Making home security upgrades doesn’t have to cost you tons of money or time, and you don’t need to be a professional to do it. In fact, it can be as simple as following our seven do-it-yourself steps.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 60.5 percent of all burglaries involve forced entry. Updating your deadbolts, hinges, locks, and windows may prevent your home from being burglarized.
These home security upgrades don’t require hours of your time, big money, or fancy tools, and implementing them can ensure your family and home stay safe and secure.
Below are seven DIY home security upgrades you can—and should—make today.
Every door that provides access to your home should have deadbolt locks. If your doors don’t, it’s time to install deadbolts. There are a few things to look for when buying deadbolts.
Make sure the screws are at least three inches long. Screws attach the lock’s strike plate to the doorjamb, and longer screws will reach into the doorframe as well. This will make the door more secure if someone tries to push through it.
Avoid double cylinder locks when possible. Such locks require a key to not only open the lock from the outside, but also from the inside. This can be a safety hazard if you need to exit your home during an emergency, as you’ll need a key.
What grade is your deadbolt? Choose one with a grade 1 rating from The American National Standards Institute. A grade 1 deadbolt has a bolt that is inserted into the doorframe at least one inch, and has been tested with 250,000 open and close cycles. A grade 1 lock can also withstand 10 blows from a hammer before giving way. Avoid buying cheap locks without ratings, as these are less likely to stand up to an entry attempt.
Have you ever stopped to look at the hinges on your doors? If any of your doors have hinges on the outside, you’ll need to remove the door and change the hinges to be inside the door. The pins in exterior hinges can be removed by an intruder, and the door then taken off the hinges.
When buying hinges, look for three important security features. Consider continuous hinges, because the hinge would have to be cut the length of the door in order to be removed—a major undertaking.
Also look for security studs, which are a feature of butt hinges. Security studs lock the two pieces of the hinge together when the door is closed. This prevents someone from removing the pin or cutting the barrel from the hinge. The door would have to be pried from the frame in order to gain access.
You’ll also want hinges with non-removable pins. This prevents a would-be burglar from popping the pins out of the hinges and removing the door.
- Keyless locks
If you don’t have keyless locks, consider installing them. The upside of a keyless lock system is you won’t have to do what many homeowners do: hide a spare key somewhere on your property that could be found by a burglar.
Keyless locks allow you to let a neighbor or cleaning person into your home, for example, by giving them a code instead of a spare key. Doing so keeps the number of house keys floating around to zero.
Install locks and sensors on your windows. When installing window locks, you can take an extra step and pour a few drops of liquid solder on the lock screw heads. This will make the screws much harder to be unscrewed by a burglar.
Window sensors can be great protection. They sound when the window is broken or forced or pried open. They are also a great option for windows at the back of the house, or ones in rooms you rarely use.
- Exterior Lighting
How the outside of your house is lit up at night can prevent break-ins. Consider all-night lighting, which you can set to come on at sunset and off at dawn. If you want a softer light, go for a moonlight effect, which will eliminate dark areas of your yard, while not being overly bright.
Motion-activated lighting turns on when movement is detected in the area of the sensor. These lights are popular in driveways, which increases safety near entrances to the home.
It’s time to take a look at your landscaping from an intruder’s eyes. Do you have hedges or shrubs that hide windows or doors? Such greenery can also hide a burglar who would have extra time under cover to work on getting into those doors and windows.
Keep your yard in tip-top shape. A neglected lawn sends the message that maybe the home is left vacant for long periods of time. A shabby yard also can lead a burglar to think your home security system is also neglected.
Read more about how burglars think so you can outsmart them.
- Security signs and stickers
If you have a security system in place at your home, don’t forget to advertise that fact. Place yard signs on your lawn. One in front of your home shows people walking or driving by that you have home security. Also place signs in side yards or backyards, as you never know how a burglar will approach your house.
Also put security stickers in windows. Attach them near the bottom of the window, where they’ll be seen.
In 2010, burglary victims lost an estimated $4.6 billion in property, according to the FBI website. Don’t wait to make sure your home is secure and your family has peace of mind. Get started on these home security upgrades today.
Article Photo By: Daniel R. Blume, July 7, 2015 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
In-Copy Photo By: Chris Hunkeler, July 7, 2015 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.