Your home’s perimeter is your first line of defense against criminals in Miami.
Regularly evaluating the outside of your home can go a long way in keeping you, your family, and your belongings safer.
If you’re planning any vacations, now would be a good time to evaluate the strength of your perimeter. However, if you haven’t considered the external security of your home in a while, any time is a good time to relook at it.
Common Entry Tactics Used By Criminals in Miami:
Before we get into what you should look out for when evaluating your home’s perimeter, it helps to be aware of the most common ways criminals attempt to gain access to Miami properties.
Unsecured doors and windows. Unlocked or poorly secured doors and windows are one of the easiest ways for intruders to gain access to your home. It’s these points of entry they will often try first before looking at other options.
Forced entry. Should a door or window be secured, forced entry is generally the next port of call for intruders. Hammers, crowbars, and screwdrivers are often used to force a door or window open. Not only does this mean intruders gain access to your home, but you will be left with property damage too.
Garage entry. Very often, a garage is one of the last things we remember to secure, which is why it’s a prime entry target for criminals in Miami. Most garages are also linked to homes, giving someone direct access. What’s more, an intruder gaining access to your garage also puts your vehicles at risk.
Alarm manipulation. Intruders with technical knowledge may attempt to tamper with your alarm system to gain access to your home. This is also one of the easiest ways for them to walk right in, which is why monitored systems are best. Fortunately, most of today’s alarm systems are advanced, so this isn’t a common occurrence, but it’s not impossible.
Unattended homes. If you regularly spend time between multiple locations or you run an Airbnb, criminals may be able to pick up on this. Automatic light timers can make this less obvious. Ensuring your mail is collected by a family member or neighbor is also important.
Social media monitoring. Having public social media accounts may get you more followers and likes, but it’s also a way for criminals to get a better idea of your plans. Don’t promote any travel plans too openly because you may be putting your home and belongings at risk. It’s also best not to advertise any vacant properties you may be trying to lease or sell. Rather stick to professional real estate sites and ensure the photos are of a furnished home.
Impersonation. Another tactic that’s seen quite regularly is intruders posing as delivery staff or local service providers. There have even been some instances where criminals pose as neighbors. Always verify the identity of anyone who comes onto your property before you consider opening the door. You may even want to contact their company just to be sure.
Distraction. Intruders will sometimes fake an emergency or ask for assistance to gain access to your home. Someone coming to your door saying there has been a car accident is a common distraction. Unfortunately, even though we want to help others, we need to be extra careful. Once you are distracted, a second intruder will enter your home with you being none the wiser. Rather call the authorities whenever possible instead of trying to deal with it yourself.
Security assessment. Believe it or not, people posing as security professionals have also been known to gain regular access to Miami homes. They will often approach you about a free home security assessment to get inside. From there, a simple robbery can turn into a home invasion. Rather call the head office and arrange an assessment for another time. This ensures you can verify that this offer is, in fact, true.
How to Evaluate the Strength of Your Home’s Perimeter:
There are several aspects you need to consider when evaluating your home’s perimeter.
Start by checking the condition of any fencing, walls, or other barriers surrounding your home. You want them to be sturdy and in good condition. Any obvious damage, including broken parts, rot, or rust, should be addressed as soon as possible as this is one of the first things that will keep potential intruders out.
Next, ensure that your gates are functioning as they should. Do all of the locks and latches work correctly? You can also consider adding additional security measures such as smart locks or padlocks to increase security. More on this later.
You may love your garden, but vegetation can be a security risk. Trim any bushes or trees that may serve as a hiding spot for criminals. Pay attention to the plants surrounding your windows too as this can hinder your visibility. Some Miami homeowners even plant thorny plants near windows and fences as a deterrent. This can be an affordable way to prevent intruders from getting too close to your home.
Adequate lighting is essential when it comes to protecting the perimeter of your home. You don’t even need to leave them on all night either, motion-activated lights will save on energy costs while keeping your home secure. Don’t forget to make sure that your home’s entry points are well lit too.
If you already have some security cameras installed, take the time to ensure they’re working correctly. Your cameras should always be installed in strategic locations and cover your driveway and other vulnerable points over and above your entrances. If possible, opt for security cameras that have remote monitoring capabilities. This allows you to keep a closer eye on your home from wherever you are.
Your windows also need to be evaluated during a perimeter assessment. Ensure they can all lock, especially the windows on the ground floor of your home. You may also want to consider adding some security film or reinforced glass for added protection, making your windows harder to break. Lastly, make sure you have blinds or curtains as this will prevent potential intruders from being able to see into your home.
