At Landport, we’re big believers that simple acts of deterrence are the best prevention against theft. Law enforcement officials, home security experts and even Bob Vila from This Old House all seem to agree. In fact, many home burglaries are performed by amateurs. Often, they can be stopped in their tracks with a few easy security precautions. The following is a list of twelve ways to easily discourage the bad guys: burglars, porch pirates and overly-opportunistic passersby.
1. Install slide bolts. We’re particularly enamored with this tip. After being burglarized, a Landport team member consulted with a home security expert about installing an alarm. He pointed to a slide bolt mounted to her back door and said, “that’s one of the best things you can have in your home to keep people out.” She still installed an alarm – but now looks at her slide bolt with new-found respect.
2. Use both a deadbolt and a spring-bolt lock. Deadbolts are often installed along with spring bolt locks on exterior doors to increase security. Deadbolts insert a long bolt into your doorframe, and when installed correctly, are not easy to get past. Indiana-based locksmith Eric Ball sums it up nicely: “Doorknobs are for convenience, deadbolts are for security”.
3. Place a simple dowel in a sash window. This will prevent it from sliding open. Our founder Jody created one that actually matched her casework. She simply cut down a piece of wood to fit her window and painted it the same color as her trim. It’s unobtrusive and works like a charm.
4. Burglar-proof glass patio doors. Another nifty dowel tip. Place a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. Make sure the pipe is the same length as the track.
5. Lock anything valuable with wheels. If you store valuable items like bikes and lawnmowers in your garage or basement, make sure to lock them to something stationary (like a post or stair railing) so they can’t be easily rolled away.
6. Paint tool handles. Sounds quaint, but thieves often avoid swiping things that can be easily identified.
7. Install shades. Preferably ones that let light in, but still make it hard to see what’s inside. If a thief can’t see it, he can’t decide he wants to take it.
8. Appear as if you are home, even when you’re not. It’s common knowledge that most burglaries occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when people are at work or running errands. Using a simple timer that randomly turns lights on and off during these hours is an effective way to confuse a potential thief.
9. Put that ladder away. If you’re using a ladder to work on a home project, take the time to store it out of site when you’re done with the task. A ladder placed near a vulnerable spot (like an upstairs window) is very inviting to a thief.
10. Don’t leave notes on your door. Instructions attached to a door for delivery people, service people, or friends or family are a visual cue to thieves that no one is home. Notes may even contain information that might make breaking in or theft that much easier.
11. Prune your bushes. Neatly trimmed shrubs create more visibility and less inviting areas for lurkers to hide.
12. Get a small, yappy dog. The word on street is that small dogs bark longer and more intensely – which can really get on a thief’s nerves – not to mention blow his cover. According to Walter T. Shaw, a “retired” burglar and author of “A License to Steal”, “I would never go into a house that has one. They’re a huge deterrent because they just don’t stop barking.”
What simple and practical home security tips have you incorporated into your home?