Protect your home and property

Home Security

 

During the period of October 2009 – September 2010 Macarthur was subject to 1792 Break and enter dwellings’, by following these simple tips you can lower your chances of becoming a statistic.

 

Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. The burglar's selection process is simple. Choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes.  Below are some simple tips and tricks to make your home less attractive to a burglar and safer for you and your family.

 

Doors and Locks

 

The first step is to harden the target or make your home more difficult to enter. Remember, the burglar will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest point of entry followed by the back door. The garage and back doors also provide the most cover. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even when parked inside your garage.

 

Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadlock

Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a deadlock mechanism

Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with screws that penetrate deep into the door frame

 

The most common way used to force entry through a door with a wooden jamb is to simply kick it open. The weakest point is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place followed by a glass panelled door. The average door strike plate is secured only by the soft-wood doorjamb moulding. These lightweight mouldings are often tacked on to the door frame and can be torn away with a firm kick. Because of this construction flaw, it makes sense to upgrade to a heavy-duty, high security strike plate. This one step alone will deter or prevent most through the door forced entries. You and your family will sleep safer in the future. We recommend you use a qualified lock smith to ensure the work is done correctly.

 

Sliding-Glass Doors

 

Sliding glass doors are secured by latches not locks. They are vulnerable to being forced open from the outside because of these inherently defective latch mechanisms. This can be easily be prevented by inserting a wooden dowel or stick into the track thus preventing or limiting movement.  There are other mechanisms available on the market, see your local locksmith for advice.

Older glass sliding doors can be lifted up and off their track and thereby defeat the latch mechanism. To prevent lifting, you need to keep the door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted. You can also install anti-lift devices such as a deadbolt that extends through both the sliding and fixed portion of the door. Place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system or a dog. Burglars dislike alarm systems and definitely big barking dogs.

 

Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding glass doors

Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted

Keep sliding door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted

Use antilift devices such as deadbolt  

Use highly visible alarm decals, beware of dog decals  

 

Windows

 

 

Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or lane, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins for obvious reasons. Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Windows have latches, not locks and therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and dead bolts through-the-frame work well for vertical sliding windows. For ventilation, block the window open no more than a few centre metres and make sure you can't reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device or reach through and unlock the window.

 

In sleeping rooms, these window blocking devices should be capable of being removed easily from the inside in the event of a fire. As a deterrent, place highly visible stickers on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system or a dog is present.

 

Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices

Block accessible windows open no more than few centimetres for ventilation

Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window and unlock it

Make sure someone cannot reach inside the window and remove the blocking device

Use anti-lift devices to prevent window from being lifted out

Use highly visible alarm stickers, beware of dog stickers  

 

Be a Good Neighbour

 

Good neighbours should look out for each other. Get to know your neighbours on each side of your home and the three directly across the street. Communicate often, and establish trust. Good neighbours will watch out for your home or apartment when you are away, if you ask them. They can report suspicious activity to the police or to you while you are away. Between them, good neighbours can see to it that normal services continue in your absence such as lawn mowing services. Good neighbours can pick up your mail, newspapers and can inspect the outside of your home periodically to see that all is well. Good neighbours will occasionally park in your driveway to give the appearance of occupancy while you are on holidays.

 

This neighbourhood watch technique sets up what is called territoriality which means that your neighbours will take ownership and responsibility for what occurs in your mini-neighbourhood. This concept works in both single family homes communities and on apartment properties. This practice helps deter burglaries and other crimes in a big way. Of course for this to work, you must reciprocate and offer the same services.

 

Get to know all your adjacent neighbours

Communicate with them and establish trust

Agree to watch out for each other's home

Do small tasks for each other to improve territoriality

While on holiday - pick up newspapers, and mail

Offer to occasionally park your car in their driveway

Return the favour and communicate often

 

Lighting

 

Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. A darken home night after night sends the message to burglars that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found in most local hardware stores. You want to use light timers near the front and back windows with the curtains closed. The pattern of lights turning on and off should simulate that someone is actually home. Timers can be used to turn on radios or televisions to further create the illusion.

 

Exterior lighting is also very important. It becomes critical if you must park in a common area parking lot or underground garage and need to walk to your front door. The purpose of good lighting is to allow you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your path. If you can see a potential threat in advance then you at least have the choice and chance to avoid it. Exterior lighting needs to bright enough for you to see 20 metres or more and it helps if you can identify colours. Good lighting is definitely a deterrent to criminals because they don't want to be seen or identified.

 

Another important area to be well lit is the perimeter of your home or apartment especially at the entryway. Exterior lighting on the front of a property should always be on a timer to establish a routine and appearance of you being home at all times. Common area lighting on apartment properties should also be on a timer or photo-cell to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. The practice of leaving the garage or veranda lights turned on all day on a family home is a dead giveaway that you are out of town. Exterior lighting at the rear of your home or apartment are usually on a switch because of the proximity to the bedrooms. You can choose to leave these lights on or off. Security lights with infra-red motion sensors are relatively inexpensive and can easily replace an exterior veranda light or side door light on family homes.

 

Use interior light timers to establish a pattern of occupancy

Exterior lighting should allow 20 metres of visibility

Use good lighting along the pathway and at your door

Use light timers or sensors to turn on/off lights automatically

Use infra-red motion sensor lights on the rear of homes

 

Alarm Systems

 

Alarm systems definitely have a place in a home security solution and are effective, if used properly. The reason why alarms systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential and fear of being caught and arrested by the police. The deterrent value comes from the alarm decals on the windows and strobe box on the eaves. Home burglars will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs and will go to another property without such a sign. Some people, with alarm systems, feel that these signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them. The risk here is that an uninformed burglar might break a window or door and grab a few quick items before the police can respond.

 

Alarm systems need to be properly installed and maintained. All systems should have an audible siren or bell to be effective in case someone does break in. If you use a monitoring company such as Davlin Security Group to monitor your alarm, make sure your response call list is up to date. Home alarms, like car alarms, are generally ignored except for a brief glance. However, if you have established and nurtured your neighbourhood watch system, you will experience a genuine concern by your neighbour.

 

Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage

Alarm systems to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained

Alarm systems need to have an audible siren or bell to be effective

Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date

Instruct your neighbour how to respond to an alarm activation

 

Home Safes

 

Since the prices of good home safes are falling, having a safe in your home is a wise investment. Home safes are designed to keep the smash and grab burglar, nosey kids, dishonest babysitter from gaining access to important documents and personal property. Home safes need to be anchored into the floor or permanent shelving. You local Lock Smith can assist or recommend safes for this effect.

 

Use the safe everyday so it becomes routine

Protect the safe code and change it occasionally

Install it away from the master bedroom or closet