A house security assessment can be a daunting task if you do not know what you are looking for.
There are a lot of items that need to be looked at and they change with the seasons.
In this article, I want to go over some of these items and procedures that will allow you to look at home security assessment with more understanding.
I will walk you through the procedure of doing these assessments and things to consider.
Let’s get started!
What Is A Home Security Assessment?
Put simply it is taking the actions of identifying weaknesses in your physical security that might provide an easy opportunity for a crime to occur before they happen.
Security assessments are a snapshot in time.
It is important to note that this can include your surrounding neighborhood as well.
In addition, assessments need to be done more than one time a year.
There is a wide variety of commonly know things that need to be addressed and looked at during this assessment.
I will go over some of these in a checklist later in this article.
Why Are Home Security Assessments Done More Than Once?
The reason for this is because of criminals or the behaviors of people looking to commit crimes changes with the weather.
Natural disasters for the most part leave you with almost no warning.
Things like droughts, flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters can change dramatically.
These events will alter your already conducted risk assessments.
Most of the key items to look for will and can likely cross over seasons and events some will not.
Along with that, you have to think about events going on around your surrounding area.
Things like the riots we have seen in recent times for example can bring a different level to your risk assessment depending on where you live.
All these things will or can result in risking your safety or security if not considered and addressed.
What Other Factors Can & Will Play A Role In Risk Assessments?
Other factors that can or will play a role in your risk assessment can include
The crime rate can decrease over time but in all reality, it is likely to climb instead of going down.
Especially large population areas where law enforcement may be spread too thin.
Health Of Population-
Most of the time this stays pretty well flat but in times like our current times where people are panicked or scared by this coronavirus, pandemic puts a mark on your assessment.
People do not know what to do or how they are going to make ends meet.
As a result, some people are stocking and overstocking their homes with essential items and not driving.
People are not going out and being social like we once did which just by itself gives a lot of people an uneasy feeling.
Just like the weather the economy can go up or down depending on world events going on.
We have seen this happen during the recent coronavirus pandemic.
People are being laid off, businesses are being closed down or burnt down by rioters, or work is simply slowed down because of it.
Desperate times come desperate measures of people trying to get the things they need or their family needs.
Government / Policies-
For this section, I would like to keep politics to a small section.
Except to say that these events of power structures changing and moving along with their efficiency or lack of to carry out policies could dramatically alter your security assessment.
Unrest in the population is not good for anyone, especially innocent standers.
Common routes you may take to the store or work could become overrun or blocked by rioters.
These types of situations should be considered and avoided.
You would probably be better suited seen in person by your family than on a news chopper camera with rioters trying to pull you out of the car.
All these things need to be taken into account when looking at your home security assessment.
Steps To Conducting Your Assessment
You can boil these down into a four-step system which includes
- Gathering up information
- Identify potential threats
- Identify other vulnerabilities around you
- Summarise your findings and make a plan.
Tips Before Conducting Your Audit Or Assessment
If you are trying to gather information on outside conditions or situations only use valid sources that are unbiased.
These people or references you use need to be reliable and factual to get an accurate risk assessment.
Remember there is a difference between probable and possible.
Probable means it is likely to happen and possible means might happen.
Because there are endless possibilities you should focus your time and energy on the things that actually have a probable chance of happening.
Give each potential threat or vulnerability a rating
- Almost Certain
Add A Impact Rating As Well
- Critical or Catastrophic
All these will give you a better understanding of what needs to be handled immediately or some things that might not be so pressing of a matter to take care of.
That is not to say that the minor things do not have to be addressed.
All things should be taken care of from critical impact working your way down to very low impact in that order.
Here is a threat matrix chart to make it more visual.
Below is an example of an assessment to give you an idea of how to fill one out.
Statistics of Burglary In The United States
Are thinking to yourself is doing a home security assessment really necessary?
Is this really that big of a deal?
In this section, we will outline some of the statistical data from the FBI’s criminal data explorer on just burglary.
These stats below is just from 2019 to 2020.
These stats are only taken into consideration data received from 15,643 of 18,671 law enforcement agencies in the country from 2019 until now.
