Many people think that they know all the basic methods of home security – deadbolts on doors, lights on timers, have a friend pick up mail and newspapers while the house is unoccupied. While these are most definitely some of the most rational ways of maintaining a home’s security, there are many other common sense approaches that are often unrecognized or simply not done.

For example, many homeowners do not make a point of keeping all doors and windows free of screening materials such as shrubs or trees. While a lovely forsythia bush provides beautiful color every spring, and a measure of privacy throughout the year, it can also be used by a burglar tinkering with a window or door lock. They can keep themselves from being seen by neighbors or people passing by on the street, and gain access to home from a safe and screened location. In fact, convicted burglars and thieves often state that they look for homes with such plantings when they scout a neighborhood for potential targets.

This also comes into play where enclosed doorways and entrances are concerned. Many homes have a back door or screened porch that can easily conceal a lock-picking burglar. It is critical that such areas are difficult to enter without a proper key. For example, many back doorways rely on a storm door instead of a steel door with a deadbolt. A thief just opens the storm door; enters the concealment of the enclosed porch, and takes his or her time breaking into the home.

Another “basic” that some homeowners don’t realize is that a window on a second floor is just as vulnerable as a first floor window. Thousands of homes are burglarized each year by clever and daring burglars and thieves who climb trees and even use a homeowner’s own ladder to enter an unlocked or open second story window.

This is one of the main reasons that home security experts encourage people to have adequate locks on sheds, garages and storage areas, and to never leave ladders outside where they can easily be used by criminals.

One of the most basic methods of home security is the installation of an electronic home security system. The many flexible features of a system can be used to insure a home against crime. In fact most criminals convicted of home burglary state that they avoided homes that indicated an active security system was installed. This is done by window stickers or lawn signs, and protected the home from the efforts of most would-be burglars.

Today’s systems can be very simple, with sensors on doors and windows that trigger a loud alarm at the home and alert the security monitoring system to send the police. They can also be extremely complex with numerous levels of sensors, some able to detect smoke and fire, or differentiate between a child or pet and a large adult intruder. Some have video systems integrated into them that allow for constant monitoring and that capture images whenever a security issue occurs. Most are quickly and easily installed, with models and systems available for almost any household budget.

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Many people think that they know all the basic methods of home security - deadbolts on doors, lights on timers, have a friend pick up mail and newspapers while the house is unoccupied. While these are most definitely some of the most rational ways of maintaining a home's security,...