Home Security Walk-through

hand locking or unlocking lock with a key

Your home might seem secure at first glance, but there are likely some security issues you’ve overlooked. With 14 years as a full-time security officer and security supervisor, I have a great deal of knowledge on not only locks and security hardware, but also security procedures. I live in a rural area, but there are burglaries. In fact, two of my neighbor’s homes were recently broken into. I am going to take you on a walk-through of my own home and the security measures that I've put in place, so that you can make your own security improvements.

The Car

Let’s start somewhere you may not have thought of — our vehicles. I have motorized garage doors, but I don't use a remote. I park the car outside and unlock the walk-in door on the side of the garage, opening the overhead door with the button mounted on the wall.

Sometimes on a hot day in the summer, you may leave the windows in your car open, with the remote on the visor or glove box and the vehicle registration with your home address on it. Many people also don’t lock the walk-in door in the back of the garage, instead depending on the locked overhead door to secure their home.

This is dangerous because thieves can take your remote and burglarize it while you are out, and you may not notice your garage-door remote is missing until you arrive home to find your important possessions stolen.

Your Keys

An electronic garage-door opener is just one type of access key. In my home, I have many keys, including keys to different cars, tractors, and doors.

The biggest mistake I see in home security is to have a key rack out in the open with hooks. Keeping your spare home and vehicle keys here is dangerous, as once an intruder gains access to your home, he could easily take your car sitting in the garage.

To fix this problem, I keep all of my keys locked in a filing cabinet, along with my family’s checkbooks and any documents with important account information on them. You can do the same.

The Doors

When doing a home security walk-through, you can’t forget to check the door locks and security hardware.

Windowless Doors

The door to my living room from the screened-in porch has no windows on it. It has two locks — one latch that opens the door, and a deadbolt lock that goes about 2 1/2 inches into the heavy wood of the doorframe. I use a knob on the inside to open the deadbolt because there are no windows, therefore preventing intruders from breaking in that way. This door can be opened from the inside only, and therefore it is one of the safest doors in my house.

Doors With Windows

The other door to the living room has glass panes in the door that could be easily broken, so I do not have a knob to open the 3-inch deadbolt. Instead, it has to be opened from the inside with a key I keep hidden nearby in the kitchen. This door also has a locking doorknob, but if an intruder breaks a window in the door, he still can't get in because of the deadbolt.

Down the hallway and past the bedrooms, there are two walk-in doors leading from the garage. Both of these doors have glass in them, so, unfortunately, they are the weakest part of my home’s security. However, this summer I will install keyed deadbolt locks in the two walk-in garage doors.

The Safest Types of Locks

The most secure, safest type of deadbolt lock goes in 2-3 inches into the doorframe. This is not the type that simply screws into the door, which could be easily forced open and should not be used.

In addition, you should consider installing a digital door lock. Not only will an intruder not be able to pick your lock, but also you don't have to worry about forgetting your keys ever again.

Seeing Who's at the Door

Many people have a chain-and-plate lock used for viewing who’s at the door when the doorknob lock and deadbolt lock are open. However, these chain locks can be easily broken off and shouldn’t be used. For better security, install a small, glass peephole.

The Windows

Our windows are the type that you must crank open, and they have secure slot locks. If your home has the type of window that you push up, put a metal or wooden bar diagonally across the top of all of your windows, making it impossible to push them up from the outside. Also, if you have a sliding glass door, secure it with a metal or wooden bar.

All of these precautions are necessary to maintain good security in the home and keep your family and possessions safe. While ensuring you have the best locks in your home is a great first step, you should also look into installing alarms, considering home-security cameras, or even getting a family dog to deter thieves.