Protecting Your Log Home from Intruders
It doesn’t matter where you live, what type of home you live in or who you are, no one is immune to home invasions. And when it comes to the people who perpetuate these crimes, some are brazen enough to break into homes in broad daylight. More and more people are investing in home security systems and perhaps that is a direct result of crimes that are on the rise. According to ABC News, violent crimes in 2013 rose by 15% and property crimes rose by 12%. ABC News covered a story involving a forced home invasion in Houston, Texas that took place in October of 2013 where four men forced their way into an occupied home at 8 a.m. They demanded money, ransacked the home and left with some cash and a homeowner’s cell phone—fortunately the 2 adults and 2 young children were unharmed. The FBI points out that a home burglary takes place every 12 seconds; only 17% of homes have installed security systems and 90% of home burglaries take place by people who are not professional thieves! With all that being said, you might be interested in ways in which you can fortify your log-home so you can be that much more protected from intruders who would be very willing to invade your personal and private space and not give it a second thought.
Ask Someone To House-sit
If you are going to be gone for a prolonged period of time, having someone temporarily live in your home is the next-best thing to your being there, yourself. Chances are more likely an intruder who is searching to steal items of value will choose to target a home in a neighborhood where the lights are out and no signs of activity are apparent. Most intruders don’t want a confrontation; and when no one is home, an intruder has the whole house to himself—without any interruptions!
Don’t Overlook Your Mail and Newspapers
It takes only a few days for unclaimed mail to really begin to pile up in a mailbox; and days’ worth of newspapers on your front step is a dead give-away that no one has been home for a while. This is all the visual a burglar needs to put 2 and 2 together and take the chance that just maybe, that homeowner won’t be home that evening, as well. Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail, packages and newspapers or you can have your mail held by the Post Office; and the request can be performed on-line at: holdmail.usps.com/hold
Let Your Windows Do Some Talking
Windows are the most-used access into a home by intruders; and this makes sense since they are easier to manipulate than most doors. Because of that, windows should—at the very least—have a functioning lock but it’s wise to go beyond just having a simple lock in place. If you are adding new windows to your log-home, you might want to consider windows that are equipped with wireless sensors within the locking mechanism. This same type of window-alert system is found in sliding glass doors and French patio doors, as well; and any unauthorized movement of doors or windows will release a screaming sound and keep intruders at bay! There is another, less expensive option, and that would be window alarm-kits you can purchase on-line or at hardware or building supply outlets. You can spend as little as $20.00 for an alarm kit that includes a door alarm with a 4-digit keypad and three independent window alarms. You don’t need to wire or drill anything; and each alarm emits an attention-grabbing 120-decible alert. A system this inexpensive will even offer a chime mode that will sound each time a door or window is opened and not in “alarm” mode.
Keep Vacation Plans on “Silent Mode”
It’s hard not to want to share your excitement on Facebook and other social media outlets to let the world know you’ll be spending two weeks in the Bahamas. That kind of excitement can turn into exasperation if you return home only to find your lovely log-home has been looted. Yikes! Wait until you get back home before sharing all the photos and details of your trip because there could be far more people “interested” in your plans than you might realize. If any questionable character knows you’ll be gone for a week or two, then the valuables in your home have just become a delightful ‘smorgasbord’ for an intruder who knows he has all the time in the world.
Trim your Landscape
Make sure any bushes or hedges near your home are trimmed at low levels. After-all, intruders relish anything than can provide a cover; and oversized plants will do just that. Also, if your neighbors know you will be out of town and you have asked them to keep watch on your property from time to time, they will have a much easier time viewing your home if plantings are low.
Timers for your lights and TVs are super easy to use and though this simple protective measure may seem like a negligible thing to do to keep intruders out of your home, every little piece of intervention makes a difference! If lights in an unoccupied home are always on in the same spot, night after night, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s probably a decoy to make it look like someone is at home when that is actually not the case. Timers, of course, will allow lights and TVs to come on at random times to give the impression someone is at home. if your home has a walk-out lower-level, you will want to make sure a motion-sensitive floodlight turns on, as well, since illegal entry into homes often takes place in the rear of the home due to less visibility by others in the neighborhood.
Use Motion-Sensor Lighting
We all know about motion-sensor lighting on the outside of homes, but let’s face it, no intruder loves light of any kind. Chances are good that if your front porch or backyard were to light up like a Christmas tree if a would-be burglar were to step foot on your property, he would be hitting the pavement rather quickly. Don’t allow your home to be the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ by becoming ‘easy pickings’—even the little proactive steps you take make your home and family that much more protected.
Choose the Best Locks
Though it may seem extreme, keep your windows and doors locked at all times—even if you are at home! Intruders don’t skip daylight hours to invade homes—some are very brazen and calloused and would not think twice to come through your door or window whether it’s 8:00 in the morning, noon or 3:00 in the afternoon. The best choice of locks would be deadbolt locks with a minimum of a one-inch ‘throw’ (or bolt) on every exterior door including any garage door that would lead into the home. When it comes to glass sliders, an easy way to bolster any sliding patio door is to insert a wooden or steel bar on the lower slide track to prevent the door from opening even if an intruder were to break the glass by the inside lock and attempt to reach in and unlock it. According to FBI statistics, more than 60% of burglars will use forced entry which means your locks should all be ‘Grade-1’ deadbolts! Grade-1 locks are the most difficult to manipulate and they rank the highest in terms of function and structural integrity. It’s a bit disturbing when one realizes that Consumer Reports discovered that a number of brand-name deadbolt locks were no match for a simple power-drill where, in under 2 minutes, the locks’ cylinders were completely compromised. ‘Grade-1’ deadbolts will have hardened cylinders not to mention that vertical, or surface-mounted deadbolts, have throws that become engaged via interlocking with a set of cast-metal rings secured to the frame of the door. The rings that surround the bolt of this type of lock are virtually pry-proof, unlike horizontal dead-bolt locks.
Block Your Windows
Any windows or doors should be equipped with shades or draperies that can be adjusted to let in light but capable, too, of completely eliminating the ability of anyone on the outside to peer in. If a would-be intruder were to use binoculars to peer into your windows and noticed no signs of life, it would encourage and invite an unwelcome visit. While away from home, blocked windows and doors should accompany a TV or stereo that is turned on to give the impression someone is at home—again, every bit of prevention adds up to a well-protected home!
Utilize A Home-Security System
Anymore, security systems are incredibly advanced and will allow families to be anywhere in the world and monitor their home at any time. If an intrusion were to take place, an immediate alert would be sent to chosen electronic devices, including one’s cell phone, and the homeowner would be able to engage all interior and exterior lights, even while a break-in is taking place! Chances are, an intruder or intruders wouldn’t stick around long enough to figure out what just happened! Additionally, security cameras can ‘observe’ the interior and exterior of your home with impressive functions including pan, tilt, zoom and even the ability to ‘see’ in the dark! If you want to go one step further, motion-detectors with laser beams can be placed near any room one wishes. The amenities available through sophisticated home-security systems are nothing short of remarkable! It’s unfortunate home-security measures have to be utilized at all, but when FBI reports tell us that home burglaries take place every 15 seconds in the United States and that at least 2 million homes are burglarized each year, taking measures to safeguard our families should be given top priority. And here’s one more suggestion to keep your home a bit more ‘burglar proof’: keep a heavy-duty dog chain/leash attached to a front and/or back-door area. If an intruder thinks a large dog might be inside, he’ll very well look elsewhere!