to gain access to your home and conducting a thorough inspection, inside and out. You should start from the outside of the home and make a methodical, 360-degree inspection, starting from the ground up. During your inspection, you’ll need to ask yourself the types of questions below.

Windows

  • Identify all windows that are on the ground level that could potentially allow a home invader to fit through. Nevermind determining if it would be easy for home invaders to do so; they’ve been known to do some pretty unorthodox things to gain entry to a home.
  • Do they lock properly? Are they locked?
  • Does anything block the view of the window from the outside, such as a tree or shrubs?
  • Is there anything outside the house that could potentially be used as a stepstool to climb through the window? While home invaders aren’t likely to carry their own ladders or stepstools, they will take advantage of anything you’ve left outside that will make their job easier.
  • Do you have alarm company stickers on your windows? New, fresh looking stickers (not stickers that look like they were put on by the previous occupant).
  • Do your windows have plastic or metal locks?
  • If you have standard-hung windows, do you have a secondary security device, such as a bar stop?
  • If you have casement windows, do you have standard or reinforced hinges?
  • Do the windows have a protective laminate applied or baked to the inside of the window? In other words, will your windows be shattered with a single blow or are they designed to withstand repeated blows?
  • On the first floor, what’s in front of the windows? For example, are they blocked by a table or other barrier that a home invader would need to climb over, or is the area wide open?

Doors

  • What is the quality and strength of the front, back, side and interior garage doors? It’s natural to focus on the strength of your front door, but criminals will focus on whichever door is the weakest.
  • What’s the general appearance of the door? Does it look new, or is it old, faded and looking primed for a good kick?
  • Are the hinges on the outside or inside?
  • Do you have an ability to see who is at the door without them seeing you?
  • Do you use a deadbolt, chain lock or throw-over lock?
  • How long are the screws that are used to mount the strike plate? You’ll actually need to unscrew the screws to answer this question.

Lights, General Appearance, Alarm

Lights

  • Is your house well-lit or poorly lite on all sides? How about the adjoining neighbors’ houses? Criminals will look for not only dark homes but also dark homes surrounded by dark homes.

General Appearance

  • How close are trees or shrubs to your home? Is there anything that a criminal can hide behind while trying to enter a window or door?
  • Do you have burglar alarm signs (in new condition) at all entry points?

Alarm

  • Do you have a security alarm, and do you set it? (Homes that have alarms are three times less likely to be burglarized.)
  • Is it connected to an alarm service?
  • Do you have motion detectors, glass-break sensors and sensors on the windows?

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