No one is perfect, and when it comes to home security, all of us tend to make mistakes that may seem small but can result in significant breaches to our homes.
Unfortunately, these lapses in judgement often go undetected until they are either exploited by the criminal element or pointed out in an article on your favourite prepping website.
These are nine home security mistakes you might be making right now.
Not Locking the Screen Door
It can be tough to beat the summer heat, leading many people to leave their main entry doors open to let the cool breeze flow through the screen door.
This leaves only a thin layer of mesh between them and the outside world.
Most screen doors do come with a locking mechanism, but if yours does not, it is important to install locks and to use them.
While the doors themselves are usually flimsy and defeated fairly easily with some brute force, locking them is the difference between a criminal slipping in silently and one that has to make a lot of noise ripping the thin door from its hinges.
It can be a pain in the neck to lock and unlock the door every time you need to go outside, but the simple act of securing a screen door slows down any would-be home invaders, which allows you to mount a suitable defence.
Leaving Ladders Outside
Storing ladders outside gives criminals free and easy access to every second-story window in your home.
All ladders should be secured inside the confines of your house or garage as not to have them used against you.
If you must store ladders outside, use a bike lock to prevent extension ladders from being extended.
These locks can be defeated, but usually, the process is very loud and will undoubtedly wake you or someone in your household.
Related: This Common Household Item Is One Of The Most Useful Survival Assets
In my youth, I would often climb through my second-story bedroom window in the early morning hours via an unsecured ladder in those instances where I did not have my house keys with me.
Leaving Second Story Windows Unlocked
Even if you secure all your ladders, there is still the possibility of someone accessing your second-story windows through other means or by simply ‘borrowing’ a neighbour’s ladder.
The best way to combat this threat is to secure all your second-story windows.
Either lock them closed or install a locking mechanism that will only allow the window to be opened an inch or two.
In the past, I’ve used a short length of wooden dowel to prevent the window from being fully opened. By keeping these windows closed or only open an inch, you remove a visual temptation for criminals looking for a quick and easy score.
Posting Your Absence to Social Media
There is no reason anyone should post any information about their whereabouts or that they are away from home on vacation. All this does is announce to thieves that your home is ready to be ransacked. If you want to post holiday photos, do so when you get home, not while you are away.
Also, be aware of what you are posting from the inside of your home as well.
Never post pictures that have desirable items that thieves may want to steal in them; always audit your social media posts before publishing.
Opening the Front Door to Strangers
I do not often answer my door to strangers, but when I do, there always a locked storm door between the person outside and me.
The reason I do this is to prevent the probability of someone rushing through my front door and conducting a home invasion.
I also have a camera linked to my smartphone that watches the front step. This allows be to have real-time video of my front porch and two-way voice communication through the camera.
Regardless of your front door situation, always have a barrier between you and anyone who comes knocking.
Related: How To Deal With Neighbors And Friends That Come Begging For Food At Your Door In A Crisis
Leaving Garage Door Opener in Vehicle Outside
There are times that we leave our vehicles outside of our garages, but at the same time, we leave the garage door openers inside of the car.
If anyone were to break into your vehicle, they would then have access to this opener and, in turn, access to your home.
Likewise, never leave a garage door opener out in plain sight in your parked vehicle.
Many vehicles have garage door openers integrated into the rear-view mirror.
If you regularly park outside, do not program this feature because if you accidentally leave your car unlocked, it is one of the first things a thief may try.
Leaving Exterior Light Bulbs Burned Out
Exterior lighting is critical to your home’s security, and when a light bulb burns out, you must replace it immediately.
Often these lights are a bit of a pain to disassemble far enough to replace the bulbs, which is why it is tempting to put that job off for another day.
Exterior lighting is critical to removing the cover of darkness from a criminal’s toolkit. Every light that is left burned out increases the veil of darkness that can be exploited.
Training Your Dog to Not Bark
It is annoying when your dog barks like a madman every time someone knocks on the front door or walks down the sidewalk.
Many people train their dogs to not bark but doing so actually puts their homes at increased risk.
Criminals like to choose soft targets to hit, and if they hear barking every time they approach a given house, they are more likely to avoid it in favour of homes without canine guards.
While I have an 80-pound Labrador who likes to bark up a storm with an intimating woof, the small ‘yappy’ dogs are often as effective a deterrent as the larger breeds.
