The following is a list of ten, common sense things anyone can do to fortify their home, apartment or business:
1. Hang a noisemaker on any exterior door
Burglars/intruders always want to go about their business unnoticed. One way to assure that they will be noticed is by hanging a bell or other device that will make a noise anytime the door moves. This not only grabs the attention of any of the occupants inside the house, it also can be a good way to scare off an intruder as they will quickly realize that they are anything but unnoticed.
2. Harden windows near doors
Many homes have windows located near exterior-facing doors and these can serve as a magnet to a would be intruder. I recommend installing window film that keeps an intruder from simply walking up and smashing the window in. With proper film applied, most windows will even withstand the force of a rock or hammer used against them.
3. Don’t tell the world what you just bought
We all love a new computer or fancy television and think nothing of dragging the empty box to the curb to be picked up during the next garbage day, but the last thing you want to do is draw attention to your purchases. I highly recommend breaking those new purchase boxes down into sizes where they can be thrown into the car or suv and taken to the nearby dump or recycling center. Never advertise to any potential thief that you have new items sitting in your place just waiting to be stolen.
4. Use timers on everything
I've said this many times before in earlier posts, but I can't stress it enough. Always use timers on your lamps and radios or televisions to give the impression that someone, or many someones if you live by yourself, is home. Set them to come on and go off at times when normal activity, such as watching television or going to bed, would occur.
5. Check with the locals about a free home inspection
Contact your local police department or sheriff's office and see if they offer free home inspections. Many do and are more than happy to come out and offer advice on how you can better secure your place. Of course, you can learn much of that by continually checking in here as well.
6. Have a neighbor rob you!
Have a neighbor or close friend, that you trust, come into your home and spend five minutes gathering everything they can find that would be worth stealing in a five minute time span. Have them place all of that loot in a pillow case as that is what a lot of burglars use when staging an actual robbery. See what all they can find to steal. This is an excellent way to learn what valuables you've left laying around and haven't realized how enticing they would be. Once you’ve identified items of value, take action to hide those items from real intruders. I recommend buying a safe that bolts to the floor or renting a safe deposit box at your nearby bank.
7. Secure air conditioning units
Many of you may not have central air conditioning and may rely on window units for cooling in the summer. If that's the case, be sure that you've installed sliding window locks and the appropriate brackets and braces to keep the unit from easily being removed. Not only will thieves steal the air conditioner, but they'll use the window as a quick entry into your residence to steal even more.
8. Do away with hiding spots
Another thing I've written in the past, but which needs to be repeated, is to eliminate all hiding spots. Make sure all of your plants that may be covering potential entryways are trimmed back or taken up and relocated. Burglars love a good bush that will cover them up as they figure out how to break into a window or door.
9. Plants can be your friends
Planting thorny bushes can be one of the best deterrents out there. Plant them wherever an intruder might try and gain entry. A few moments getting pricked and cut up by an unfriendly plant could be just enough to scare them away.
10. Install an Alarm System
An alarm activated, and I do mean activated and turned on every time you leave the premises, even for just a short trip to the store, can be one of the best burglar deterrents you can use. They make lots of noise and no intruder wants to be around as one of the bells (security term for alarm) screeches incessantly. If it's monitored, even better as an alarm that has been breached that is monitored will have the monitoring service contacting the authorities in no time. In most municipalities they take alarms seriously and usually will send an officer quickly.
About the Author: R.L. Walters is the founder of FortifyMyHouse.com and acts as its chief contributor. He has over 30 years experience in security and investigations. He's an avid biker, and also enjoys hiking and photography. Besides managing Fortify My House, Lee also consults with a variety of corporations and private individuals in the area of security and investigations.