When you think about home security systems, you probably start by focusing on the indoor components. You’re concerned about things like motion detectors, door and window monitors, and home security cameras. The fact of the matter is, however, that your home security efforts should really start outside of the home – in your yard and driveway.
You see, the yard is your first line of defense against a burglar. You may not realize it, but most burglaries aren’t planned out that far in advance. They’re most often opportunistic. A burglar will identify what seems to be a safe and simple target. If the home turns out to be risky – such as is usually the case when you have a home security system – the burglar will simply choose another target.
So, how do you protect your yard? There are a number of steps you can take in order to secure your home, starting outside:
- Install home security signs. A small yet visible home security sign will, in many cases, deter crimes of opportunity. The sign doesn’t need to be gaudy or an eyesore, but it does need to be visible.
- Keep a clear view of the home from the street. Your trees, hedges, and shrubs shouldn’t obscure your home from view entirely. Your neighbors and passers-by should be able to at least see your home. Burglars aren’t likely to try to break in through your living room window if it can be seen from across the street. You’ll sacrifice a little bit of privacy for an important part of home security protection.
- Keep the yard trimmed. An overgrown lawn can send a signal to a burglar that you’ve been out of town.
- Limit shed and garage access. Many folks invest significant resources in home security, only to leave thousands of dollars worth of yard equipment in a padlocked shed that’s unattached to the house. Instead of a simply padlock, consider stronger security measures for your shed. In some cases, providing a fence around the shed may be beneficial, and adds another layer of deterrence.
- Don’t advertise major purchases. If you leave the box to your new LCD TV sitting out at the curb for the trash man overnight, a burglar could easily put your home on his list of potential targets. Make sure to obscure any packaging or trash that might send a signal that there are objects of significant value in the home.
- Talk to your neighbors. The best supplemental home security system is aware neighbors. You don’t want them staring at your home 24/7, of course, but they can let you know if they happen to see anything suspicious going on.