PROTECTING your home against break-ins may be easier than you fear. Here are a few hints that can help:
• Install lighting: Motion-sensing lights can be a great way to increase security without having to leave your outside lights on all night. Use them in any shadowy area where an intruder may linger.
• Maintain your landscaping: Don’t let overgrown shrubs give a criminal a place to hide. Keep trees and shrubs near the house neatly trimmed and be on the lookout for footprints near windows or trampled planting beds.
• Keep valuables out of sight: Put away electronics or other valuables whenever practical. Consider mounting large items such as TVs or artwork where there is no direct sightline to a window or keep drapes or blinds drawn.
• Your house never goes on vacation: A vacation can make your home an easy target. Never post on social media sites that you are going away. To deter trouble, invest in some inexpensive timers, which can be set up with staggered timing on multiple lamps and in multiple rooms to mimic a realistic lighting pattern. Visit the post office or fill out a form online to have your mail held while you’re away. Talk to your neighbors to let them know you’ll be gone, and if your trip overlaps with trash day, ask if they can move your bins out for pickup and take them in afterward.
• Upgrade door locks: Add dead bolts to any doors that don’t have them, including the garage and shed. Dead bolts are significantly harder to force open than the more common spring bolts found in many doorknobs.
• Fortify windows: Glass windows are one of the most vulnerable areas of any home and intruders often target windows if doors are locked and secured. Whenever you’re away or asleep, close them and install locks on any windows that don’t have them. You can also get security window film. One manufacturer, 3M, offers security films designed to hold broken glass together. The films prevent shattered glass from flying into the house, reducing potential injury. Tests have shown that windows protected with security window film can deter intruders for as long as two minutes-giving police additional response time. Security window films also reject up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays, reducing the effects of fading on your furnishings, and block IR rays, keeping heat out of your house.
For more information on security window film, visit www.3m.com/windowfilmsecurity. North American Precis Syndicate