Home Security Basics

Take a good look around your house: Does it invite or deter a would-be burglar?

Many of the best ways to improve the security of your home are surprisingly simple. Smart home maintenance, good lighting, and a few good locks go a long way in reducing your home's curb appeal to burglars.

When evaluating your home's security, start by considering two P's: Perimeter and Points of Entry. That's the way a prowler would view your home.

     Perimeter  applies to the yard and exterior night lighting. Trees and bushes planted close to the house and left untrimmed offer ready cover to an intruder. A yard without a fence makes sneaking in and out easier. A ladder or tools left on the lawn can be used to break in.

If these things make your home look inviting during the day, a prowler may come back at night to scope out the lighting. A house left in the dark all evening, inside or out, isn't going to shed any light on illegal activity and makes a burglar's entry and exit almost undetectable.

     Points of entry are, of course, all your doors and windows-even windows above the first floor. If you leave any windows or doors open most of the time or if they are in obvious poor repair, a burglar can get in and out quickly. Start by evaluating exterior doors- nearly 90 percent of all illegal entries are right through a door.

Your family's lifestyle is especially important when evaluating electronic alarm systems. There systems have become fairly popular, and the options available are staggering. If you have a good idea of how your family will use the security system, you're more likely to get just what you need-not to much, not to little. And these systems work best in homes that have covered the security basics.

The goal is to feel safe and comfortable in an around your home. Keep that in mind as you evaluate your home and prioritize the list of security home improvement projects.