Leaving a Spare Key Outside Your Home
The chances are that what you think is a good hiding spot for your spare key is obvious to those who make a living burglarizing homes.
Instead, install a deadbolt that operates through a keypad. This allows you easy keyless entry into your home.
Most of these keypad deadbolts also can program temporary passcodes that you can give to contractors or other people who may legitimately need access to your home.
These temporary passcodes can also be revoked very easily.
We all fall victim to complacency in home security, but these small mistakes, such as I have outlined here, can result in the dreadful feeling of having your home violated.
All it takes is a little bit of vigilance to keep your home secure and the thieves moving along to easier targets.
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I bet I could point out 9 prepping mistakes the author is making right now.
Not Making Mistakes: Your comment sounds very much like an
Illini Warrior statement.
The last time I tried walking on water, I sank rather quickly. I, for myself, claim no infallibility. Do I have gaps in the preps? Does the sun rise in the east? I wish that I had the money, the time and the physical stamina to do everything that is on my to-do list. As my grandmother used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If turnips were watches, I would have one by my side”
Obviously, in her day watches were considerably more expensive than turnips whereas now, it is a toss up which are more expensive.
I think I am probably correct in saying that most of the followers on this list are in the same boat as I. Not enough money, time nor stamina to do all that we think we should be doing. I am happy for you NMM that you have the money, time and stamina so that you are perfectly prepared for whatever disaster might befall the human race on the Third Rock From The Sun.
Along that line of thinking, last week there was a giant explosion of the side of the sun turned away from Earth. It was so enormous that despite being turned away from Earth effects of the explosion still impacted earth. I don’t know what the rotational periodicity of the sun is off the top of my head, but we were extremely lucky that the explosion did not occur while that side of the sun was facing Earth. We would all be crispy critters now if it had been. Hopefully, by the time the sun gets that spot around facing Earth, it will have calmed down. You do have a couple of sheep in your backyard so that your wife can spin the wool into yarn and then turn it into lindsey-woolsey cloth for garments don’t you? You do know how to tan the sheepskin so that you have leather for belts, vests, perhaps winter coats, don’t you? You do know how to preserve the mutton so that you have protein through the winter, don’t you? Nothing warms the cockles of one’s heart on a cold winter night like a hearty stew from the old ram that finally dropped dead of old age. Umm boy! Please pass the possum and crow fricassee.
Common mistake these days is expecting your neighbors to make a difference in your security – neighborhoods used to be just that >> families that looked after each other and had that very same commonality that brought people together …
You got that right lllini Warrior! Here in the big city you would have to know how yell “HELP” in at least 26 different languages to get any kind of response. Then again, no one responds to car alarms anymore and most just stand around and take pictures to post online for likes or sell for top dollar! Cops show up after the fact these days too! Their hands are tied by leftist politicians that make it difficult for them to make a difference today.
CC: I have heard that it is more effective to yell “Fire” than it is to yell “Help.” Can’t vouch for the accuracy of that urban legend. I haven’s seen any sociology studies that proved or disproved the legend. Maybe a combination of the two, “Help, Fire!” would be the magic combo.
Our neighbors will kill for each other
If you have a wireless alarm system, never, NEVER, place a sign or sticker advertising the brand you have. Example adt system , vivanet etc.
They have to register the operating channels with the FCC, which anyone can access. Once someone knows the channel, all they need is a HAM radio to disable the system and access your home. This is the same for automatic garage door openers.
No electric, no wireless for this City Chick! I stick to the hard core stuff! Better be safe then sorry!
Detailed and helpful. Thank you.
Any security device that requires electricity can also be a weakness. (i.e. a keypad-dead bolt or doorbell camera) Back in 1988 a co-worker had to rush home because of a power failure in a Seattle residential area. His front door was unlocked in spite of using the keypad system. Batteries die over time, so that is not a complete solution.
And in an end of the world situation when electricity is ancient history how will those electronic devices work? That’s why I won’t buy a gun safe that doesn’t have a mechanical way to open it. If the only way you can open your gun safe is with an electronic keypad, you can kiss your guns goodby in an EMP. Or perhaps even a substantial lightening strike.
