Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Security in your Home - Part 2, Lighting

Our next layer is lighting. Lighting is our best “deterrent from a distance”. If a house looks well-lit, with an inconvenient lack of shadows and motion sensor lights by each of the entrances, it is more likely to be considered a poor target for intruders. Lighting comes in three essential stages, two of which do not come into play until the burglar is actually in your house, but we will address all the stages here.

Install motion activated floodlights by every entrance. If possible install the light above easy reach, to prevent an intruder from simply unscrewing the light bulb. If that’s not possible, try to find a light with a locking grate over the bulb opening. This will force an intruder to be visible while he tries to enter your home. It also makes it easier for you to get your keys into the lock when you come home at night. Be sure your exterior lights illuminate the "hidden" entry and/or ambush points, like rear doors and windows, walkways, shrubs and garage entries. Keep your bushes trimmed away from your house, to avoid giving an intruder a place to hide while he works. Don't make his job easy for him!

In addition, put a nightlight in the living room area, away from the safe room. This will effectively disable a burglar’s night vision. It will also silhouette the intruder if you come into the room. It has the added benefit of allowing you to see where you are going if you need to get up in the middle of the night. Emergency nightlights with light sensor and "no power" detection are the best choice. Consider putting some of your lights on timers, or installing a FakeTV, to simulate activity when you are not home. If it looks like you are home, burglars are less likely to attempt entry.

Finally, have a flashlight with batteries available at the bedside of everyone in the house to see in the dark. This will allow everyone the ability to see if there is a problem at night, whether it is an emergency or a simple power outage. A stout flashlight can also double as a self defense tool, if necessary. Check the batteries when you check your smoke alarms. LED or crank-powered flashlights last a long time, with very little maintenance.

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