Summer is upon us and with it comes higher crime rates. July and August are the busiest months for burglaries. This subject has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly due to a break in that took place at my business storage unit and also due to the burglaries of friends and customers alike.

What I’d like to offer you is this: A few tips to keep your home more secure. No home is burglar proof but any home can become more of a deterrent than an attraction to thieves.

Two problem areas that I regularly find on Austin home inspections are these: Horizontal aluminum windows and sliding glass doors. Sliding glass doors can easily be pulled out of their tracks (don’t believe me then try it yourself) and out of the frame. The locks that hold these doors in are inherently problematic.

Aluminum horizontal sliding windows share many of the same problems as sliding glass doors. During property inspections, I often find that older aluminum windows are missing their locks entirely. Homeowners often purchase a small temporary bolt style lock that is too often unsuccessful in securing the home.

Security Solutions

Use a secondary, rigid blocking device. These devices are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local hardware store. Aluminum windows can be as inefficient as they are easy to break into. Replacement may be necessary, but you won’t be sorry. Finally try using alarm decals placed in highly visible locations.

 Thieves aren’t interested in getting caught, and good signs or stickers can offer enough of a reason to go somewhere else.

Adding lighting to main entry points (front, back and garage doors) will remove the added benefit of night cover for the would-be burglars. Lighting is inexpensive and many exterior lights have motion sensors and can also be set to timers if you’re leaving town.

Call that alarm company! Alarms are not a fool proof system for protecting your home. Though the likelihood that a thief wants to stay in your home while the alarm is sounding is pretty slim. Place the alarm sirens in a strategic location, pointing towards the outdoors, perhaps at the gable vents. The louder the better. Be sure to set the alarm to sound for only a few minutes. There’s no need to irritate the neighbors long after the thieves have left.

Just a few more quick ideas to beef up your security:

  • Dogs are wonderful deterrents, though I don’t recommend buying one for security purposes alone.
  • Home safes can offer added protection to your most precious items.
  • Trim plants or bushes that obstruct the view of windows from the street. Don’t give a thief anymore cover than you have to.
  • Know thy neighbor. If you are leaving town notify your trusted neighbors and have them keep an eye and ear on your place. Be sure to return the favor, you can’t have too many people looking out for you!

Of course, every home is different. While our home inspectors can make your home safe from mold, termites, and potential structural damage, look into a professional security company to ensure it’s secure from everything else.