Protecting Your Log Home From Intruders
Always Assume You Are A Target!
Your log home is, more than likely, the biggest financial investment you have made so far in your lifetime. Maintaining it, like any traditional home, requires a concerted effort to make sure it remains in pristine condition. When building a log-home, insightful buyers are aware of any number of proactive measures that need to be taken to keep problems at bay such as using generous roof overhangs to protect the wood against the elements or to avoid using wood mulch that would encourage termites and other insects, etc. Being proactive to eliminate potential structural problems is crucial, but what about protecting your home from the possibility of intruders?
You may find these statistics quite alarming: in a 2012 FBI report, it was being predicted that during that year, 1 in every 36 homes would probably end up being burglarized, averaging out to a $2,230.00 loss per break-in. Fast forward to today and we learn more from the FBI that states 1) in the U.S., a home burglary takes place every 13 seconds 2) only 17% of homes have a security system 3) almost 90% of break-ins are committed by non-professionals and 4) only about 13% of reported burglaries are solved due lack of information or evidence. How’s that to get one’s defensive juices flowing?
You don’t want your log-home to be the ‘lowest-hanging fruit’ on the tree by being offered as an easy target; but, fortunately, there are a number of things you most definitely can do to protect your home and your family from intruders. There is no magic bullet that acts as a 100% , all-protection, all-the-time solution, but taking as many steps as possible to fortify your home will give you peace of mind and minimize the chances that you and your family will be part of another statistic.
1: Install A Home-Security System:
Technologically-advanced security systems allow home owners to monitor and operate the security systems via a smartphone, tablet or other devices. Some advanced systems utilize outside and inside surveillance cameras with exceptional capabilities including pan, tilt, zoom and even the ability to “see” in the dark. Even the most basic security systems include having alarms on all doors and windows as well as at least one motion-detector that is usually placed near the master bedroom which, statistically, receives the dubious honor of being the most ‘popular’ location for intruders to rummage through once they enter a home. Not only would alerts be immediately transferred to local authorities but homeowners would be immediately alerted via their designated electronic device. If an intruder were in one’s home, the home owner—being alerted-- would have the option of turning on all the lights, inside and out, via a cell phone! Chances are, any surprised intruder would not stick around very long.
2: Block The View:
Make it difficult for an intruder to look into your home by installing window and door shades that prevent any peering in. When you are away, even for a few hours, leave window coverings down to keep an intruder guessing as to whether or not someone is home. In addition to blocked windows, keep a radio or TV turned on to give the impression someone is inside.
3: Fortify the Locks:
Make sure ALL windows and doors have a functioning lock and see to it that all windows on the lowest level, especially, are securely locked while the house is empty, during any sleep time and when windows are not in a raised position. Keep doors and windows locked even while you are at home during daylight since burglaries and intrusions are not limited to nighttime activity. Keep your garage door down at all times, as well. Anyone driving by your home who might scan the contents of your garage could come back if valuables are evident.
Use dead-bolt locks with at least a one-inch throw on all your exterior doors; and this would include the door leading from the garage to the interior of your home. If you have a sliding glass door anywhere, place a wooden dowel in the bottom frame to prevent the door from moving even if one were to break the glass and reach in to unlock the door from the inside.
The FBI, again, states that 61% of burglars will use force to gain entry. Your log-home’s security can be strengthened by installing a locking system that falls under the category of a ‘Grade 1’ deadbolt. Consumer Reports tested a variety of well-known dead-bolt locks and discovered that with the use of a standard cordless drill, most dead-bolt locks were overpowered; and the drills were able to drill out cylinders in under 2 minutes! High-security locks have hardened cylinders, unique pin configurations and other defensive features. ‘Grade 1’ locks are the most challenging to disable so make sure your locks are of that caliber!
4: Install Timers:
Giving the impression you are home, even when you are not, is wise and surprisingly easy! Simply install timers to your lights, stereo system or TVs so they will go on and off at random intervals.
Since the back of a home is a preferred spot for intruders, keep one or more timed lamps in that area of the home, especially if a walk-out basement is part of the home’s design. Also ,installing a flood light in the back of your home isn’t going to provide a welcoming feel for too many thieves—after-all, darkness, for the most part, is what they seek.
5: Use Motion-sensor Lighting:
Any intruder is going to want to remain as inconspicuous as possible and the thought of being seen due to a motion-sensor light outside could be enough to make him or her look elsewhere. Motion-detector lighting is not expensive nor is it difficult to install and will provide a homeowner with that much more peace of mind!
6: Keep Landscaping Low:
Make sure any bushes on your property are pruned at a low level so intruders are not able to hide among them to peer into or attempt to enter through your windows. This also helps any astute neighbors to view your yard more easily if they know your house will be vacant for any period of time.
7: Be Aware of Things You Wouldn’t Expect:
No one would willingly invite an intruder into their home, but if you’ve been cleaning out your log-home’s gutters, for example, and used a ladder to get the job done, make sure that ladder is put away, immediately. If left out, even for a few hours while you are away, there are enough bold and brazen people who would use it to determine whether or not your upper level windows might be unlocked and accessible.
Here’s another way unsuspecting homeowners can alert intruders: posting vacation pictures on social media sites while they are in a tropical paradise or on a cruise! Wait until you get your feet back on home turf before photos and written messages are sent out and shared. Even among friends, family members or acquaintances, there can be a thief among them whom one might never suspect! Also, don’t change your voicemail indicating, in any way, that you will be out of town.
8: Utilize ‘Smart’ Windows:
Technology is certainly amazing in countless ways and it isn’t a newcomer to security products such as ‘smart windows’. Smart windows are equipped with wireless sensors within the locking mechanisms of not only windows but sliding patio doors and French patio doors. Though not all smart windows are part of an entire security system, they still offer quite a deterrent for any intruder since an opened window or door that shouldn’t be opened will result in a piercing alarm.
A less expensive option would include window alarm kits that can be purchased at home building-supply stores, hardware stores and on-line for under $10.00! It’s a simple matter of attaching the two magnetic pieces to each door or window that will be monitored. When the contact is broken, a very uncomfortable 120dB alarm is emitted. A low-battery signal will indicate when new batteries are needed—definitely a good addition to your home if a more expensive alarm system isn’t an option at the moment.
9: Confide in Someone You Trust:
Allowing your mailbox to appear stuffed or your front door area to collect a week’s worth of daily newspapers is like posting a sign out front that says: “We’re gone and won’t be here if you choose to break into our home!” Ask a reliable neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and newspapers as well as pick up any packages that might arrive. If you‘ll be gone for a couple weeks, you might want to have someone mow your lawn as well. This will tell possible intruders that someone is probably at home even if you’re not. If you would rather not assign someone to pick up your mail or newspapers, have your mail held while you are away. You can sign up online at holdmail.usps.com/hold
10: Have Someone House-sit!
If you will be gone for a prolonged period of time, ask a dependable person to house-sit. An intruder will choose a vacant home over one that is lived in, so with signs of life in your home that will become evident, you stand a much better chance that intruders will look for an easier target.
As a log-home owner, you don’t have to turn your cherished space into Fort Knox, but common sense combined with proactive deterrents can decrease the chances of a break-in and increase your and your family’s safety and peace of mind!