As we become more security conscious is important to take proactive measures to protect yourself. Home inspectors often note security concerns in the homes they inspect. Following are a few recommendations from the field:
1. Exterior doors are the obvious first choice for entry into your home. Never leave doors unlocked at night or for extended periods. Homes built before the 1970’s may have hollow-core exterior doors which are inadequate at preventing forced entry. Double door assemblies often do not bolt properly at top and bottom resulting in an easy entry condition. We have seen sliding glass doors installed backwards allowing easier access and exterior doors that swing out with no security hinge. Sometimes locksets and dead-bolts do not engage fully and many homebuyers forget to have the entire house re-keyed upon taking possession. Review the security considerations related to the doors in the home.
2. Windows are the next most frequent entry point for the intruder. We often see windows that are not locked or must remain open to allow evaporative cooler air to escape. It is important to at least slow the invader down, keeping in mind that in a bedroom you need a window that is easy to escape from in the event of emergency. Make sure no tool or key is required for the secondary exit from a bedroom. Use thumb screw type locks or easily removable dowels in the track to restrict forced entry. Check the security condition of your windows today.
3. Home inspectors do not evaluate security systems that may exist at the property. It is important to have a competent expert evaluate any existing systems and provide information related to effectiveness and improvement. Some companies provide a basic system for free if you sign up for multi-year monitoring.
4. Never leave garage doors open if you are not in the garage. Beside the risk for theft, an open garage provides easy access to the property interior. Keep your exterior well lit and find out if you have a block watch program already in force.