Take The Home Security Survey
Think Like A Burglar
Take this home security survey to assess the security of your home. It should take you about 30 minutes to complete. As you answer each question, think like a burglar. Think about what you would look for when targeting a house. Basically…How would you get in?
This home security survey will point out common weaknesses frequently overlooked by people when it comes to protecting their home
These weaknesses are exactly what burglars, thieves and criminals look for. It will also help you to start thinking about what diy home security measures you can implement to make your home safer and less of a target.
Of course, not everything in the survey will apply to your current situation. You’ll also find an easy-to-follow home safety checklist that you can print out.
Home Perimeter & Home Exterior
Begin the home security survey by taking a good look at your home from the street. Walk around your home’s entire perimeter and notice everything you can about its exterior.
1. Well maintained and lived in.
- Does the house look well maintained?
- Does it look like someone lives there and is home most of the time?
- Is the grass cut and is the snow removed on a regular basis? Are the newspapers and the mail collected every day?
- Do all the exterior lights work?
- Are there any cracked or broken windowpanes?
- Do the exterior doors and gates look sturdy?
- Are they kept closed at all times?
- In a nutshell, does the exterior of the home look neat and tidy?
2. Trees and shrubs.
- Are the trees and shrubs on your property well trimmed?
- Can they be used as a hiding place by a burglar?
- Do any of the trees and shrubs closest to your home hide the doors and the windows?
- Are your windows and doorways highly visible from the street?
3. Upper level of the house.
- Is there a way for an intruder to climb to the upper level of your home?
- Do you keep your ladder carelessly lying around the yard instead of being locked away in your shed or garage?
- Do you have a drainpipe running vertically up the side of your house that can give a burglar climbing access to the upper level of your home?
- If there are trees growing near your windows, have you cut off the lower branches of the trees making it impossible for someone to climb?
- Do you have a fence around the perimeter of your property with a solid gate?
4. Well lit up and highly visible exterior.
- Does your home have enough outdoor lights to provide ample illumination for all the doors and windows?
- Are your exterior lights controlled by a photoelectric cell instead of a manual switch.
The photoelectric cell sensor (outlined in red) senses the absence of light, and allows the lights to automatically turn on when it gets dark.
- Are the light fixtures themselves fitted with movement sensors that allow the lights to light up when someone approaches the house?
The movement sensor can be adjusted to cover a large or small area depending on your needs.
your address numbers at least 4-6 inches tall allowing the police, the
fire department and medical services to easily see them from the street?
5. Exterior points of access.
- If your home has exterior utility boxes (for cable, telephone, and electricity), are the utility boxes locked to prevent people from tampering with them?
- If your property is fenced off, is the gate locked at all times?
- Do you keep your storage shed locked when you’re not using it?
Sliding Patio Doors
A good home security survey should also consider your patio doors, which
usually offer little in the form of security and are a favorite entry
point for intruders.
6. Patio door access.
- Can your patio doors be lifted off the bottom track from the outside?
- Do your patio doors have security bars (commonly known as “Charlie Bars”) across the middle making it impossible for someone to slide them opened from the outside?
- When you shake the doors, is the manufacturer installed locking mechanism flimsy and weak?
- Do your patio doors have wire mesh embedded in the windowpanes?
- Are your sliding patio doors locked when not in use?
Exterior Entrance Doors
Now use the home security survey to examine your doors. The exterior doors of your home are the barrier between your family’s safety and the outside world.
7. Strong and durable.
- Are your exterior entrance doors strong and durable enough to withstand a forced entry?
- Are they made of solid wood that is at least 1¾ inch thick? Or, are they made of encased metal that has a minimum thickness of gauge 24?
- Are the door frames solid enough to withstand the force of a powerful blow?
- Can the door hinges be removed from the outside?
8. Secure locks.
- Do the exterior doors have solid, double cylinder locks (locks that open with a key from the inside as well as the outside)?
- Do the locks themselves (their internal mechanisms, and their metal housings) have a lot of play when their locking pins are fully extended?
- Do the locks have solid plates (the plate that is installed on the door frame and receives the locking pin from the lock)?
- Are the plates fixed to the door frames with 3-inch screws?
- Are the plates made of metal and strong enough to withstand a direct kick or a powerful blow?
- Are the doors fitted with wide-angle door viewers making it easy to see who it is
before opening the door?
- Do any of the
doors have windows, mail slots, or pet entrances, within 40 inches
(approximately arm’s length) of the locks?
a would-be intruder peep through a mail slot and look directly into
your home, or do the mail slots have fixed covers on the interior to
safeguard against this invasion of privacy?
- Are the exterior entrance doors fitted an intercom system?
- Are the doors kept locked even when your home?
Whether your garage is a stand-alone structure or is attached to your home, it should be included in your home security survey. Its contents are items of value and a usual target for burglars and thieves.
- Is there a lock on your garage door (if you don’t have a garage door opener installed)?
- Do you keep the garage door locked even when you’re home?
- Are the windows of the garage textured, frosted, or blocked off so no one call look in?
- Do you remove the keys from the vehicle when you park in the garage?
Windows are another favorite point of entry for burglars and intruders. Basement windows are especially targeted. The closer they are to the ground, the easier it is to access them. Use the home security survey to assess your window security.
10. Home window security.
- Are your basement windows fitted with window security bars or security grills.
- Are they for decoration purposes or are they designed and solid enough to keep out intruders?
- Do your windows have security pins or window locks installed?
- Do you remember to lock the window in place even when you open it only a few inches for room ventilation?
- Is your window-mounted air conditioner securely fixed to the window frame making it difficult to remove from the outside?
- When you are not home, are the windows covered (with curtains, or verticals, or horizontals, etc) so as to prevent anyone from looking in?
Not all home alarm systems are created equal. Today’s home security alarms are as diverse as the options they offer. The home security survey allows you to examine security alarm basics. The minimum of what you should have when it comes to a home alarm system.
11. Home alarm systems.
- Does your home have an alarm system installed?
- Does an alarm company monitor your alarm?
- Does the alarm company have a home security monitoring central station?
- Does your alarm system have a back up battery supply in case of a power failure?
- Does your alarm system have a back up cellular telephone in case of telephone line failure?
Recommended: Best Home Security System Setups, The Ultimate Guide
Away From Home
The final part of the home security survey focuses on what to do if you plan to be away from your home for a number of days. Criminals prefer breaking into empty homes. They look for telltale signs that show that a house is empty, and that its occupants have been away for a while. Use the home security survey to assess your home’s security when you’re not there.
12. When you’re not home.
- If you plan to be away from home for a short while, is there someone who will routinely pick up the mail for you?
- Have you arranged for the grass to be cut or the snow to be removed on a regular basis?
- Have you provided friends and family with emergency telephone numbers where you can be reached?
- Have you installed timers to automatically turns the lights on in the evening?
- Do trusted friends and neighbors know when you will be leaving and when you will be returning so they can keep an eye on your home while your gone?
- Have you provided a trusted family member with a key to your home in the event of an emergency?
Home Safety Checklist
The above survey is also available to you as an easy-to-follow home safety checklist that you can print out.
Click on this link to see the home safety checklist.