Improve safety


Check deadbolts and locks

Take a look at the deadbolts on your home’s exterior doors. If any are old or not fully functional, install new deadbolts. If you’ve just moved into your home, or you’ve lived in your house for years and given out keys you can’t account for, it’s a good idea to replace the locks on your doors. You may want to consider upgrading to electronic door locks.
When you’re checking deadbolts and locks, don’t overlook the door that leads from the garage into your home. Sheds and other outbuildings should be secured with a heavy duty padlock.

Prune any hedges

Trim the bushes around the perimeter of your house so a burglar can’t conceal himself as he breaks into your home. Then think like a burglar. Study the exterior of your home for other places a burglar might hide and ways he might break-in. Write a list of your home’s security weakness and make fixing them a priority.

Evaluate the safety of electric cords

Whether it’s a loose cord on a table lamp or a frayed extension cord, damaged electrical wires are a fire hazard. Go room by room and carefully check any electric cords and extension cords for damage and replace them as necessary. Only use electric cords that have passed the rigorous testing of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and have the UL seal. Check to be sure the extension cords you use outside are rated for outdoor use.

Make sure security signs are visible

Evaluate your home from several angles to be sure your security signs can be seen. If you need to replace signs, or want more, you can order them through your home security company. If you don’t have a monitored home security system installed in your home, you can buy fake security signs, but you should be aware of the pros and cons of fake security signs. Another option is installing a wireless DIY home security system. Some wireless systems can be installed in less than 30 minutes and require no technical skill.

Set lights on a timer

Timers are affordable, easy to install, and connecting them to lights throughout your home can fool a burglar into thinking your home is occupied when it’s not. Don’t program the timers on a predictable schedule. Instead, set the timers to turn the lights on and off periodically throughout the evening. Some home security companies offer remote access and various home automation features that allow you to turn lights on and off from your mobile device.

Create an emergency kit

A good emergency kit contains more than first aid items. It also includes things that can help your family during a natural disaster, such as non-perishable food, bottled water, personal hygiene products, blankets, and basic clothing. Make sure your kit contains these 15 essential items.

Replace batteries

The batteries in your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced at least once per year. The National Fire Protection Association also advices that smoke alarms should be replaced when they are 10-years-old. Test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, and review your home escape plan with your family.

Ensure outdoor lighting works

Test your home’s exterior motion lights and flood lights to be sure they are in working order. If you find burnt out bulbs, replace them with energy efficient 20 year LED light bulbs. Check that the lights are illuminating the dark areas of your yard as well as your home’s entry points.

Hide valuables in unexpected locations

The master bedroom is typically the first place a burglar heads after breaking into your home, and he loves it when you “hide” your jewelry, cash, and other valuables in locations like the sock drawer, nightstand or under the mattress. Get creative with where you hide your valuables. Consider investing in a secret safe or hide your valuables in plain sight by stashing them in a food container in the pantry or inside a stuffed animal.

Join Neighborhood Watch

Join your Neighborhood Watch and send a signal to criminals that your community members look out for one another. Then use the Neighborhood Watch app to keep up to date on neighborhood happenings and alert your Neighborhood Watch block captain to suspicious activity. Remember, you don’t have to wait until a crime happens to call the police. If you see something unusual, like a stranger peering into your neighbor’s garage, let law enforcement know immediately.