I ‘am Lucky My Dogs Never Run Down ( Ha Ha )
A popular item in crime prone neighborhoods in SoCal is the security screen door. It is a heavy duty screen door with decorative trim which consists of heavy steel bars. It also usually sports a cylinder lock set into the metal frame that the security screen door is attached to. It is more secure than your standard tract home wooden or composite door. The beauty of a security screen door is that it allows air into your house while at the same time providing more security than either a regular screen door or standard home outer door.
If burglaries and home invasions are frequent in your locale, look into a security screen door. They are not that expensive compared to doing the same for your regular door.
Those security scr÷may door are really sturdy.
There are nice gun safes with dial locks.
And install a Multi Lock on that new screen door! It can’t be bumped!
A house shield from the EMP SHIELD Co. should ( I repeat should) keep a key pad safe operational. The house shields wire into your panel and unless you are very knowledgeable and handy it’s best to call an electrician.
It’s a simple matter to replace standard screen doors with security screen doors. Much more secure and you can leave your door open to catch that breeze!
Here in the big city, that’s not the case. It’s not just the quality of the door. It’s how it’s installed. Security screen doors are welded into the frame of the house with long rods that extend 3-4 feet and then it’s cemented over. The closed door itself overlaps the frame to prevent anyone from trying to pry the area open around the lock. Then there’s the lock itself. A Multi Lock is the only security door lock that can not be bumped! Additionally, it is wise to not have outside outlets where anyone could plug in heavy duty electric tools to try to do the job while appearing to be an ordinary Workman!
Anyone know of groups/organizations that physically meet to discuss topics like these, in New Hampshire.
Your local PD might have a security awareness seminar, or would know where you could find one.
One thing that a lot of people overlook is making sure the bulkhead door to your cellar is in good repair, sturdy and locked securely. Even a padlock and hasp don’t deter a really motivated thief from using bolt cutters to remove the lock and come in to steal the copper piping from your water heater or any other items that strike their fancy.
Make sure your cellar access door upstairs is also securely locked, maybe with a deadbolt, so they can’t access your first floor and the rest of the house.
When we moved into our neighborhood back in ’76, we were the only people there who locked any of our doors or windows. We came from a city with a high (for then) crime rate.
Only thing cops do is harassment and shoot you
the Bilco Company makes a great all metal bulkhead door – bought one years ago for my cellar access after building a few less satisfactory DIY doors …
was surprised at the lack of security measures that came with the unit and no additional add-ons available to bolster the break-in resistance ….
Guilty of some things, ouch.
In 1936, a family of 3 was murdered in Hazleton, PA. the hit was done because the murderer could access the open bathroom window (it was in June) using the house owner’s ladder, which had been hung from the outer wall of the garage. He climbed up, removed the window screen, and entered. Ice Pick Charlie, the papers called him.
But, I remember as a kid screen doors (wood frame, copper mesh) that held a very mild jolt of electric to chase away bugs, and people from leaning on the screen. They had insulated wire to hold the screen in place. Sorry, but I cannot recall what else, but do know it worked. A brother a few years older liked to poke holes in the screens with a pocket knife. He yelled and then Dad saw the knife and smacked him hard. the old lady came out scowling at Dad, but saw what he had done and grabbed a hairbrush. Dad made him stay and work to pay for a new screen. That probably hurt worse than the spanking. niio
Ignorance and stupidity are loose on the planet….as evidenced in some comments here and at other channels. It’s fairly easy to fix ignorance, but impossible to fix stupidity. I am full of days on this rock, and wish you all good luck later.
RW: It sounds as if you are checking out. If that is the case, I would suggest that you seek professional help. Things are never as dark as they seem when we think we are alone. I don’t know why you feel so isolated but to paraphrase Shakespeare, “The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” Your post also suggests that you have an overrated superiority complex. Even the dullest among us can come up with gems on occasion. I have mentioned previously, in almost 50 years of having employees, one of the poorest fit for the job came up with a brilliant suggestion that was so simple in concept yet solved a problem that my whole company had wrestled with for years. Gold and diamonds are found in dirt and mud. Sounds like cliches but most cliches are based on actuality. Seek professional help. The suicide hot line number is one-eight hundred-two, seven, three-eight, two, five, five. If you are a veteran, hit one after reaching the main number and you will be directed to a special hot line for vets.
For folks who might wonder why the phone number is in such a weird format, apparently the monitoring program does not allow posting of phone numbers in the message, no matter how urgent it might be, so we have to outwit the dumb screener.