Home Security: Assess Your Vulnerabilities
Introduction: To evaluate the areas of your home that are most vulnerable to invasion, it is important to look at your home from an intruder’s perspective. First, an intruder is going to search for any open windows or unlocked doors. After finding that all points of entry are locked and secure, the criminal will then resort to a method of forced entry.
Columbus Area Security Specialists Educate
We created the four videos on this page to help you identify where and how your home is vulnerable to a break-in. You can click the videos titles for quick access to each one.
Video 1: Assessing the front of your home
- Windows: Although the home we’re using for this demonstration is a ranch-style home it still has, as most homes do, two or more types of windows: those that are higher up from the ground and those that are at the ground level. While all first-floor windows are vulnerable, the ones closer to the ground are easiest to climb through and are therefore the most vulnerable. We suggest protecting ALL first-floor ground-level windows with contacts.
- Doors: In our thirty years in the industry, we’ve seen that most intruders prefer entering through a door. We suggest securing ALL first-floor doors and any doors on decks or balconies that an intruder might be able to climb up and enter through.
- Front Door Security: A trend we are seeing in today’s world of online shopping is parcel theft. To combat this issue, adding yet another layer of security to your front door, you might also choose to install our doorbell camera. This motion-activated camera records when it detects someone approaching your door and will send the video to your smart-phone. The camera can also interface with Z-Wave home automation technology, allowing for it to be programmed to turn on the front porch light should someone approach at night.
Video 2: Assessing the sides of your home
- Side Windows: Windows and doors on the sides of the home are often more concealed by bushes, trees, a privacy fence etc. and hidden from the view of passing cars and neighbors. The more concealed a window or door is, the more attractive it is to an intruder and are therefore more vulnerable.
- Side Doors: Doors on the side of the home, oftentimes leading into the garage or mud-room, are particularly vulnerable because not only are they more concealed, but people tend to forget to lock them, and sometimes even leave them cracked open for outside pets to enter and exit through. We suggest installing contacts in all first-floor doors and to also get in the habit of checking to make sure side doors are locked at all times. If you have an outside pet who finds shelter in the garage, it is best to install a doggy-door. Garage burglaries are extremely common, with thousands of dollars worth of tools, bikes, and other valuables being stolen at a criminal’s ease.
- Types of Glass in Windows and Doors: The two most commonly used glasses in windows and doors are tempered glass and standard glass. The difference between these two types of glass is how they shatter when broken.
- Standard glass is found in almost all windows that are able to be opened and closed and it breaks apart in large, dangerous chunks. To break-in through a standard glass window, an intruder will break the glass either above or below the window’s lock, carefully reach in, unlock the window, open it and climb through. To put it simply, if a window is able to be opened and closed then a wireless-contact will suffice in securing it.
- Tempered glass is found in most large bay windows, sliding glass doors, and doors with large glass panels. Tempered glass shatters into a million little pieces when broken. It breaks like this as a safety feature should someone, say a toddler, accidentally run into it in which case the whole panel shatters reducing the likelihood of being severely injured by a large shard of glass. However, this safety feature also comes with additional security measures. To break-in through tempered glass, all an intruder has to do is throw a brick or paver to shatter the glass and then walk right in. We suggest installing glass-break sensors near all tempered glass, in addition to wireless-contacts in all sliding or glass-paneled doors.
Video 3: Assessing the back of your home
As we learned in the last video, windows hidden from view of passing cars or neighbors are the most vulnerable to intrusion, it is important to keep this in mind as you assess the vulnerability of the back of the home. Remember, think like an intruder. We all like our privacy, and so do intruders.
- Back Doors: The back door of a home is another preferred area of intrusion, and for a number of reasons. Not only is it more concealed from traffic, but most people use the back door a lot, whether it is children entering and exiting to play in the yard, or letting the dog out, back doors are often left unlocked, and criminals know this. The home in our demonstration video has a sliding glass door that leads to a back patio, remember, sliding glass doors are best secured when equipped with both a contact and a glass-break sensor.
- Back Windows: The home in our demonstration also has a kitchen window facing the back yard. Although the kitchen window is not ground-level, outside the window is a hot-tub which makes it extremely vulnerable. Not only is the window easy to climb through because of the hot tub, but criminals know that kitchen windows are the most likely to be left open or left unlocked. Similar to the back door, we open and close the kitchen windows a lot; for ventilation while cooking, to call the kids in for dinner etc. The more we open or close a window or door throughout the day, the more likely we are to forget to lock them and criminals know this.
Video 4: Assessing the first floor master bedroom
The master bedroom is what we like to call the criminal’s jackpot. It is where we keep our jewelry, family heirlooms, cash, firearms, etc. Not only is the master bedroom on the first floor in our video but it also has French doors leading out into the back yard, hidden from view of the street. This door is extremely vulnerable and will need both a contact and a glass-break sensor.