Things To Look For During Your Assessment
As we mentioned at the start there are a wide variety of things that should be considered.
In this section, we will start to go over exactly what you should be focusing on during your home or neighborhood risk assessments.
Thing around your neighborhood could give you indicators that something is wrong before they happen.
This is why neighborhood watch works so well.
It is important to walk your neighborhood and know your neighbors.
Being nice and curious is a good way to have more eyes on your property when people see someone who is not normally on your property walking around.
If you are the neighbor that is always yelling at your other neighbors or showing a lack of care for your own property or even theirs then it’s likely they will not be too worried about what happens to your property.
Develop good relationships with your neighbors surrounding your property because all of them could be allies when things go bad or when you are not home.
To give you some example of this from myself personally to show some things that happen when you have a good neighborhood watch.
There was an empty property that had no people living in it at the time across the street from my families house.
I woke up one morning to get my coffee and saw a truck backed up to the deck loading stuff up in the back.
Broad daylight and I knew I had never seen that truck or the people loading the stuff up.
I started my vehicle up to act like I was leaving and pulled my vehicle up to block their truck in while calling the police then the owners of the property that lived across town.
The people trying to steal insisted they owned the property and then when I told them I knew the owners they tried to say they were suppose to be there and got permission.
Again I knew better.
They were trying to get me to let them go before the police showed up.
That didn’t happen.
I say all that to say that neighborhood watch works.
Although situations like that could have easily went sideways by blocking their vehicle in I did not want to allow them to get away with stealing without the police and owners of the property figuring out what they wanted to do with the people.
Ps. To this day I have never seen that vehicle or the people again.
Home Exterior From The Curb
Making your home look stunning on the outside gives most people including myself a lot of pride.
A well taken care of property could also give the idea of possible criminals thinking what is inside the house could also be nice and well taken care of.
These are all items that can be seen from just the curb of your property and will either tell criminals you are a easy victim or a hard target.
One thing you want to make sure of is that your house number is readily visible from the street.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to find someone’s house by an address they gave you but take a drive down your road.
Take special attention to see how many houses do not even have house numbers on their mailbox or house any place.
This is for emergency services like police or other emergency responders can locate your home if needed.
You do not want them circling the block or not knowing where to park in case of an emergency.
Landscaping Particularly Close to Entries and Exits
This means cutting all bushes and trees back away from the outside of the house.
This includes around windows or other entry points a criminal could use.
You are wanting to do this to any place a criminal could potentially hide behind, in, or around.
Extra points can be added by doing this down your property line.
This is to be able to see if a would-be criminal has parked down further from your house.
Doing these things are not only for you can spot a criminal it is also for a neighbor to possibly see them driving home or leaving.
We will touch more on this in the neighborhood section.
Windows, Entry Gates or Fence Gates
Do not give criminals easy access to anything from the exterior of the house.
This included making sure all windows and garage doors are locked as well.
If you have entry gates or fence gate doors make sure these are locked with padlocks.
These as well should be changed periodically especially if you have family, friends, or landscaping companies with keys to enter your property.
Purchase high-quality padlocks for any entry gates or fence gates allowing people into the perimeter of your property.
Locking all the perimeter access points will not only block or deter criminals from getting into your property it is also making sure they do not have easy access for carrying tons of your stuff off through them.
Flood Lights and Motion Sensor Lights
Above is a poor example of what you should be trying to avoid.
These have a purpose of deterring criminals as well.
Adding lights around your property is not only to add beauty points to your property.
This adds a double layer of security.
This will take potential dark or shadow points away from your property where criminals like to hide in cover and wait.
Besides, it will spotlight anyone coming onto your property giving the possibility for a neighbor or passer-by might see.
Another point to mention is not turning them off when you go to bed.
Keep them on until you wake up or have them on timers.
One system we recommend for the widest coverage and brightest lights can be found by clicking here.
Packages and Mail
If you know you are going to be out of town or make sure you have a trusted friend or family member pick up your packages.
Or a second option is to tell your postal service you need them to hold your mail for a specific time.
Any newspapers stacked up outside on the porch or in the yard will be a telling sign to criminals that no one has been home for a while.
