Home Safety

It’s important to maintain the appearance of your home and certain tasks, safety features and basic pieces of knowledge about your property.

Although the list of tasks is long, keeping up with regular home maintenance will keep you from future headaches and wasted money.
 
You can complete the majority of tasks on your own without much experience and do what works for you and your schedule.  As long as all these things get accomplished, your home will be happy for years and years to come.

 
Get to Know Your Neighbours
 
  • Intruders are more unlikely to go after a home if they think they’re being watched.  Keep a spare key with a trusted neighbour, not hidden somewhere near the house.
  • Don't leave notes for people or keys in obvious places.  Get into the habit of checking the security of your home before leaving and never take the "It'll never happen to me" approach.
  • Don't leave keys, wallets, mobile phones and electronic devices in view on kitchen benches etc, store them in a secure place out of sight.
 
Install a Home Security System

Homes without a security system are three times more likely to be broken into than homes with one.  Besides monitoring for breaches, many security companies also offer fire and carbon monoxide detection, as well as features that allow you to control your home’s lighting and appliances while you’re away.

If you can’t afford a Home Security System, consider installing alarms that, once set, emit a loud noise whenever someone opens a door or breaks a window. These types of alarms are more affordable.

A cheaper idea would be to place a generic sticker to the effect that “This home is protected by Home Security” in different windows around your home.  It might not deter all intruders, but it may cause some to reconsider making you a target.


Get a Dog

Your dog isn’t your primary means of home security, however, having a barking dog in the backyard or in your home will more than likely make intruders think twice before breaking into your home.

 
Keep the Outside of Your House Tidy

Regular home maintenance keeps your home looking like it’s occupied.  ie mowed lawns, trimmed and pruned shrubs and trees.  Also, planting thorny bushes near windows can be a deterrent and act as an evidence collection tool in the event of a home intrusion.
 
 
Keep the Outside of Your House Well-lit

Put lighting on a timer to light the outside of your house so neighbours can see a suspicious person within 100 feet of your home and light your front door and other entry point areas.  If you have tall trees around your home, you might also consider installing timed floodlights in their branches that come on at night for additional security.


Rubbish

Intruders will “window shop” your home to check for any new item cardboard boxes.  Cut up the boxes so they fit in the recycle bin.  Secondly, don’t throw away any bills or bank statements without shredding them first.

 
Securing Doors

Doors are a home’s first point of entry, so consider strengthening their security with the following measures:
 
  • Make sure the hinges of all entry doors are on the inside of the home.  If hinges are on the outside, intruders can break them off to get in.
  • Replace the strike plate which is the metal rectangle on the inside of the door that the deadbolt or door latch inserts into when the door closes. When intruders kick in a door, the strike plate is often the part that gives first, particularly in older homes where they can be worn or loose.
  • Install security film on glass panes. Doors with lots of glass panes are easy to compromise.
  • Check to see if your doors fit the frame snugly.  Intruders can insert crowbars in the gap between the door and the frame to pry it open.
  • French doors are easy to kick open so buy a kit to help reinforce them.
  • Sliding glass doors often have ineffective locking mechanisms.  Add a lock which is vertical and bolts into the floor and the top frame or put a wooden dowel in the bottom track to prevent the door from sliding open. Because sliding doors also typically have a lot of glass, you may consider covering it with security film as well.
  • Install and use deadlocks to all external doors and have peep-holes to identify visitors.
  • Always remember to lock your doors and windows when you leave your home, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Always lock your front door when at the rear of your home or in the back garden.
  • Ensure all external doors are locked overnight.
 
Upgrade Your Locks

Choose high security locks as they aren’t easily compromised.  These have keys which are very difficult to duplicate and the tools you need to compromise (pick/bump) these locks won’t be commonly available.


Securing Windows
 
  • Always lock windows.  Intruders typically don’t like to break glass, so keep your windows locked.
  • Consider security film.  The film makes the glass harder to break through, increasing entry time and noise that will bring attention.
  • Consider security bars.  If you don’t care too much about aesthetics and live in a particularly high risk area, you might consider installing security bars on your windows.
  • Use shutters and curtains to prevent ‘snooping’.
 
Securing the Garage
 
  • Keep your garage door closed unless you are outside working.
  • Make sure to lock access doors. The doors that go into your garage and from the garage into your home should be secured just as much as your front door. Keep them locked and reinforce if necessary.
  • If you park in the driveway, take the garage door opener inside with you.
 
Other Tips

Below you'll find a list of things every homeowner should know the location and operation of for safety, security and maintenance:
 
  • Main electrical panel box
  • Water shut-off valve
  • Gas Meter and shut-off valve
  • Attic access
  • Sewer access
  • Hot water
  • Property Line
 
Printed and Other Resources