Home Security Basics
Just this week I have had to replace the HVAC units in two different homes. Both were outside units, and the thieves literally walked up to their homes and walked away with 500 pound units. And a third was taken apart and all of the copper tubing had been removed. Not only that, but they were very crude about it, so I couldn’t even just replace the stolen copper. The entire thing was pretty much garbage.
Although this seems crazy to me, it is really happening. So I wanted to write something about keeping your home, and all of your valuables safe, whether inside or out.
To address the security of your home the first thing you should do is conduct an audit. By this I mean try and break into your own house. OK, I know this sounds a bit severe, but the only way you’ll know where the weak spots are in your property is if you can expose them.
The best place to start is at the front door. This should be of solid construction, preferably without any glass, have three hinges and no letterbox (an outside letterbox is preferable). Everyone has at least one lock on the door and this is usually a Yale type lock, which although fine for stopping the casual intruder is not enough to deter the professional thief. This type of lock is also the type that is susceptible to credit card opening by thieves slipping the latch.
You should without question have a Deadlock installed. These are actually embedded into the door and as such resist attempts to “kick” the door open. A basic deadlock will have 5 levers whereby a heavy-duty deadlock will have 7, the difference being the amount of key combinations that are available. Locksmith Brea Ca | Low Rate Locksmith | (562) 302-1531 can install these in less than an hour if you’re in the Cali area.
The back door needs just the same level of protection and may be more vulnerable due to the isolated nature of its location. To increase back door security, increase the security of your garden. Repair or install fencing, get a padlock and chain for a side gate and install automatic lighting that comes on when any body approaches the rear of your house.
If you have any weak boundaries think of planting a prickly hedge to deter intruders.
Window Locks & Window Security
When it comes to window security there are two areas of concern. The first is the condition of the frame and the other is whether window locks are fitted or not. With regards to the window frames, a visual examination of the frames and hinges should tell you whether they are up to the job or not. If they are showing signs of rot, replace them.
When it comes to window locks they should be fitted to all downstairs windows and to any upstairs windows that are easy to reach (perhaps because of a balcony or other compromising feature).
When installing any window locks try to fit them so that they are obvious from the outside; this can deter the casual thief from probing.
Another tip is to fit venetian blinds to vulnerable windows, as they are difficult to pass and make a lot of noise.
CCTV Camera Systems
CCTV systems used to be really expensive. These days however, they’re quite affordable. The question is what kind of system best suits your requirements. Available systems range from dummy cameras to full blown multi-camera systems, what you decide to use will more than likely be dictated by price, as most systems are easy to have installed.
So before purchasing any unit, ask yourself why you want a security camera. How much are you willing to spend on a system? If the main reason is simply to deter thieves and intruders, then a dummy security camera could be an option.
Yes, dummy security cameras do work. Just like an authentic system, they too come in a variety of styles and designs and have models of varying quality. The major benefit of a dummy CCTV camera is the low price tag, making it ideal for those who have a limited budget.
Being fake the cameras are not designed to monitor events, but to put off any unwanted intruders from entering your home or property. They are designed simply to fool even the most sophisticated criminals. They do this by being fitted with realistic features.
There are models that feature a built in motion detector, so they will tend to move when someone passes by and will even move back and forth. Some fake security cameras feature a red light that flashes every time a motion is detected by the camera. All designed to fool the thief, while not putting a hole in your wallet. The beauty of fake CCTV cameras is that they’re easy to install with no extra hardware needed. And you only need a few tools.
When it comes to fitting your house out with a real CCTV system you have plenty of options.
You can go for a cheap system where a wireless camera transmits to a unit that connects to your regular TV set or go all out with a motorized multi camera system that has its own monitor. With most systems you can also record what the cameras are seeing, which could be very helpful in the case of an incident.
An alarm system can be both a deterrent and warning device. The simple act of installing an alarm can be a highly visible symbol to the outside world that you have taken counter intrusion measures and will have a significant impact on the number of attempted break ins you suffer.
For those bold enough to try and break into your property an alarm system will alert members of the general public that you are being burgled or with more sophisticated alarms, alert a security company or the police force.
Alarm System Components
An alarm system has four main components.
The first component is the control panel. This is considered the brains of the alarm system.
The second component is the keypad. The keypad is usually found in the vicinity of the main entrance. The keypad is responsible for the manipulation of the alarm system (allows you to disarm or arm your alarm system).
Thirdly you have the sensors. These are usually split into “magnetic contacts”, which are installed on the windows and doors of your property and “motion sensors”. Motion sensors detect any movement within the house. Some sophisticated alarm systems have heat sensors that detect body heat or the change of temperature in a particular area.
The final component of an alarm system is the alarm box. These usually contain very loud sirens; some systems will have flashing lights to attract more attention.
If you decide to purchase an alarm system you have a few choices. The first thing to decide on is whether you go for a Wireless Alarm System or a Wired Alarm System. With a wireless system installation is very easy, as there are no cables to run.
Another consideration is whether to have a monitored or unmonitored alarm system. A monitored alarm is more expensive and usually means a yearly subscription to a security monitoring service, but can give added peace of mind.
What ever system you decide to install remember one thing, remember to turn it on. It’s surprising how many people fail to do this.
You don’t want someone walking of with a $1000 HVAC unit. So what is one to do?
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
First, if it is possible, try to conceal the unit. “out of sight is out of mind” theory here. If you have a typical outside unit, try planting some bushes around the unit so it’s not so visible. You can even use something like roses or some other “thorny” bush to dissuade would be thieves even more.
Or place the unit on a concrete slab and after screwing down the unit, have the bolts welded. Although a thief can cut the screws, the cutting will make a lot of noise and draw attention. Not good for a thief!
Or use a HVAC cage. It is like a cage for an animal, but it’s for your HVAC unit. If you are creating a new spot for the unit, try concreting the unit right into the slab for maximum protection.
Or try this in the video for a cheaper and easier version of the same idea…
Quick Home Security Tips
- Don’t label your keys with your home address, if you loose them a burglar will know exacly where to go.
- Scrub out any strange chalk signs outside your house, it could be code left by thieves to tell other thieves about your security.
- Take Handbags and wallets upstairs at night time.
- Photograph valuables, it will help with any insurance claims.
- Keep small valuable items like laptops and mobile phones away from easy viewing.
- Always ask any utility company caller to show you their identity card. A genuine caller will be pleased you asked and will pass you their card. Examine it carefully before allowing them entry, if your unsure phone the respective company first.
- If your area has a neighborhood watch scheme consider joining it, if not you should consider forming one. Contact your local police station for more information.
- Just moved into a new house? Then consider changing all the locks on your external doors, you can’t be sure who has copies of keys to your new house.
- Consider using a property marking pen to secretly mark your property with your post or zip code and name. Place the security stickers that are supplied with these pens on the front and the back door of your property to inform any would be thief that your possessions have been security marked.
- Make use of timer switches to turn on and off lights around the house when you’re not in.
- Having great home security is only effective if you use it. Remember to always double lock front doors and make sure all windows are locked. Failing to do so can not only lead to burgalry, but also invalidate your homes content insurance.
- If you’re away on holiday don’t forget to cancel the milk, newspapers and any other regular deliveries in advance. Ask a good friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home and to remove any free newspapers or mail that might be sticking out of your letter box.
- Take photographs and keep receipts for any valuables you have in the event that you need to make a claim for them being stolen.
- Mark your most expensive items such as computers with your house postcode (zip code) using a security marker pen. Also keep a note of any seriel numbers on electrical equipment so that if they are recovered you can prove that you own them.