As someone who has spent a lifetime thinking about, working in, and assessing security, whenever I come across some unique ideas revolving around residential security I like to share them with my readers. The following are eight steps you can easily take to "beef" up your security:
1. Lighting. The lighting inside and outside of your house can be an effective deterrent to vandals and burglars, while also serving as an identifying feature for emergency responders such as firemen and emts. Home security systems available on the market today can be tied to your lighting system and programmed to flash when pre-identified sensors are breached. The lighting in your home can be an effective deterrent to vandalism and burglary, and serve as a beacon for emergency responders. When the lights are tied to a home security system they can be programmed to flash pre-identified lights whenever a motion sensor, for instance, has been breached. They can also be programmed to light a pathway to an exit route whenever a smoke alarm is triggered, and to turn on immediately when motion is detected in the back yard or other covered area. Lighting tied in with an alarm system can also be programmed to turn on and off and predetermined times to give the appearance that someone is home.
2. Motorized awnings. Believe it or not, motorized awnings and window treatments can also be part of your security system. They can be programmed to lower or retract through the use of keypads or remote smartphone apps. I've also seen where they have been programmed to react whenever a motion sensor detects movement in a pre-determined area. Very cool stuff!
3. Intercoms. Although thought to be somewhat old-fashioned, intercoms can be an effective deterrent and should be part of any residential or business security system. The simple fact of knowing who is on the other side of a door, knocking, can give one peace of mind and will let you know what your options are should there be a potential intruder on the other side. Many intercom systems/doorbells, such as Ring, come with built-in cameras that can even be accessed on your smartphone from thousands of miles away allowing you to communicate with someone at the door and pretend like you're at home when you're not.
4. Surveillance cameras. Surveillance cameras are not just for business/commercial use and should be one of the "extras" you consider adding to any security system you purchase. They can easily be configured to send snapshots of live video to your smartphone or interior television whenever one of the sensors you have in place, such as covering a long driveway, is tripped.
5. High fidelity audio system. I know, I know. You purchased those mind blowing speakers, receiver, amp and all of the other components you and I know you bought, to play music all over the house. But how about this idea? Use that same audio equipment as part of your security system. Believe it or not, you can program the system to broadcast a pre-recorded message such as "The police have been called" or "I've got a gun and am waiting for you to enter my house", whenever someone has entered your property uninvited. This company here does a nice job of helping you envision the audio/security system.
6. Heating and cooling system. An area that's not often thought of whenever home security is being considered is the heating and cooling system. These systems can be programmed to shut off should a smoke alarm go off either while your home or away. More along the lines of personal safety, this will prevent the spread of smoke throughout your home/business should a fire be in progress.
7. Video. A whole home systems integrator can design a security system that will transmit video from surveillance cameras strategically located around the home to any or all of your televisions in the home. The output from the surveillance camera can be displayed in a PiP (Picture-in-Picture) format or can be used to fill the entire screen of the television you're viewing. The remote provided with these systems can also be used to zoom, pan, or tilt the camera for a different viewpoint.
8. Door Hardening. Burglars generally enter through front or rear doors if possible. A simple "hardening" of these entryways, through the use of longer screws used to fasten the strike plates and hinge plates, is a simple and inexpensive way to accomplish this. Armor Concepts also manufacturers a variety of door hardening systems that can easily be installed. Stay tuned for a review of a couple of their systems in the next week or so.
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.