Those who take pride in the appearance of their home often don't consider the detrimental effect that these improvements could potentially have on their home security. In fact, many of the most common upgrades actually make your home easier to break into. While this isn't reason to avoid them entirely, you should be aware of the possibility so that you can strengthen your security lighting and otherwise protect these vulnerable areas of your home. Here are the top five features that may harm your home security:
1. Landscaping. Large, healthy bushes and trees may make your yard a lot more beautiful, but they also make it more attractive for burglars. This is particularly true if your landscaping continues right up to the side of your house. Burglars trying to break in through a window would much prefer to do so if a large bush is shielding them from being seen from the street. It is also possible for large trees to provide a way for thieves to climb up to the second story, where you may be less diligent about closing or locking your windows.
2. Sliding glass doors. These may give you a beautiful view of your backyard, but they are one of the weakest points of the home when it comes to security. In addition to being easily smashed by a determined thief, if not installed correctly, they could even be lifted right off the track. Always use a safety bar in the track to keep the door from being opened by uninvited visitors, and install a motion detector or glass smash alarm as part of your security system.
3. A tall fence. Often, homeowners install fencing because it helps them feel more secure. However, a big fence around the perimeter of your yard actually makes it more attractive for thieves, who like the privacy while they're breaking in. It also makes criminals feel more secure spending a lot of time in the home and in your yard, where you might be storing valuable tools and equipment. Having a fence up for privacy can be a nice addition to your home, but it also makes your home less secure. To mitigate the threat, install security lighting or outdoor surveillance cameras, and consider opting for a lower fence or a perimeter of trees.
4. Attached garages. This may seem like a commonplace home feature, but in fact a garage attached to the home gives an intruder time to figure out a way inside the rest of the house while they are shielded inside the garage. Plus, the garage itself may have lots of valuable items to steal, such as tools or even a car. Entries into the garage, and from the garage into the home, tend to be the least protected of all of your home's exterior doors. Don't overlook the garage when thinking about home security. Install durable doors and locks, and protect your garage with alarms and cameras, just like the rest of the house.
5. Panes of glass in the front door. These decorative features add to the appeal of your home's front entrance, but they can also turn what is normally the most secure entry point into one of the least secure. This is particularly true if the pane of glass is low enough in the door that once smashed, an arm can be reached through to unlock the door. Instead, make sure you have a peephole installed, rather than using a window in the door to see who's knocking.