1st Line of Defense: The Perimeter
The perimeter of your property is the area outside your home and within your property boundaries. Adequate lighting and well-maintained landscaping are key to deterring criminal activity and maintaining home security. Good natural surveillance allows you to have maximum visibility from inside your home and out to the street.
- Trim all branches seven feet up from the base of each tree.
- All hedges should be trimmed down six inches below the base of each window.
- Install “Defensible Plants” at the base of each window, such as rose bushes, Berberis and Russian Olive.
- Keep your porch and driveway illuminated using energy-saving bulbs that produce 70-watt output and only use 13 watts of power.
- Consider installing motion sensor lighting that illuminates the sides and rear of your property.
- Park your vehicles in your garage or driveway. Remove all items of value from your vehicles and always arm your vehicle's alarm.
2nd Line of Defense: The Exterior
Reinforcement of doors, windows, and any other entry points are the key factors in protecting your residence from forced entry.
- All exterior doors should be composed of a solid wood core or heavy gauge metal.
- Avoid purchasing a door with breakable glass within forty inches of a thumb-turn deadbolt lock.
- Secure your door frame into your wall studs by installing four inch hardened steel screws every two inches inside the frame. Countersink, putty, and paint to conceal the screw holes.
- Reinforce your deadbolt locks with large brass or hardened steel catch plates. These can be found in the door handle and lock section of any hardware store.
- Storm doors provide another layer of defense and are very effective at preventing front door kicks.
- Secondary window-locking devices are inexpensive and easy to install; it also makes forced entry through a window much more time-consuming.
- Research various options for installing “Security Laminate” on your windows. This hard plastic coating makes windows extremely difficult to penetrate.
3rd Line of Defense: The Interior
The final line of defense focuses on responsible practices inside your home if a burglar does manage to gain entry.
- If you have a house alarm, an exterior siren can cause a burglar to leave due to the noise created throughout the neighborhood.
- Identify irreplaceable items of value inside your home such as family heirlooms. Consider storing those items in a safe deposit box.
- If you store valuables in a safe, keep it in a concealed area and mount it to the wall studs of your home, especially if it is small enough to lift and carry.
- Keep a detailed record of all items within your household that have serial numbers. Your renters' or homeowners' insurance will need them. Most importantly, this information can later lead to the apprehension of a suspect and the recovery of your property.
- If you own firearms, it is YOUR responsibility to keep them out of the hands of children and intruders. Invest in a proper safe to keep them secure.
More Important Tips:
- Be sure your house numbers are clearly visible from the street so that you are easily found when in need of emergency services.
- When leaving town for long periods, unplug your overhead garage door opener and manually lock it. Also, be selective about who you notify when you leave.
- Get to know your neighbors. Starting a Neighborhood Watch Group is the most effective way to look out for each other and connect with Police personnel who patrol your community.
- If you chose to install a surveillance camera system, your “Three Lines of Defense” (good lighting, landscaping and reinforced entry points) are a higher priority and more cost-effective. Surveillance cameras should be the “icing on the cake” when making such an investment.
- Since the personal information linked to your CA Drivers license is not public record, consider engraving it on non-serialized power tools and other equipment. This allows Police Officers and other law enforcement agencies to locate the owners of stolen property if it is recovered.