Home Security Essentials
Guest post by: Monica Benoit
Did you know that winter weather can increase the risk of a burglary in your home? In fact, studies have found that the number of break-ins increases by 35% during the winter, as the darker and longer nights make it easier for criminals to hide.
The best way to help protect your loved ones and your most valued assets is to install a smart home alarm system. Below, we will discuss some of the smart home security essentials that you can use to make the winter more secure.
Most Favored Season for Burglars
Many burglars will take advantage of the winter season to try and break into homes in the area. There are many reasons for this. First, the longer and darker nights that come with winter will make it easier for thieves to find areas to hide.
Second, many people will travel during the holidays, which leaves many homes especially vulnerable during the winter. Some people will also leave for greener pastures during the winter.
Known as snowbirds, some may come back to their homes during the spring, only to discover that their homes have been ransacked by burglars. In fact, burglaries increase by 50% during the week of Christmas and triple during New Year’s.
Improving the Security of Your Home’s External Areas
Secure Your Outbuildings
First, let us focus on securing your outbuilding. To do so, you will need to purchase the most durable and reliable locks, windows, and bolts on the market in order to protect your outbuilding. Your most valuable equipment should also be stored in the most secure place on your property, even if it may not be the most convenient spot, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
Your outdoor lighting setup should be optimized so that it makes it impossible for would-be burglars to hide around your outbuilding. Any garbage cans, recycling bins, shrubs, trees, or foliage that can serve as hiding spots for criminals should be trimmed, cut down, and/or moved.
Understanding Different Types of Security Cameras
You will also need to understand the differences between the various types of security cameras that are sold today. For instance, there are indoor cameras that offer full 360-degree coverage, meaning a single camera can surveil an entire area without issue. Outdoor cameras are similar, albeit they tend to be more weather-resistant and durable.
They also tend to have the ability to capture wider external views than their indoor counterparts and are better equipped to deal with fluctuating outdoor lighting conditions.
As for motion detector cameras, they consist of a camera and motion detector combo, and will only start recording and transmitting footage when the camera actually detects activity.
Adjustable cameras include actuators that are motor-driven, so they can be programmed to capture a much wider field of view when compared to cameras that are fixed, and they can do so automatically for added convenience.
There are even wireless cameras available for people with wireless systems, or for areas that need cameras but lack a spot for hardwiring. There are also cameras with a security system that includes advanced recording features and more flexible viewing. For example, you can use a wide splitter in order to check on multiple feeds at once or switch between feeds remotely if needed.
Benefits of Outdoor Security Cameras
Outdoor security cameras can deter prospective criminals from breaking into your home by their very presence. You will also be alerted immediately when someone is near your home via phone, so if someone enters your home you will be notified immediately so that you can call the authorities.
Live view technology will also allow you to keep an eye on your patio or backyard, so you can make dinner while checking in on your loved ones whenever you want.
Most burglars will also try and break-in through the front door, so having an outdoor security system to scan the entire front of your home will allow you to check who is at your door. Finally, if applicable, you will be able to monitor your pool as well as your vehicle 24/7.
Protecting Your Valuables
In order to protect your valuables, you should keep doors and windows closed at all times. The passwords on your garage doors as well as any electronic locks should also be modified periodically, and the glass door locks for your sliding or patio doors should also be upgraded as soon as possible.
Deadbolt locks are also recommended, and you may be able to deter burglars from breaking-in by having motion sensor lights installed. Finally, you should never hide any keys outside, and you should avoid announcing any trips via social media.
Window and Doors
PVC windows are recommended, particularly those that are ISO certified. Window locks or stops should also be installed, as they will make it impossible for the windows to be opened by more than a few inches.
Or, if you want to keep your windows closed permanently then you can make a hole through the frame that the window sits in as well as the frame itself. Then, add either a screw or a nail to keep the window locked for good.
As for doors, you should ideally install deadbolts that have a strike plate that is reinforced, as well as a 1-inch throw for added protection. When affixing your strike plate, make sure that your mounting screw is at least 3 inches in length so that the plate will be fastened to your wall stud as well as the doorjamb.
Most homeowners who take out insurance policies will obtain coverage for burglaries, break and enters, and theft for peace of mind. However, the limits and actual coverage amounts will differ depending on your provider and the policy in place, so please have a candid discussion with your prospective provider if you have any doubts or concerns.
For instance, some home insurance policies will not cover damages or losses that result from a car being stolen, and most policies tend to have very strict limits in terms of reimbursement when cash is stolen from a home.
Monica Benoit is a blogger in Toronto. She is currently working as a community manager for Protection Plus. She has graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.