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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Security Systems and Tips Category

Improvement Project:

How to generally secure and protect your home and family following basic safety tips and measures.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):


The world is a dangerous place.  No one is totally immune from crime, like burglaries, and other forms of harm, like accidental damage to property and and accidental injury to oneself.  However, steps can be taken to try to prevent or at least curb such unfortunate incidents.

With the above in mind, here are some safety measures and tips you should consider taking:

Exterior of the House

  • Don't grow a "jungle" outside.  Cut down on your shrubbery and other sorts of vegetation that tend to make your house obscured from the street and other public ways, since such a setting would be ideal for burglars:




    Burglars like to break into houses that easily provide them cover when breaking in and committing the crime of a burglary, and this can easily be accomplished through thick vegetation like bushy bushes and thick-trunk trees with a lot of overbearing branches, especially those around the windows of a house.  So, cut back on such vegetation, and if you want such vegetation around, strategically place them away from the windows and in such a way that they do not otherwise unreasonably provide potential "cover" for burglars and other criminal elements.  In fact, if you can, try planting vegetation that intruders hate--those that can hurt them--and they include thorny plants like rose bushes and agaves; incidentally, agaves are also known natural fire-retardant plants, so plant these around the perimeter of the house.

  • Windows should be locked and, if possible, shielded with decorative wrought iron bars.  Locking your windows should be a no-brainer.  In addition, you should consider installing wrought iron window bars.  They are not as bad as one would think in terms of aesthetics.  Having wrought iron window bars installed will deter intruders, and, if an intruder decides to attempt to try to break in, it will cause the intruder to at least incur a bit more work, effort, time and cause at least some noticeable noise to break in than it would otherwise be the case without such bars.  Such wrought iron window bars should not be a fire hazard because they all practically come with fire-release handles that can be pulled on the from the inside of the house to have the bars come off of the house in order to provide a fire escape route through the windows once shielded with bars.  This also applies to sliding glass doors.

  • Strengthen doors.  You should make sure that your entrance doors are of the solid-body type, and that they have deadbolt locksets installed on them; your basement door should be strengthened with a crossbar, and its hinges appropriately encased with a hard, durable material, such as concrete.

  • Perimeter house lights.  You should consider installing outside lights aimed at any entrance door to the house that you may have so as to provide enough light in order to deter intruders from attempting to break in through the door.  Motion-detecting lights are practically a necessity to deter crime, as such lights can cause intruders and vandals from not trespassing into parts of your property that would otherwise be without protection and subject to destruction.  Use walkway lights, also, to ensure a safe path to your house doorway.  All of such lights can be bought as photo cell light fixtures (light sensors) that automatically turn on their own when it becomes dark.  You should also consider getting light fixtures that are solar powered.

  • Garage doors that you should be wary of.  These days, burglars are quite sophisticated to the extent they now carry tools such as electronic devices that can capture the electronic pass code of your garage door to gain access to your garage and then your house, itself.  To better protect yourself against this, on the market for purchase is an electronic door opener that has "rolling code" technology, which allows the pass code that is transmitted from your garage door remote to open the garage door to change every time the door is opened.

Interior of the House

  • Alarm system.  Having an alarm system that protects against a burglary is really good line of defense.  Of course, a monitored alarm system for your house is best, but, if need be, you can at least have an alarm system without monitoring if the costs of monitoring is too high; usually, insurance companies offer discounts on home insurance premiums if an alarm system is in place.  Be sure to include a visible alarm system warning sign out in front of your house to deter intruders from considering your house as an easy target to burglarize; the posting of watchdog security signs are a good idea, too.

  • Smoke detectors.  There should be at least one smoke detector in every bedroom and hallway of your house.  If your house has an attic, garage or basement, each should also have a smoke detector.  Check your local housing fire code regulations for more minimum requirements.  Smoke detectors can either be wired to operate on electricity and/or independently on batteries.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors.  Often noted as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is just as dangerous or even relatively more dangerous than a fire because of its subtleness.  Like smoke detectors, there should be at least one carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom and hallway of your house.  If your house has an attic, garage or basement, each should also have a carbon monoxide detector.  Carbon monoxide detectors can either be wired to operate on electricity and/or independently on batteries.

  • Have interior appliances/electronics, like a television, radio and/or lights time to turn on and subsequently off when you are away from your house to give the appearance that someone is at home.

  • Fire extinguishers.  Have an extinguisher near or in your kitchen or fireplace so that it can be readily used in the event of a fire outbreak; usually, insurance companies offer discounts on home insurance premiums if a fire extinguisher is within reach.

  • A quality safe that is fireproof and waterproof.  Use a quality safe to store all of your valuable documents, such as birth certificates and bonds/stocks, and valuable items, such as jewelry.  Otherwise, consider using a bank safety deposit box for the storing of such documents and items.

  • Other safes disguised as brand products.  While necessarily not as of a high quality as safes of those above, there are dramatically less expensive safes--really called "diversion safes"--that are fake or otherwise disguised as soda cans, shaving cream cans, flowerpots and even books in which small items of valuable can be stored.

These are some safety tips and measures that you can consider applying for the protection of your home and the safety of you and your family.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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