10 Things You Must Know: Home Security System

Use these helpful tips to find out what you should and shouldn't do to keep your house safe.
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1. Update Exterior Locks

Deadbolts should be the primary lock on your exterior doors. The throw bolt (the part that enters the door frame) should extend deep into the frame. Check your window locks as well, making sure they work properly. Older windows can become misaligned, which keeps locks from setting properly.

2. Solid Doors Are Best

Solid doors are either made entirely from wood or are wood covered, enclosed in a steel shell. You'll want to make sure your door isn't weaker than the lock you place on it. Small windows near the top of the door won't diminish a solid doors strength.

3. Man's Best Friend Protects

Your furry best friend doesn't have to be huge to help protect your home. Barking can be a great deterrent to thieves who don't want to tangle with a dog defending its owner and home. If you're allergic to dogs, simple sound alarms are available that mimick a dog barking.

4. Motion Lights

Lights with motion sensors can be placed at strategic locations on the exterior of your home to light up dark areas at night. As soon as someone passes the area, the lights will shine bright, which will alert you and startle potential burglars. Solar-powered options are available if wiring for a light would be too difficult or costly. Replace old floodlights with fixtures that offer a wide light range and have dusk-til-dawn operation, so you don't have to worry about turning the lights off and on.

5. Camera Systems

Set up security cameras to record key areas around your home and to act as a deterrent. Cameras connected to your computer and wireless networks can record to your computer for view later and can be viewed live via the internet. You can also set up fake cameras for fooling criminals, but make sure you check these periodically. A fake camera that's tilted or nearly falling off its mount won't be very convincing.

6. Safe and Sound

If for nothing more than key documents (birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage licenses), a safe or fire-proof lock box is an excellent way to conceal small valuables. You can mount one in a wall, or bolt it to the floor. Also available are lock boxes that mimic household items, such as soda cans, which will allow you to hide things in plain sight.

7. Update Interior Locks

Additional locks mounted on the inside of exterior doors add another layer of security. These can be updated, heavy-duty knob locks, or surface mounted interlocking deadbolts. Adding a chain or slotted bolt fastener can also beef up your doors.

8. Alarms

While home security alarm systems are often fodder for sitcoms, they are a valuable way to provide peace of mind while you are away and in the middle of the night. The loud noise is a deterrent and a signal to your neighbors. Plus, the monitoring company is instantly alerted. Be sure to post the signs and stickers that monitoring companies provide. Some do-it-yourself kits are available now, or simply motion-sensing single alarms for doors and windows. Even fake signs and stickers, as long as they are realistic, can act as a deterrent.

9. Obstructions

Trim back any bushes, shrubs or trees near entry points including doors, windows and garages. Burglars can easily hide behind these and go undetected. They can either try to break in using these as cover, or attack you as you attempt to gain access to your home.

10. Be A Smart Home

You can integrate multiple systems in your home such as lighting, locks and overall security, all of which can be controlled remotely through you mobile device.

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