No one wants to be victimized by a burglar or, even worse, a violent crime or fire. At Allied, we have been protecting homes and businesses in your communities for over 65 years, so we have pulled together some top security tips for creating a safe home or business using landscaping, design, and security devices.
Landscaping for Security
Not many people actually take into account the types of landscaping that attract or deter criminals. In a recent report by Krem2 in Spokane, WA, actual inmates were interviewed anonymously, and they told all about what makes a home a target for a break in.
Prominent lighting was one of the main deterrents, but high privacy fences were an invite. Burglars don’t want to be seen, so using fencing that has some visibility and outdoor lighting will help keep the burglars at bay.
Visible Entry Points, Bushes, and Trees
Other important features for your landscaping are very well defined entry points. The Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray page states that CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) recommends that plants follow the 3-8 rule, which means hedges are no higher than 3 feet and tree canopies starting at no lower than 8 feet – particularly around windows.
Design for Security
Secure Entry Ways & Lighting in Your Design
If you have the opportunity to build your own home or are planning to remodel, take into account visibility of your entry ways. Large open windows and built in, high exterior solar lighting are excellent deterrents and are difficult for a burglar to tamper with.
Perhaps you don’t want lights on in every area of your property, so motion lights are a good option for those dark spaces where you would not typically want lights on all night.
Property Visibility & Escape Points
Privacy is important to most people, but do not ‘fortress’ your home. This is not recommended by CPTED. You should always have visibility in and around your home, especially entrances.
It is also recommended to have means of escaping from multi-level homes or businesses. Escape ladders are good as well as stairs built up to a balcony or 2nd level door, so there is always a way to escape in case of fire or other threats.
Types of Security Devices, Placement, and Services You Need
Where to Place Video Surveillance Cameras
Many people believe that security cameras should be hidden so the burglar doesn’t know they are being captured on video. However, prisoners interviewed said that surveillance cameras were a deterrent and, in fact, said they were a deal breaker if they were visible. It is better to completely prevent the crime than to apprehend the perpetrator after they have committed the crime.
Cameras should also be placed in areas where there is little human traffic and dark areas where it is easy to hide. Entrances are a good place for cameras. Not only can you deter a burglar, but also get notified and see when the kids get home, or a package is delivered. Cameras have many uses.
System Features You will Need
If you need to purchase a security system, we recommend it has these 3 essential features:
- Fire alarms. Fires are the most destructive form of loss for any home or business so be sure your security systems includes fire protection.
- Alarm monitoring. Dispatching of fire and police is essential to minimizing the damage caused by fire or burglary. You will want cellular or Wi-Fi monitoring connection to ensure that your system is working in the case of a power outage or phone lines are cut.
- Wireless and mobile viewing. Wired systems are easily cut by burglars from the exterior of your building, so your system should never rely solely on connected power. Many newer security systems are wireless or hybrid battery and wired systems. In addition, remote view from your mobile devices can give you alerts when motion is detected, when there is a flood, Carbon Monoxide levels rise so you can confirm there is a problem before police are dispatched.
Types and Use of Alarm Panels
It is advised that the security system you buy has a wireless alarm panel so that you can keep next to your bed at night or move with you around your home or business. This also reduces risk of tampering. Having a stationary wall panel alone that cannot be moved requires you to go to it to sound or to disarm an alarm. Your mobile apps on new systems allow for the same features so you can manage the alarm directly from your device.
What to Do if You Have a DIY Security System
DIY security systems can be a very affordable option for homeowners as well as renters. However, there are some things to consider when purchasing or using a DIY system.
Many DIY security systems sold on the market today are easily hacked by high tech criminals. They can hack anything from your garage door opener to your alarm panel. Be sure that the DIY system you purchase has not had any security breaches, and that it has security measures in place to prevent hacking of the system.
Your DIY system should be ‘up-gradable’ without the need to purchase an entirely new system. If your system does not upgrade with the latest software and security patches, you might find your system is out of date sooner than you would like, and you’ll have to purchase an entirely new system within a few years.
Make sure that your DIY security system has professional monitoring, fire protection, and mobile apps to manage the system remotely. It is also recommended to purchase one or two security cameras if they did not come with your system.
Use the same placement principles mentioned earlier to enhance the protection of your home or business.