Your Guide to Staying Safe When Strangers Knock
Increase home security, starting at your front door
Did you know that your front door is a vulnerable home security location and one of the most common entries for thieves? It’s also where fraudulent, door-to-door sales often occur. At Alert 360, we know that home security starts with your front door and there are easy steps to reduce your chances of a break-in or front porch crime. These steps include using either your existing home security system or easy security measures all family members can take.
Know the Basics of Front Door Home Security
How vulnerable is your front door? Statistics show that 34% of burglars simply test your doorknob and walk right in or use forced entry. Additionally, most break-ins occur during the daytime. At Alert 360, we believe in being aware and prepared when it comes to increasing your family and home security. Staying safe at home starts at your front door.
All year round, it’s not unusual to see new faces visiting our neighborhoods. Some might even come knocking on your door. Unfortunately, this includes door-to-door salesmen, or potential thieves, looking for opportunities to gain access to your home or bank account. Package thieves who steal deliveries from your front porch are also on the rise.
Put out the Welcome Mat and Consider Home Security Cameras
Your family’s home security planning should include how to stay safe when someone uninvited rings your doorbell or visits your porch. Alert 360 recommends these security tips for increasing front door security, including making the most of your home security cameras:
• Stay aware with a home security camera – Whether you are upstairs or still at work, a home security camera or doorbell camera on your front porch is invaluable. Alert 360’s mobile app will send you notifications when your security cameras detect someone approaching. You can receive video clips, save footage and, with a video doorbell, talk to whoever is visiting, whether or not they ring the bell. Home security cameras, including the doorbell camera, also help prevent package theft and help you know when family members arrive home safely.
• Speak through the door or video doorbell – Never open the door without knowing who’s outside. Look out first, using a peephole ideally, to see who is knocking or use your video doorbell camera and mobile security app from anywhere in your home or away. Also, don’t open the door at all if you don’t have a secondary door or security barrier between you and the person. Don’t rely solely on a door chain unless you’ve beefed up its mounting with longer screws.
• Don’t feel like you have to open the door at all – Even if you don’t open the door, it’s a good idea to let the person know someone is home. Have a loud conversation with another family member that can be overheard. Ask the person to leave information at the door. Instruct young children to never share that they are home alone or to open the door when someone visits.
• Don’t open the door to just anyone – After using a peephole or security camera to identify who’s at your door, ask for an ID. If the person claims to be from a company you do business with, call that company, using a number you already have, to see if it sent a representative. Unfortunately, when your home is protected by a security system, some door-to-door scammers will target your home in order to gain access to your security system or monitoring contract details. Check out our tips to protect yourself from door-to-door scams. Essentially, be wary of someone claiming to represent your alarm monitoring company and asking you to sign a new contract. They might state that your company has been sold or is no longer in business.
• Never share that you are alone or no one is home – Children especially should reference others being home but occupied with an activity (e.g., We can’t open the door right now. My husband and I are painting the kitchen. Please leave a business card….). Remember that the person could be casing your place for a future break in. Never share a schedule for when you’re home or away, and always make your home appear occupied. Overall home security includes using home automation, wireless home security, or energy management services to control smart lighting, appliances, sound systems, etc. If you still have a landline telephone, turn your ringer down, so no one outside can hear repeated rings. Also, review your answering machine message to make sure it does not imply you are away.
• Consider smart locks and keyless entry – Maybe you or a child forgot to lock a door or need access and forgot a key? Smart locks and keyless entry options can lend a hand and ensure doors are secure. Using your home security system’s mobile app, it’s easy to remotely lock or unlock a door for family or friends. At Alert 360, we also offer handy remote garage door options.
• Be alert and prepared with smart home security – One of the best prevention measures is simply being aware and prepared. Don’t open the door if distracted or with no plan for if you feel uneasy and the situation takes a bad turn. Not everyone is a “bad guy,” but you never know. It’s good to have a healthy dose of suspicion. Above all else, when it comes to protecting your family and home, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to be impolite.
• Include children in home security planning – Most important, review your front door security rules and overall home security plan with any children who stay home alone.
Increase Home Security in your Neighborhood
Neighbors who share information and stay aware of usual and unusual activity in their area can help prevent home break-ins and theft. Consider a Neighborhood Watch program, plan a National Night Out event (we offer tips to help here), or consider a neighborhood app, such as Nextdoor. If you are an Alert 360 customer, report suspicious activity if someone tries to access your home security system, claims they bought your security provider, or forces you into a new contract.
Take these steps to increase home security and to ensure friends, family and invited guests are always welcome … but crime is not.
A local Alert 360 home security provider can help. Alert 360 offers nearly 50 years of experience providing professional installation of home and business security systems, along with award-winning, 24/7 alarm monitoring. We have home security packages specials and of course, we always build a security system to your specific needs. To learn more about your home security options, visit Alert360.com or find a local security branch near you.
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