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home security audit

If your home has been feeling less than secure lately, there are some things that you need to do immediately to improve its safety and security. You’ll notice that I’ve included safety as part of security here. While home security plans traditionally focus on fences, alarm systems, and other protection equipment to keep intruders out and safeguard your assets… the ultimate purpose is to keep property, people, and pets safe from being harmed. As such, we highly recommend that you combine those two efforts and emphasize those items that are more critical for your family.

Here are some tips that will keep your home safe from intruders.

Understanding Home Security Audits

A home security audit thoroughly assesses your home's current security measures, including equipment, alarm systems, lighting, and protections against unauthorized access. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of locks on doors and windows, assessing the placement and functionality of security cameras, alarm systems, and other equipment, identifying potential weak points in your home's exterior that burglars could exploit, examining the safety of your home's interior against hazards like fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, and reviewing the adequacy of lighting.

Every dad needs to take a home security audit seriously because it directly relates to the safety and well-being of his family. By conducting a home security audit, he can identify and address any potential threats or vulnerabilities in his home's security. This proactive approach, backed by a security plan, security equipment, and security experience, protects his family from dangers such as break-ins, thefts, and other emergencies. It also provides peace of mind, knowing that his security experience has guided him to take every possible measure in his security plan to safeguard his home and loved ones.

Moreover, a home security audit can provide valuable insights into improving your home's security measures. This could involve simple fixes like adding deadbolt locks to doors or more complex solutions like installing a state-of-the-art security system. By taking this audit seriously, every dad can ensure they provide the safest environment for their family.

Is It Better To Hire A Security Company To Install A Home Security System?

Yes, hiring a professional security company to install a home security system is generally better. There are several reasons for this. First, professional security companies have the expertise and experience to ensure that your system is installed correctly and functions as intended.

They can also provide ongoing monitoring services, which can offer additional protection. Second, they can provide advice on the best type and placement of security equipment for your specific needs. Third, they can provide support and maintenance if any technical issues arise.

Lastly, many insurance companies offer discounts on homeowner's insurance if your security system is professionally installed and monitored. Therefore, while hiring a professional security company might cost more upfront, the peace of mind and potential savings in the long run make it a worthwhile investment.

However, at the end of the day - you still need to take responsibility for your own home to make it as safe and secure as possible. Alarm systems and home security equipment can only do so much if you are faced with a determined soul trying to break into your home!

Conducting a Home Security Audit

While there are professional home security audit companies that you can hire to come in and assess weaknesses in your home and safety audits, the reality is that most of these elements are things that any dad with a bit of training can do himself.

It also makes for an excellent opportunity to engage your older children to take an active role in the process so that they have a better understanding of how to keep their home safe and secure. Home security shouldn’t be something that is just your domain. For the audit to work, all of your family members need to be involved in the process.

ElementPurpose of Checking
Doors To ensure they are sturdy, have strong locks, and are not easily breakable.
Windows To check they are locked and secure, and cannot be easily opened from outside.
Alarm System To verify it is working properly and is able to alert the homeowners or security company.
Outdoor Lighting To make sure it is adequate and functioning, as it can deter potential intruders.
Fences/Gates To confirm they are in good condition and provide a barrier to entry.
CCTV Cameras To verify they are operational and cover all important areas of the property.
Smoke Detectors To ensure they are functional and can alert to any fire hazards.
Garage Doors To check they are secure and cannot be easily opened by an intruder.
Locks To make sure all locks in the house (doors, windows) are sturdy and working properly.
Shrubs/Trees near Windows To ensure they do not provide cover or easy access to windows for potential intruders.

It is important to note that each home will be a bit different so there may be features in your home such as a pool or a wine cellar that need additional safety audit attention.

With your initial home security audit in place, it’s time to create a home security plan that your family can help implement.

Securing The Exterior Of Your Home From Intruders

Let’s start by focusing on the exterior of your home and looking for opportunities to make it more secure. We’re going to focus our attention here on the overall security experience that includes closing off any entry points from unauthorized access so that you know exactly who has access to your home at all times.

Locks and Keys for Home Security

Check your locks and keys' condition. Old or worn-out ones may not be as secure. Consider replacing them with smart locks, which can be controlled remotely and offer better security. Adding a video surveillance system can also enhance home safety by letting you monitor your property in real time.

Also, make sure your keys are in good shape to prevent them from getting stuck or breaking in the lock.

Lastly, the material of your doors and windows matters; stronger materials resist forced entry better. By considering these points, you can maximize your home's security.

Securing the Garage Area

At a basic level, your garage door is like any other portal to the home but it is traditionally far less secure than other parts of your home - except that people often forget to lock the door between your garage and the rest of the home or choose to spend less buying a cheaper garage door opener that may be less secure.

As they say - a chain is only as strong as its weakest link!

Don’t worry, though; there are some easy checks that you can include in your security audit.

  1. Strengthen your garage door with sturdy materials and extra locks.
  2. If your garage connects to your house, put a peephole in the door so you can look in the garage if you hear any strange noises without opening access to the house.
  3. Check for damage on garage doors and windows that could make break-ins easier.
  4. Consider investing in a smart garage door opener that includes a camera and motion sensors.
  5. Always lock the door connecting your garage to your house for extra security.

During this time spent securing the garage area, you should also consider getting rid of junk and items that you no longer need - but may be appealing to someone who is looking for valuable stuff to steal.

Assessing Doors and Windows Vulnerabilities

When conducting a home security audit, paying special attention to your doors and windows is crucial as they are common entry points for intruders. The most important check here is that you should be able to easily open and close the door or window completely and then secure it into place.

Enhancing Backyard, Landscaping, and Outside Area Security

When conducting a home security audit for your yard, several key elements must be considered to make your home safer and more secure. Some of these items - such as establishing or supporting a neighborhood watch, may be out of your direct control. However, as part of your audit, you should at least know what options exist and how you can be involved to keep your neighborhood secure.

  1. Lighting: Good lighting is essential for deterring potential intruders. Look for dark areas that could provide cover for burglars and consider installing motion sensor lights or solar-powered path lights.
  2. Visibility: Ensure that your home's entrances and windows are clearly visible from the street. This can deter potential burglars as they risk being seen by neighbors or passersby.
  3. Landscaping: Overgrown trees, shrubs, or hedges can provide hiding places for intruders. Trim them regularly and keep your yard well-maintained.
  4. Fences and Gates: Check the condition of your fences and gates. They should be sturdy and tall enough to deter intruders, but not so high that they provide a hiding place.
  5. Security Cameras: Consider installing security cameras around your property. Make sure they are visible as they can act as a deterrent.
  6. Locks and Latches: Check all outdoor buildings, like sheds or garages, for secure locks. These can often be targets for burglars looking for tools to use in a break-in.
  7. Windows and Doors: Inspect the condition of windows and doors that lead outside. They should be solid, have good locks, and not have any cracks or gaps.
  8. Outdoor Valuables: Items such as grills, bikes, or lawn equipment should be stored securely when not in use. Leaving them out can attract thieves.
  9. Alarm System Signs: Displaying signs that indicate you have a home security system can act as a deterrent, even if you don't have one.
  10. Neighborhood Watch: Participating in a neighborhood watch program can significantly increase the security of your home and yard.

By assessing these areas, you can significantly enhance the security of your yard and overall home safety.

Checklist For Enhancing Wi-Fi Network and Smart Home Device Security

To keep your home completely secure, it is essential that you look at both physical and virtual portals into your home. While you don’t want someone to break in and steal your TV or rummage through your closets … I’m sure you don’t want someone spying on your child’s laptop camera or hacking your smart oven either!

  1. Change Default Passwords: Ensure that you change the default passwords on all your devices, including your Wi-Fi router. Use strong, unique passwords for each device.
  2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: If your devices offer two-factor authentication, enable it. This adds an extra layer of security to your devices.
  3. Update Firmware Regularly: Make sure all your devices and your router are running the latest firmware. Manufacturers often release updates to patch security vulnerabilities.
  4. Disable Remote Management: Turn off remote management for your router to prevent unauthorized access.
  5. Use a Secure Wi-Fi Network: Set up a separate network for your smart home devices. This way, if a device is compromised, the attacker won't have access to all your devices on the same network.
  6. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: Use WPA3 encryption for your Wi-Fi network. If your router does not support WPA3, use WPA2.
  7. Limit Device Access: Only allow trusted devices to connect to your Wi-Fi network. You can do this by enabling MAC address filtering on your router.
  8. Regular Audits: Regularly check your network for any unauthorized devices or suspicious activity.
  9. Disable Unnecessary Features: Many smart devices come with features that you may not use but can pose a security risk. Disable these features if you don't need them.
  10. Secure Physical Access: Ensure that your router and other critical devices are in a secure location where they can't be easily tampered with.
  11. Use a Firewall: Enable the built-in firewall on your router to prevent unauthorized access.
  12. Backup Your Settings: Regularly backup the settings of your smart devices and router. This way, in case of a device failure, you can quickly restore your settings.
  13. Educate Yourself and Family Members: Make sure everyone in the house understands the importance of network security and knows how to use the devices securely.
  14. Use a VPN: If you access your smart home

Effective Deterrents Against Burglars

Putting up barriers to someone who wants to break in is just common sense, but the most determined criminal will still succeed. Our final tip for creating an effective home security plan to follow during your audit is to look for ways to make your home less appealing for intruders.

  1. Install outdoor lighting to illuminate dark areas around your home
  2. Use timers to make it appear as if someone is home
  3. Secure windows and doors with deadbolt locks
  4. Install a security system and display signage indicating its presence
  5. Keep your property well-maintained to show it's regularly occupied
  6. Avoid showcasing valuable items through windows
  7. Secure air conditioning units to prevent removal and entry
  8. Trim shrubs and trees near windows to eliminate hiding spots
  9. Join or start a neighborhood watch program
  10. Get a security dog or post "Beware of Dog" signs
  11. Lock all doors and windows when leaving, even for short periods
  12. Don’t advertise you are away on social media
  13. Stop mail delivery or ask a neighbor to collect it when you're away
  14. Install security cameras visible from the street.

Ensuring Safety Of Your Self Defense Weapons Should Also Be Part Of A Home Security Audit

With regards to firearms, these should be checked and maintained on a regular basis to ensure that they are always ready to be used safely and effectively. As such, you should be certain to include them in your home security audit. Take the time to examine each gun, clean it, re-load it, and then secure it so it is easy to access should you need to use it - but in a way that prevents it from being used inappropriately or by accident.

You may also take this time to discuss with your older children about the role of firearms safety and potentially take them to the range to ensure they are familiar with how to use it should they need to in an emergency.

Roles of Family Members in Home Security

While the home security audit and associated safety audit is something you should probably do annually or even better every quarter, involving your children in the process of home security and making sure that they are familiar with your home security plan is something that should be an ongoing effort.

How Kids Can Help With Home Safety and Security Measures

  1. Teach Them Basic Security Measures: Starting from the age of 4 or 5, you can involve children in basic home security measures. Teach them not to open the door to strangers and to always check who's at the door before opening it.
  2. Assign Them the Task of Locking Doors and Windows: By the time they're around 6 or 7, children can be responsible for ensuring that all doors and windows are locked before bedtime. This will instill a sense of responsibility and awareness about home security.
  3. Involve Them in Fire Safety Drills: Children as young as 8 can participate in fire safety drills. This will help them understand what to do in case of an emergency and will also make them aware of potential fire hazards in the house.
  4. Teach Them to Use Security Systems: At around 10 years old, children can learn how to use home security systems. You can teach them how to arm and disarm the system, as well as what to do in case of a false alarm.
  5. Assign Them the Task of Checking Outdoor Lighting: As they reach their pre-teens, children can check outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure they're working properly. This is an important aspect of home security as well-lit exteriors can deter potential intruders.
  6. Involve Them in Creating a Home Evacuation Plan: By their early teens, children can help create a home evacuation plan in case of emergencies. This will make them aware of all possible exits and safe places outside the house.
  7. Teach Them to Recognize Suspicious Activity: Teenagers can be taught to recognize suspicious activity in the neighborhood and report it to adults or authorities.
  8. Involve Them in Annual Security Audits: Teenagers can also be involved in annual home security audits. They can help check the functionality of alarms, locks, and other security systems.
  9. Teach Them Basic First Aid: By their late teens
  10. Safe Firearms Handling: The process should begin in the early teens with increasing amounts of responsibility ranging from normalizing and demystifying what a gun is, to ultimately being able to use it safely and retrieve it from your gun safe when needed to defend the home and family by their late teens. 

Improving Home Safety During Vacations or Travel

When you're going on vacation you need to make sure that your property is secure. Aside from ensuring that you have security cameras that you can use to view your property from wherever you are, you need to make sure that you don't make it obvious to criminals that no one is home.

As mentioned before, you need to keep your yard looking as good as possible even when you are on vacation. Having a yard that looks unkempt is a clear signal that nobody's home. While you are not home, schedule landscapers to come in and clean up your yard. You can get a relative to come over and supervise them or even a friend.

Have your neighbors collect your mail and remove any newspapers from your front door. It is another clear signal that no one is home when packages and newspapers start piling up. This will make your home a target for criminals

Be careful what you post on social media as well. While you may want to share your exciting vacation with your friends and family, if your page is not private then it also means that unscrupulous people can see that you are away from home. They can then make plans to rob your home without interference.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.