This also includes leaving boxes for expensive items that you have purchased by the trash can.
Big expensive TVs or other electronics can be another telling sign for the criminals driving by that you just bought items they might like in their house.
Home Exterior Close Proximity
All these items will be things to consider if the criminals get through all the above options items and still thinks your property will be an easy target.
These are monitoring options that will be used closer to your house itself and likely not seen by just looking at the property from a distance.
We will also go over some no monitoring options just as door locks and window locks.
Fake or Real Beware of Dog & Security Systems
Real or not these signs act as good deterrents for would be criminals.
No criminals want to deal with outdoor security cams or maybe mad dogs ready to spread their leg on entry.
These can be either real if you have them or fake.
Criminals do not know if you actually have either but just be aware this is only a deterrent and some criminals are more brazen in their attempts.
They can and some will call your bluff.
TIP: If you are using outdated security systems that are not hooked up or the company is no longer making security items replace them or take them down.
Criminals have seen more security items than you have and can pick out which ones are likely working and which ones are likely there just for looks.
For security systems, I recommend getting something that can work in all weather and has night vision capabilities.
Along with those systems that work over wifi or have apps are ideal for quick alerts of someone coming onto your property.
One system I recommend for ease of setup is the Blink Security systems.
They have all the above mentioned items with an easy to use mobile app.
They are completely a wireless home security system using Wi Fi signals.
It also has motion sensors that click the cameras on when it sees motion and alerts you on your cell phone.
They have more than 2-year battery power life so you will not have to worry about them going dead too quick.
If they do get low on battery life the camera will alert you via the app on your phone and you can simply take it down, plug it up and charge them.
You can get longer battery life from them by adjusting the motion sensitivity in the settings.
For longer driveways or if you have an ally way to a back driveway you can install motion detector devices or metal detecting devices in these areas that will alert you someone is coming down your driveway.
These can be seen by clicking here!
You can find most for the range you are looking for from 50 feet all the way up to 1/2 mile.
Window and Door Security
For doorways or entry ways you can have video doorbell systems.
These will capture video at your door when someone is in front of them.
I’m sure you have seen video compilations from these video doorbell systems of people coming up to steal packages left by UPS and FedEx.
One of the most popular video doorbell system is the ones made by Eufy.
These doorbell systems also use a wifi signal to transmit the video to any of your smart home devices such as the iPad.
For window sensors, you can purchase the lower-tech options that just sound alarmed when contact is broken.
Other options you can get other higher-tech options that have apps like the Blink system I mentioned above for video security.
They can be accessed by any smart device and have cellular backups of the data.
For added security and to make it more difficult for criminals to can access you can install cheaper options to actually further lock your windows.
Adding a fail-safe to your windows in an addition to the window locks is a good option as well.
The standard lock are usually cheap and break easily.
These added security locks are also great for blocking smaller children from opening windows as well.
They come in an 8 pack and can easily be installed on most modern sliding window frames.
You can find these by clicking here.
It must be noted that adding everything from the video doorbell to the locks will usually deter criminals but if they want in bad enough they will get in.
Most criminals will not spend the time especially if you add a lot of roadblocks to their plan.
Anything that will slow them down can be an advantage for you.
Criminals want the easiest victims and they want it as fast as possible.
Slowing them down by itself can scare them away.
Cleaning Up The Perimeter Of Your Property.
The outside of your property can likely be giving the criminals tools that they forgot to bring to the break-in.
Like a metal pipe or concrete brick that can ad them in breaking in doors or windows.
Remember looking at these items like a criminal would look at them will allow you to see they can have multiple uses for them.
This includes locking up any exterior storage shed or workshops.
If a criminal needs some tools to get their job done do not leave them lying around for them to freely use on your property.
Keep garages and any exterior storage sheds completely locked when you are not using them.
Which brings us to our next sections.
Use solid-core wood or reinforced-steel exterior doors, this includes the door into your garage.
Install longer screws into all door jamb hardware, strike plates and hinges.
These should be at least 3 inches in length and do not normally come with most kits.
