Even though many of us are spending a lot more time at home these than we normally would, it is still important to keep home security in mind at all times. Here is a guide that you can use as a checklist to make sure you are keeping your home safe and secure this holiday season.
Exterior Doors and Windows
- Make sure to keep your doors and windows secure at all times.
- To provide an effective barrier, your doors should be made of solid hardwood or be metal clad.
- If your doors have glass panels, they should be reinforced so that they cannot be shattered to allow easy entry.
- Definitely make sure that all entryways have at least one locking mechanism including a sturdy deadbolt lock installed into the door frame.
- Electronic keyless door locks that operate by entering a code are very convenient allowing you to come and go without fumbling for your keys, but make sure that the lock also accepts a key for manual entry in the event of electronic or power failure.
- Don’t hide a spare key under the doormat, in a planter, in the mailbox, etc. Thieves know to look in all these locations; instead, leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour or nearby family member.
- Use a peep hole or nearby window to see who is at the door before opening it up, even if you have an inside safety chain. If you do not know or recognize the person at the door, be very cautious if you decide to open the door.
Garage and Sliding Doors
- Just like for your home’s exterior doors, make sure the person door of your garage is made of solid hardwood or is metal clad and is equipped with a high quality locking deadbolt.
- The overhead garage door should also have a lock accessible from the inside (which could be as simple as a heavy gauge pin that prevents the door from opening) so that the automatic door opener is not the only security mechanism such as when you are away for an extended period of time.
- Make sure you lock all the garage doors when leaving the house.
- If you have any sliding doors, make sure they have a quality lock and are jammed shut by placing a solid piece of wood in the door track every evening and when you leave the house. For added security, if possible use a narrow piece of wood above the door to prevent it being lifted off the track.
- Do not allow strangers into the building as you are entering or leaving. If you see somebody suspiciously loitering around the entrance, they may be waiting for an opportunity to sneak in behind somebody.
- Make sure you stay alert when entering your apartment complex. Don’t be distracted by your cell phone, stay aware and don’t be a weak or easy target.
- Never buzz somebody you don’t know into the building for any reason. If your apartment complex has a video feed or CCTV system accessible from your suite, use it before letting anybody in.
- Don’t get on an elevator if you are suspicious of or feel uncomfortable around any of the other occupants. Wait for the next one, and if you are already on the elevator then get off. Stand near the control panel and familiarize yourself with the emergency alarm button so you can reach it quickly in an emergency.
- Report any poorly lit areas such as entranceways, hallways, stairways, etc. or any overgrown shrubs and trees around your apartment complex to the property manager.
- When entering or exiting a gated parking area (either surface or, usually, underground), make sure to wait for the gate to close behind you before proceeding to prevent unauthorized entry. Treat an apartment complex’s garage door security the same as you would the front door.
Bonus Crime Prevention Tips
- Install motion activated or light sensor activated exterior lights to illuminate dark areas around doors, windows, and parked vehicles.
- Put some indoor lights on a timer to give the appearance someone is home when you are away.
- Make sure the landscaping features of your yard don’t obstruct visibility from windows or the entranceway.
- Have all door locks rekeyed or change them altogether upon moving into a new residence. In the event of a rental or condominium, you may need permission or to give a copy of the new key to the landlord or property manager.
- Install an alarm system and security cameras. Even unmonitored systems can be an excellent deterrent.
That’s all for now. Stay safe, and have a great day folks!