With break-ins on the rise, security is becoming a major concern even for small town home owners.
There are an overwhelming number of options for security system installations available. A security system may deter some burglaries but not all. If you are considering installing a security system you can start by checking with your local cable/phone provider. Eastlink, Wightman, and Mornington all provide security options that can be bundled with services that you may already be using. Larger companies such as Bell and Rogers also offer security options. There are numerous DIY options available at Costco, Home Depot and Amazon. You can also check with your local locksmith such as Brandt Security in Listowel and Randy’s Lock-Safe and Alarm Inc. in Hanover.
If you don’t have a security system there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
To a criminal, there are certain indications that a home is vacant or a better target for a break and enter.
Here are twenty one tips taken directly from the Home Security Audit Guide:
- When you move to a new home, you should change or re-key the locks immediately.
- Always keep your front door locked.
- Keep screen doors locked whenever your main door is open.
- Never ignore a knock on the door.
- Garage doors leading directly into the home should be kept locked at all times, even when you are in the house or backyard.
- Chain locks are NOT recommended as security for doors. Instead, invest in a peephole which allows you to look out but does not allow the person to see inside.
- Limit the size of accessible window openings. If they are being used for ventilation at night – install a securable, window stop.
- Lock ladders to the house, fence or inside a shed or garage. Unlocked ladders can be used to gain entrance through a second story window.
- Be sure second story windows are closed and locked when you are not at home. Patio furniture has been used as a stepladder to gain access to upper levels of the home.
- Trim hedges below the window level to eliminate hiding spots for criminals.
- Make sure that outside lights are in good working order.
- Engrave an identifying mark on your property. This makes it easier for police to identify and harder for criminals to sell. Check with your local police force about Operation Identification.
- Keep objects with sentimental value in a place no one would suspect when not in use.
- Take inventory of your property. Use photos or videos and/or DVDs.
- Lock your vehicles at all times, even when in the garage, so access cannot be gained by intruders. Secure bicycles by obtaining the serial numbers and or identifiers then registering your bicycle with your local police service.
- Keep your vehicle keys out of sight and in a location where no one would look for them.
- When new items like TVs, stereos or computer equipment are purchased, be sure to fold the cardboard box inside out before placing in the recycling. This means your new purchases won’t be advertised to anyone on the street.
- Don’t allow strangers into your home.
- Know your neighbours.
- Make sure that your home always looks lived in (e.g., newspapers/flyers picked up, grass cut, snow shovelled etc).
- When leaving a message on your phone or answering machine, do not indicate that you are not home.
For myself, I take great comfort in having a dog with a big bark who is quick to alert us when strangers approach our home!