Most standard door locks come with really cheap and smaller size screws that do not grab onto much for the strength of the system.
They can easily be kicked and broken out of the frames of what they are screwed into.
Armor Concepts is a great company for products that will reinforce your doors to make them kick proof.
These kits come with everything needed for fortifying your door frames and can be installed in around 20 mins.
Pair these kits with double cylinder Abloy protection deadbolt locks and your doors will be almost bomb-proof.
If you have or need peepholes made into your doors make sure these are upgraded to wide-angle peepholes for ease of identification of anyone standing on the other side.
All items in this section have to do with the security of the inside.
At this point, most if not all criminals would be deterred or mad about the fight it is taking to get what they want.
If the criminals have made it past all the above items we still have work to do.
Security Panels or Control Panels
Make sure these are installed some place other than right beside your door.
Especially if your front door has some kind of window or way of viewing inside.
Criminals know where these are normally located and they look for them.
Keep all your essential equipment like DVRs or any other monitoring equipment well hidden or locked up someplace in a safe.
Do not make it easy by placing it in a spot that can be seen and removed with the rest of your valuables.
If you are investing in a professional monitoring system or one that has monitoring services make sure these will work when you have a power outage.
That is one drawback of the video security system I mentioned above.
All the systems that transmit via wifi will be shut off when the power outage happens.
Any professional monitoring system installers will need to be asked these questions before installation.
If you are paying good money to have a monitoring service you want them to be working when you need them.
Tip: Codes for this system need to be periodically changed.
These codes are no different than your PIN for your debit cards or online accounts.
Defensive Plan If Your Are Home
These are like fire drills we all performed when we were younger.
It is a rare event nowadays that all members of your family know what to do during these types of events.
These need to be rehearsed and everyone needs to be on the same page if you are home in the event of a break-in.
If you have a dog that is great but does not expect the dog to do much to help you unless it is trained to do so.
My dog sadly will take any free stacks you are willing to give him and can easily be silenced if the criminals happen to have food for him.
On the other hand, all firearms you have in your house need to be considered as far as placement.
Have these placed in locations that a would-be robber or criminal is likely to take you and sit you down.
This might include places they would force you to go for certain items they are looking for.
If you are on this website we should not have to tell you that these locations should be out of reach of smaller children for their safety and everyone else.
Make sure all sensitive documents and information are kept and locked up in a safe inside the house bolted down.
One of the best safe manufacturer is Liberty safes.
These are some of the toughest and most widely used safes for storing important documents all the way to full-size safes for firearm storage.
They have tons of options depending on your needs or wants.
They can take care of all them with their wide selection.
Again some criminals are looking for anything they can grab to steal more of your property after they get safely back to their house.
These items include social security cards, bank information, passports, or simply a laptop or desktop that already has all your accounts linked to them.
Most companies have built-in features for finding items like cell phones and computers.
Below are a couple more resources to aid you in this.
Resources For Learning More
In this section, we will give some additional methods of learning how to protect yourself and your family in any of these situations.
Lock Picking Basics
Learning the basics of lock picking and the methods of getting around locks will not only help you for picking better solutions from better manufacturers, but you can also help friends when they lock themselves out.
If you have never looked into this even the basics are so simple you can learn them in minutes.
Trust me when I say you will be shocked at how easy it is with most any locks on the market especially the ones they sell at Walmart or your local hardware stores.
How To Get Out Of Restraints
A robbery or criminals trying to subdue you or a family member will use a wide variety of things like duct tape, zip ties, and other things.
Knowing these and knowing how to get out of them might save you or a family member if it was ever to happen.
As a result learning and practicing these techniques of getting out of them will be crucial in surviving a situation like a break-in or home robbery.
In this article, we went over a lot of different knowledge to keep you and your surrounding neighborhood a little safer.
Knowing these things will give you a more accurate risk assessment but most importantly have a plan to fix these things.
As mentioned above this is not a one time and done thing.
All these items can be revisited as many times as you want and adjust accordingly as it probably will need to be adjusted periodically.
That is all for this article but if you’re interested in reading more to gain even more knowledge of things to consider check out our article on situational awareness by clicking here.
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