With COVID restrictions slowly easing, and the world coming to terms with the new reality of living with the virus, people might find themselves with the opportunity to begin spending more time away from home. International adventures, cross-country road trips, and weekend getaways are going to eventually be a part of our lives again, and with that, it is important to keep in mind the risks of leaving your home unattended. Once domestic and international travel becomes comfortable again, it will be important to ensure that what you’re leaving behind (I.e., your home) is as secure as it can be so you can enjoy peace-of-mind while you’re away. Here is a list of best practices to increase the security of your home, whether you’re away for a day, a weekend, or a month.
Top tips for away-from-home security:
1. Secure your entryways and windows
Statistics indicate that more than a third of trespassers simply walk in the front door. Make sure to inspect all of your exterior doors to make sure the door frames are strong, the hinges are protected and if your door has a mail slot, that it’s impossible for someone to reach through to unlock the door.
Also, if you’re moving into a pre-owned or pre-rented house, change the door locks. There’s no telling how many copies of your old house key are floating around out there.
Here are some recommendations to help you shore up these vital entryways:
- Install a deadbolt
- Add a strike plate
- Upgrade to smart locks
- Boost security with a video doorbell
Same thing goes for your home’s windows; ensure they are secured and not easily tampered with. Adding window bars, window security film, or planting prickly bushes beneath them could be all that’s needed to dissuade a would-be entrant.
2. Lighting and Security Systems
Lighting is one of the most effective ways to deter trespassers and looky-loos around your home. Keep unwanted visitors at bay with outdoor lighting. Place lights around your front and back yards, along pathways, near the garage and any other outdoor structures. Not only will you make intruders skittish, you’ll also cut down your risk of a stumble while you approach your front steps.
Make your outdoor security lights even more effective with these tips:
- Use motion-activated lights
- Save energy with solar-powered lights
- Use a smart outlet to put outdoor lights on a timer
- Set up schedules with smart light bulbs
As for security systems, today there are plenty of home security options for every budget and every level of protection. Develop a security evaluation of your home (Commissionaires can help!) using your knowledge of local statistics and crime levels, taking into account any areas of the greatest risk. Based on this assessment, you can set up monitoring or capture devices that suit your needs.
3. Don’t forget the Garage
This tip is straightforward and self-explanatory: many people forget to secure their garage in the same manner they do their house. Lock it up.
This entry point to your home is becoming more popular with criminals. And even if they can’t gain access to your house, chances are you have valuables stored in the garage. Make it a habit to lock both the interior and exterior access points. Also, if you garage has a security code – make sure to keep it secret!
4. Safeguard your Home Networks
Moving away from the physical residence into the virtual one, unwanted trespassers can also do damage through your home networks. Your home WIFI network can provide unauthorized access to your personal and financial information. Further, if you use any kind of home automation, it can also make your house vulnerable to a break-in. If your wireless network is connected to smart home gadgets or to your security system, it could give criminals direct access to your home.
A few tips to help:
- Secure your wireless router
- Enable WPA or WPA2 encryption
- Rename and hide your home network
- Enable a firewall
- Install antivirus and anti-malware protection
- Create strong passwords and change them regularly
Home security is one of those considerations where it isn’t a big deal – until it is. The feeling of violation and unease that accompanies someone unwelcome entering your home can have lasting effects. Although most Canadians are looking forward to getting back out in the wide world post-COVID, the tips above can help mitigate the risk of leaving your home for any length of time. Plan ahead, secure your domicile, and enjoy your time away.
… And of course, Commissionaires has a flexible and effective HomeWatch program to help you ensure that any gaps in your home security can be filled by responsive and capable security experts, so you can have peace of mind while you’re away from home.
Until next time,
– Kelly B.