The simple security tricks matter. Like leaving the lights on when you step out of your home. Or counting on your dog as a substitute for your unused alarm system; she usually sets off the alarm anyway, right? In most cases, you are probably right and your dog and the lights may be effective deterrents. Usually. But unfortunately, home security is not something that can be fixed in the middle of a break-in. You’re better off being proactive and conducting a personal residential security assessment, or you can call the insurance company, repair a kicked-in door and then worry about making sure your security system is actually functional.

Residential Security: Simple Is Often the Best

There aren’t any secrets to creating a secure home, but there are a few variables to consider. The first is clearly the most important: how can you integrate security with your lifestyle? No one wants to live in a gilded cage no matter how comfortable it might be. It’s important to assess how you can create a security envelope that works for you, that you can use consistently and that doesn’t inconvenience you or your family. Keeping your security procedures as simple as possible is the best way to ensure that every member of your household can contribute to your overall security with the least inconvenience.

The Top Priority: Your Family’s Personal Safety and Security

The next variable you should consider is your level of need. What is it you need to protect? Number one on this list is you and your family! Whether you are at home or away, securing your residence will be critical to you and your family’s peace of mind. Coming home to a break-in is a traumatic experience that happens all too often. Your feelings of security and safety in your own home may be profoundly affected. You cannot completely eliminate risk, but you can mitigate it to a level you can live with.

If, like many of our affluent clients, you have multiple residences, yachts, household staff and elaborate security requirements, you may need a professional to conduct a comprehensive residential physical and technical security assessment. However, most of us can get by with looking at our primary residence, and maybe a vacation property. Interestingly, it is the security basics and not the complexities that usually cause the most trouble for both types of situations.

Five Steps Every Homeowner Should Take to Secure Their Residence

  1. Use your alarm system.
  2. Fix it if it is broken. Maybe upgrading and realigning your sensors to reduce false alarms will do the trick.
  3. Keep your alarm company signs and at least one camera visible in the front and back yards.
  4. Ensure you have good exterior lighting.
  5. Make sure your lock strikes and deadbolts can withstand a blow with a heavy hammer or similar item.

Finally, think about the problem from the viewpoint of a criminal: every impediment to an easy break-in increases his chances of being caught. Don’t make it easy for him.

A basic residential security assessment examines the interplay between risk, threat and vulnerability. You can’t always control the risks or threats, but you can impact them by reducing your vulnerabilities. Have I helped change your approach to securing your home? Is just leaving the lights on really going to be your plan?