A low crime rate is just one of the many reasons folks are drawn to the Ojai Valley. Feeling safer at home and being able to walk around the village after dark are nice perks of living in a small town. But even if you live in a low-crime area, it never hurts to take a few measures to make you and your family feel even more secure at home.
To help keep you, your family, and your guests safe, here is a checklist of easy steps you can take to increase security, as well as a couple of suggestions that take a little more effort but that are well worth it.
1. Check existing hardware.
The first step is just making sure what you already have is working. Check all of your doors and windows to make sure they close, latch, and lock properly. Keep in mind that window and door locks are for keeping people out and keeping people in, so this is important to keep intruders out, but it is even more important to keep your little ones from accessing a pool or the street without you.
2. Add additional security measures to windows.
Even if your windows close and lock properly, you can likely make them even more secure by adding a dowel in the track to keep the window from opening when locked or by purchasing window locks designed to attach to the track to allow the window to open only as far as you would like.
3. Add a video doorbell.
Video doorbells are ubiquitous at this point and take almost no skills to install or set up. Rechargeable options mean you don’t even have to run wiring, and there are plenty of options available, including ones that allow you to have a conversation with someone who is at your door or gate or sending the video to police if a package is stolen from your porch. At the very least, the most basic models record who comes within range of the doorbell and allow you to see who is at your door before you answer it.
For a low-tech alternative, you can install a peephole in your door, but this will not let you check out who is on your porch while you are traveling out of state.
4. Make your home a little smarter.
Converting your house into a fully automated smart home might seem like a bit much, but you can increase security by making your home just a little smarter. For example, smart plugs placed in one or more rooms allow you to control lamps or other items plugged into them from your phone.
For a lower-tech option, you can also just put some lights on timers, but controlling lights from an app on your phone is nice, especially when you are coming home unexpectedly late.
5. Install a security system and cameras.
Advances in home security technology have made it possible to install a security system in a single afternoon without the help of professionals. This means that some kind of security system is accessible for most renters and homeowners. For intricate camera systems, you are better off hiring a professional who can help you choose the right system to fit your needs and advise you on camera placement.
6. Keep your family and guests safer with outdoor lighting.
Adequate lighting makes your home and yards safer by guiding traffic, illuminating walking paths, reducing tripping hazards, and making sure first responders can see your address. Creative placement of landscape lighting and motion detector lights is also a great way to avoid shadowy corners and potential hiding spots for intruders.
7. Add landscaping features that enhance security.
You can increase your home’s security with how you design and maintain your landscaping. For example, planting thorny bushes under windows and keeping tree branches trimmed to reduce access to second-story points of entry are helpful deterrents. Make sure you keep bushes and trees pruned to allow for a clear line of sight to your main entry and to avoid creating hiding spots in your yard.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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