The doors of your home are another key element to analyze. Are your exterior doors still in good condition and do the locks work correctly? If not, you can consider reinforcing your door frames or upgrading to more solid doors altogether. Smart locks and deadbolts are also ideal for enhancing the security of your doors.
An alarm is an excellent deterrent and when linked to a security company, can greatly reduce the risk of personal loss. You may even want to add sensors to your windows and not just your doors. As an extra step, make a point of displaying the fact that you have an alarm by placing a sign or sticker at your door or on your exterior wall.
An accumulation of mail is a clear indicator that someone hasn’t been home for a while. Make sure that you’re not only collecting your mail regularly but that your mailbox is secure. This will prevent important documents, letters, and smaller packages from being stolen. You may also want to consider how you receive packages. Can they be left in a secure place until you get home?
Last, but not least, you want to evaluate your property boundaries. Are they clearly marked? Basically, you want to make sure there aren’t any hidden entry points along your perimeter that could make it easy for criminals to gain access to your Miami property. It’s also important to make sure you aren’t encroaching on your neighbor’s property when you make security adjustments.
As you start making upgrades to your home’s perimeter and external security, keep emergency situations in mind. Will it be easy enough for everyone to get to safety if they need to?
It’s also a good idea to stay informed about the security in your neighborhood by signing up for any online community forums. Maintaining good relationships with your neighbors is always a big help too.
Security Solutions to Consider for Your Home’s Perimeter:
Now that you know what areas need your attention, let’s look at a few solutions that can help you upgrade the perimeter of your Miami home.
Security cameras. Smart cameras with motion detection and mobile alerts are one of the most popular types of security cameras for the outside of homes. Arlo Pro, Nest Cam, and the Ring Stick Up Cam are some top options to consider.
Smart doorbells. Ring and Nest Hello are some of the best smart doorbells. They also have motion detection and mobile alerts, ensuring you know who’s at your door. It also makes it easier to accept deliveries.
Smart locks. Smart locks are much more secure than traditional locks and can’t be tampered with as easily. Keyless entry systems also mean you don’t need to worry about lost or stolen keys. And, because most systems offer mobile access, any deliveries can be left safely inside your home.
Motion-activated lighting. Even though there are numerous options on the market, the Mr Beams Wireless LED Spotlight and Sengled Smart LED Floodlight are two popular choices. These lights will illuminate key areas around your home without wasting energy.
Smart outdoor plugs. If you do spend a fair amount of time away from home or run an Airbnb, smart outdoor plugs will give you greater control of the lighting outside your home. The Kasa Smart Outdoor Plug and the iDevices Outdoor Switch are two options.
Landscape lighting. Landscape lighting works best along pathways, outside of entrances, and in any darker areas of your property. If energy efficiency is important to you, opt for solar-powered lights.
Window security film. If you want to give your windows some added protection by reinforcing them, brands such as 3M Safety and Security and Gila Heat Control Platinum can help.
Fencing. If you do decide to upgrade your fencing, opt for anything with anti-climb features – steel and aluminum are the ideal materials. Installing security spikes or barbed wire where possible can also help keep unwanted visitors out.
Door reinforcement kits. Even though smart locks will enhance the security of your doors, a door reinforcement kit can add an extra layer of protection. StrikeMaster II Pro or the Prime-Line U 10827 Door Reinforcement Lock are two options you can consider.
Drop boxes. If you often receive important mail and smaller packages, consider installing a secure drop box. These boxes usually work with a key, but digital options are also available. Consider a larger drop box if you don’t often have the opportunity to pick up your mail to make it less obvious that you’re not at home.
Security signage. This may seem like a minor upgrade to your security but it can make a difference. Clearly displaying a sticker or sign that indicates you have an alarm system that’s linked to a local security company can do a lot to deter potential intruders.
This list may seem overwhelming at first and naturally, time and money are deciding factors when upgrading the security of your home’s perimeter. However, there’s no need to do everything at once.
Start with your most vulnerable areas and smaller repairs such as rusty brackets or outdated locks and take things from there. Every small change you make takes you one step closer to a more secure home.
A Professional Helping Hand:
At Quickly Locksmith Miami, we would never want you to go it alone when it comes to securing your home – we’re always here to lend a helping hand.
Along with helping you evaluate the perimeter of your home, we can help you plan your upgrades, and provide you with product recommendations based on your requirements.
We have an in-depth understanding of security risks in Miami and how best to secure different types of properties.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements.