Home Security Risk Assessment ChecklistNovember 23, 2021 1:46 pm
Home security assessments are crucial to identifying vulnerabilities both in and around your home. A secure home serves to slow down determined criminals and may even deter them from ever targeting your property. However, before you can adequately prepare for an emergency, you must first evaluate the security risks that could provide an easy opportunity for crime.
This guide to home security is intended to help you identify possible vulnerabilities, so you can take the necessary precautions and improve your security system.
How Do You Conduct a Home Security Assessment?
Regular risk assessments of your home can help improve its safety, protecting you and your loved ones. Your home security inspection does not need to focus on the house alone, either. A thorough evaluation should include the home’s interior and exterior, as well as the immediate perimeter and surrounding neighborhood in which you live.
Assess your home’s security from the standpoint of a burglar as you consider questions like:
- What might attract a burglar to your home?
- Is there good visibility in and out of your property?
- How difficult is it to break the doors and windows?
- Is there a monitored security alarm system in place?
- What could make your home a risky target?
Our recommendations for your home security checklist are intended to create various security layers. The more prevention methods you utilize, the more challenging it becomes to force entry into your home. Evaluate the safety of your neighborhood and identify possible weaknesses across your property, so you can make the most valuable adaptations.
Home Security Evaluation of Your Neighborhood
Learn the everyday occurrences of your neighborhood so that you are more likely to notice changes as they occur. Particular aspects of your community might influence the level of security risks you can expect to face. Your unique security system requirements may depend on your answers to the following:
- Have there been any recent break-ins in your neighborhood? Criminals may attempt to recreate a successful break-in by targeting similar houses in the area. If a nearby house has been broken into, you could face an increased risk of burglary.
- Does your neighborhood have improved street lighting? Well-lit communities provide better visibility from dusk to dawn, increasing the potential for neighbors and police patrols to observe burglars in the act. Adequate lighting reduces the risk of break-ins.
- Is there a neighborhood watch program on your street? When neighbors are educated on how to watch for crime, the entire community benefits from increased surveillance. Actively looking out for one another can reduce the risk of burglary.
It is vital to maintain your situational awareness each time you leave your home, even in communities with a lower risk level. Unfamiliar behaviors could be an early indicator that something is amiss, so report any suspicious activities when you witness them. Most police departments have a non-emergency number for these situations, and you can keep that number on hand for quick and straightforward reporting.
Additionally, there is value in meeting your immediate neighbors. If you know what to look out for on each other’s property, you can notice anything suspicious at a neighboring house — and your neighbors can help protect you in return. Even the barest understanding of who lives at each place and the common occurrences of your street will help keep everyone informed and safer.
Enlist the help of a trusted neighbor whenever you’re out of town. They can collect any leaflets or unscheduled newspapers that get left on your property — details that would ordinarily indicate that no one’s been home to take care of those things. Remember, you can also take precautions to decrease risks before leaving. Ensure your lawn is freshly mowed to prevent abundant overgrowth, and avoid package theft by putting your mail on hold until your return.
Potential Vulnerabilities of Your Home’s Perimeter and Exterior
Here are some potential vulnerabilities of your home’s perimeter and exterior to consider as you start making your security plan.
The Street View
When walking your neighborhood, it is essential to consider the visibility both into and out of your home. What can occupants of the house see when looking outside? What can your neighbors or police patrols see when looking in? And, what might make your home an initial target for burglars?
Your house numbers should be evident to passing police and emergency responders. Numbers properly painted on curbs or freshly applied to curbside mailboxes will help emergency services locate your home.
However, you’ll want to remove any obstructions to the street view of your home that could provide coverage for burglars. This way, intruders feel seen at all times, whether by yourself, your neighbors or the authorities. If they believe there’s a higher risk of getting caught, a thief is more likely to turn their attention elsewhere.
The curb appeal of a house can significantly influence a potential burglar’s decision as well. While you want your home to appear active and well-maintained, a beautiful yard can also indicate to burglars that the home’s interior is just as desirable. Be cautious of any valuables visible to the street, as a burglar will be able to quickly notice any cash, jewelry, electronics or firearms kept within view. Using plants with spiky branches and stems as hedges can help discourage a thief from going near your windows, preventing them from getting a closer look at your belongings.
Potential Hiding Places
It is crucial to maintain the visibility of sidewalks, driveways, doors, windows and gates. Eliminate obstacles in your home’s perimeter that potential burglars can use to hide. Overgrown vegetation can provide enough coverage for burglars to break in unnoticed. These tips can help you control the growth of shrubs and trees to eliminate usual hiding places:
- Trim bushes below window sills to prevent concealment behind them.
- Prune tall shrubs away from the ground so that legs and feet would be exposed.
- Cut back tree branches and limbs to open a clear view of your property.
- Trim tree limbs so that none are closer than six feet from the ground, making the tree harder to climb.
Additionally, you want the view of any security cameras to remain unobstructed and well-lit. Keep vandal-resistant floodlights on at night to reduce shadows that can provide good concealment for thieves. Consider motion sensor alarms to activate lights at the front, rear and sides of the house, as well as any dark pathways or entrances. In addition to protecting your home’s perimeter, motion-sensor lighting can help secure garages and sheds.
Garages and Storage Sheds
Secure every all-purpose door in your garage or shed with a double cylinder security deadbolt. Alternative high-security locking mechanisms may be used, though they should be designed to hinder bolt cutters and prying. The garage door itself should have a solid core and metal casing, reinforced strike plates, deadbolt locks and guard plates.
Overhead-rolling doors, which use an electric opener, should also include a secondary locking system. Avoid leaving your garage door remote inside cars parked outside the home, too. If a thief notices the device left inside your vehicle, there will be a higher risk of them breaking into your car to burglarize your home.
Keeping windows illuminated at night and installing secondary locks will make break-in attempts more challenging for burglars. Use frosted security window films to conceal the contents of your garage and prevent thieves from “window shopping” on your property. For this same reason, it is vital to keep your garage door closed when not in use. Lock up any expensive items, whether they’re housed in your garage or kept outside, to make theft less accessible.
Barrier Security Risks for Your Home’s Exterior
Depending on your needs, you may require a custom security system with various security solutions for your home’s exterior and interior. A security specialist like Lexington Alarm can help you design and install a video surveillance system with overlapping coverage and remote monitoring. This way, if a thief locates and disables one camera, they can still be recorded from an overlapping angle to aid police identification. You can also view live footage of your home with total connect video even when you’re away.
Motion sensor alarms can trigger different protection strategies depending on your unique configuration. The motion sensor may activate security cameras to record an intruder’s movements and send notifications to you whenever this occurs. An HD doorbell camera adds extra security and convenience. Not only does it provide instant alerts via smartphone whenever someone rings the doorbell, but it allows you to view what’s going on outside in real-time.
To deter potential burglars, it is not only essential to install a custom security system. The intruder must be aware that your house is protected. Place alarm company signs and window decals around your home’s exterior, including the rear and sides. You may miss opportunities to prevent crime when decals are limited to just the front of your house.
Hollow doors can be forced open much quicker than those with a solid core. Replace your old exterior doors with solid wood, fiberglass or metal-cased alternatives. To prevent the removal of hinge pins as a means of gaining entry, ensure these new doors have inward-facing hinges upon installation.
Choose deadbolt locks and consider installing them higher or lower than standard to help reduce leverage. Sliding glass doors may instead require a secondary pin-style lock to improve security. If you cannot see outside closed doors via a peephole or window, wide-angle peepholes offer a significant field of view that you can add to any exterior door. You may even consider using one for your garage-to-home door because it’s vital to know who’s on the other side before admitting entry.
Windows are another potential access point you must secure. Even second-story windows should always be closed and locked when their use is not necessary. If a window must be opened, a secondary lock or barrier can keep unlocked windows from rising past a certain height. Alarm screens serve to alert a central monitoring system to any break-in attempts made on the screen portion of a window. These enhancements complement the existing latch system, improving window security and convenience.
Any glass elements included in your home’s exterior should be double-paned and laminated. When double-paned windows are protected with glass security laminates, you significantly prolong the time it takes a burglar to gain access. Add security film to glass doors, basement windows and glass inserts near entry doors to further reduce the risk of shattering. If a criminal is determined to force entry, glass break sensors can be positioned to set off the alarm system when vibrations are detected.
Home Security Inspection of Your Home’s Interior
A monitored security alarm system will add a crucial layer of security to any home. While burglar alarm systems cannot prevent burglaries, a system comprising glass break sensors, interior motion detectors and contacts on all exterior doors will provide immediate notification of a break-in so that you can respond quickly. The audible siren alarm can make intruders feel hurried and may even encourage them to flee before any theft occurs.
Integrate other security solutions such as video surveillance, fire detectors and smart home automation into your custom security system for more extensive coverage.
Protecting Personal Property
Store sensitive documents and personal information in a fire-proof safe. Select a security safe if the intended purpose is to protect valuables instead. Each safe will have specific UL ratings and capabilities that can guide your decision. Your safe should be bolted down and may be disguised in a false enclosure for added security.
When disposing of personal or financial information, it is essential to shred these documents before throwing them in the trash. Finer shreds are more challenging to reassemble and will reduce the risk of stolen identity. Rather than throwing out all of your shredded documents at once, consider gradually mixing shreds into your trash for added protection.
Record serial numbers of any expensive belongings, especially electronics and firearms. Flat screens, desktops, laptops, speakers and mobile devices should all have identifying numbers that can aid law enforcement in the recovery of stolen items. Remember to include the contents of your garage or storage shed in your documentation, too. Lawn equipment, power tools and bicycles can be just as valuable to burglars.
Photograph all valuables, especially items without serial numbers like collectibles or jewelry. A digital walk-through of your home can help capture any valuables left out of other inventory methods. Update this video periodically and store it with the rest of your information off-site in the cloud. You want to have access, even if all your electronic devices are stolen.
What’s Included in a Professional Security Assessment?
Your home security evaluation covers various security solutions, including both physical devices and situational strategies for making a home more secure. A professional home security assessment will help you design an effective security system with the best products for your unique needs.
Your home security system checklist may include various products and services such as:
- Burglar alarms and motion sensors.
- Video surveillance and security cameras.
- Fire and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Environmental detection system.
- Remote alarm management technology.
In addition to designing and installing your new system, home security providers can offer 24/7 monitoring of your residence. Whether you’re at home or away, you’ll be contacted by a trained specialist who can help you notify the proper authorities. Their rapid response allows you and your loved ones to reach safety while emergency services react promptly to your call.
Contact Lexington Alarm for Custom Security Solutions Today
Lexington Alarm will perform a home security assessment and create custom security solutions to protect your home. Our trained security specialists will visit your home and walk with you throughout the entire property, from your home’s perimeter to the exterior to the interior. We will assess any vulnerabilities and work with you to develop a security system that addresses your needs.
Our security system designs include high-quality installation and 24/7 monitoring services, so you remain covered long after the initial security risk assessment. Contact us online and request a quote for residential security solutions today.
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This post was written by nathan Raustad