Five Quick Home Security Measures

Five Quick Home Security Measures

January 11, 2015 – Jeffrey A. Hawkins

Security in a home, business, school, or nuclear facility, relies on the same basic premise of creating as many layers of protection between what is being protected (your home) and the bad guy(s). Although never 100% effective, the more layers you create, the better the protection.

The concept is actually pretty simple and the measures you can take in your home can be just as simple, so here are five quick layers you can implement.

(NOTE: for the sake of this article “home” can be an apartment, dorm, mobile home, townhouse, or single family unit – some tips may be more applicable than others)

1. Lighting: turn outside lights on at dusk and keep them on until dawn. We are talking about lights that stay “on,” not motion detector lights that come on when they detect movement. If you want to add those as additional lights, install them, but the other lights should stay on all night. There are many timer options out there so you don’t even have to think about it and as “smart homes” technology becomes more available, it will become easier. No matter how you choose to do it, just light up your neighborhood. In addition, turn some lights on inside your home too and keep them on all night; timers work great here too.

2. Locks: first tip – use them! I can’t tell you how many criminals simply walk into homes that are unlocked. Many times you even hear about intoxicated individuals that simply walk into unlocked homes by accident; sometimes incidents can turn bad, such as this incident in Texas and one in Kentucky. Invest in good locks, don’t go cheap here and if you have not changed the locks for new keys in a while (or never), do it now because you never know who has a copy of your keys. And remember, the doorknob lock is not really a lock; a deadbolt lock is what you need on ALL exterior doors. When in doubt, consult a locksmith.

3. Reinforce doors and frames: locks are great, but if the bad person can simply shoulder the door or kick it in, the most expensive locks are useless. Rather than getting into great detail here about door frames, look for some great YouTube videos out there explaining how you do this (here is a good sample “how to” video), but there are two things to keep in mind. First, invest in solid-core doors for all exterior entrances and second replace the screws in the hinges and door lock plate (where the door handle and deadbolt are located) with 2 1/2 to 3 inch screws. When you take your existing screws out you will probably be surprised at how small they are compared to what you are going to replace them with.

4. Landscaping: remember the bad guys do not want to be seen or heard, so keep landscaping trimmed up (or down as the case may be) so there are no hiding spots. Never allow landscaping to cover ground level windows and don’t allow trees to act as ladders to gain access to your upper floor windows or roof.

5. Windows: like the doors, keep them locked – always. Bad people don’t only come into your home at night or when you are away (and here is a terrifying example). Keep them closed and keep them locked – do a check of all your windows now. There are many additional security devices for windows to help secure them, but it depends on what type of windows you have and the frame that holds them, so you may have to look around.

So here you have some basic layers you can add rather quickly without a lot of expense, but then again how do you put a price on your safety or those of your loved ones?

There is no tomorrow when it comes to security, take steps to protect yourself now.

Jeffrey A. Hawkins is a senior public safety/security professional with over 30-years of diverse experience working for profit, not-for-profit, and government organizations on a local, regional, and global level.

Hawkins is a former law enforcement supervisor who transitioned into the private security sector serving as Chief Security Officer in the pharmaceutical, health care, cultural properties, religious, and corporate industries. Hawkins has a B.S. degree in Business Administration, and an M.S. degree in Management. He graduated from the Chicago Police Academy and has over 1,000 hours of training in the areas of security, law enforcement, and emergency management with such specialty agencies as the FBI, Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, and counter terrorism agencies in Israel.

Hawkins is a media authority on the topic of security and public safety and frequent speaker across the country. For more information, visit: