After front doors, first floor windows are the most popular entry point for burglars. Unfortunately, they are also much harder to secure because glass can always be broken for quick, easy access. But don't worry; an extensive, expensive security system isn't your only option. There are several solutions specifically for windows that can give you peace of mind about your home's safety.
1. Window Shades or Drapes
This is a perfect example of a simple fix for a big problem. Burglars are often just looking for an easy score, so most break-ins usually occur on weekdays, during work hours when the home is ordinarily unoccupied. They will look for cars in the driveway or garage and peek in a window just to be sure the place is empty. However, if your windows are covered, a potential invader can't gauge what they're dealing with, and not knowing if a strong opponent or a big guard awaits them on the other side isn't something many are willing to risk.
2. Safety/Privacy Film
The popularity of windows as a burglary entry point comes from how easy they are to break. For this reason, making the glass harder to break is an effective deterrent. Tempered glass and polycarbonate replacements will do the trick, but safety film can accomplish the same goal with a much cheaper price tag. Rolls come in a variety of sizes and quantities and can start as low as $20 to $25. There is also no problem with visibility if you choose a clear variety and no problem retrofitting this film on your windows if you're not looking to replace your existing ones. While this solution won't make your windows shatterproof, the inconvenience it causes an invader can be enough to send them packing.
3. Small-paned Windows
If you are in the market to replace your windows, consider designs that boast small panes between dividers, as opposed to one full-sized pane, to improve home security. This glass isn't harder to break, but without smashing out the dividers as well, a burglar cannot get through. You can also pair these windows with the privacy film for better protection.
4. Window Sensors
Contact sensors are a perfect way to monitor if your windows, or doors, are opened while you're not home. They operate by issuing a warning to your smartphone that the sensor has been tripped, so you can notify the authorities promptly. These are also small and inconspicuous so a potential invader shouldn't be able to get rid of it before the sensor does its job; not to mention, they are easy to install and will warn you in the event of a low battery so your security never lapses. Best of all? They're affordable for the concerned homeowner with a small budget.
5. New Window Locks
You may think that the older type of locks on your windows are effective, but often this is not the case. These clasp locks can be opened easily with a butter knife or spatula inserted within a seam around the frame. Update your window locks from your choice of several options on the market. For example, keyed locks for windows are sometimes used. However, these have one drawback in that, in case of fire, they are hard to open if your key is lost in a panic. There are also battery operated alarm locks to consider for personalized, convenient security. All are relatively easy to install, and some even allow you to leave the window locked in a partially opened position, if you want to leave some of them open when you leave to save on energy bills.
6. Outdoor Lighting
A well-lit exterior goes a long way to deterring home robbery at night. Criminals are, again, looking for a quick, easy job and certainly don't want to risk you or your neighbors seeing them and calling the police. Keep the area around first floor windows lit with motion-sensor lights or other outdoor fixtures. You can even control your outdoor lights remotely while on vacation with the use of switches and lights that connect to your smartphone.
A home without a security system is three times more likely to get robbed than one with. However, window decals and yard signs aren't all a burglar will look for when choosing a target, so setting up both indoor and outdoor cameras, directed at your windows, will go a long way to making thieves wary of your home. There are varieties which include motion-detection technology, infrared filters, night vision, mobile monitoring from your smartphone, and Wi-Fi capability that will connect several cameras, both indoor and outdoor, to a central hub. While these do run more expensive, the ease of monitoring your home, even when you're away, can be well worth it especially in a higher risk area.
Break-ins happen more often than anyone would like to admit, one every 15 seconds in the US on average. Deadbolts and metal doors can stop a robbery before it starts, but many homeowners do not realize that securing their doors alone isn't enough. Add security precautions to your windows as well and stop worrying about becoming another home invasion statistic.