26 August 2011

DIY Security Check for (Modern) Homes III: Windows

In part III of the Do-It-Yourself Security Check for Modern Homes (I had to find a modern tie-in somehow, no?), we’ll examine your windows to see whether they are an open invitation to criminals.

Check ground-floor and basement windows

Ground-floor and basement windows are more likely to be targeted than those on the second floor, and deserve the most attention. The exception is those second-floor windows that can be easily accessed by a deck or other elevated structure outside the home.

Start your home security check by looking at your ground-floor windows from afar. Are they blocked by high shrubbery? Bushes give ideal cover for someone planning to break or force open a window; cut greenery back so that front windows are fully visible from the street. And do not forget your basement windows.

Keep locks locked

Make sure all windows can be opened, closed, and locked with relative ease—and then remember to keep them locked whenever you’re not around. The biggest problem that occurs with windows is when home owners exit their home and leave windows wide open.

In spring and fall, when daytime temperatures swing and windows are frequently opened and closed, get in the habit of locking windows as you shut them.

Install simple security devices

Add blocking devices to the most easily accessed windows so they can’t be opened from outside:
  • Wooden dowels placed in the track block windows that slide horizontally, and require no installation.
  • Steel locking pins (about $7 each), inserted in small holes that must be drilled through the frames, prevent vertically-sliding windows from being opened.
  • Aluminum clamps with thumbscrews can be affixed to casement windows, preventing them from being opened too wide for a person to reach or get through
  • Your friendly neighborhood hardware store can advise you on other lock types which are easy to mount and inexpensive
Should you install a home security system later, the pros will install glass-break sensors on your most vulnerable windows.

Check garage windows

Garage windows are often forgotten—give them a home security check to make sure they’re securely locked. Install curtains or apply translucent security film on garage windows so that valuables aren’t readily visible. Thieves are more likely to attempt a break-in if they see items worth stealing.

Next installment: Your home office.

Based on an article series by Joseph D'Agnese for the National Association of Realtors®

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