door lock

No matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, you’re always at risk of home invasion. Illegal entry is a real threat all across the country, and that’s why it’s essential you take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your property. In fact, everything you know about home invasions might not be the reality.

Movies and TV like to paint an unreliable picture of what a burglar really does. For example, you’ll see a stereotypical black-clad individual sleuthing around your home at night. In reality, according to the FBI, 60% of burglaries happen during the day. Another alarming statistic is that an average of $2,361 of the property is stolen during a break-in.

So how do you protect your home now that you’re aware of these facts about safety? No matter if you live in a suburb or in the heart of the city, an invasion can happen to you. Keep from becoming just another statistic with these 3 guidelines for home security below.

1. Know the Signs

First, it’s important to know the signs of when your home might be considered a target for invasion. The majority of home invasions are preventable as long as you make the right observations early in the process.

Most burglars don’t randomly choose homes to target. They stake out their neighborhoods in advance, sometimes visiting locations multiple times before they make contact. Here are common signs you might have a burglar in your neighborhood:

    • New Vehicles – There is a suspicious new vehicle parked on your street for an extensive amount of time. This car does not belong to a neighbor and you’ve never seen it before. Many thieves use vehicles with dark windows to stake out a home to see owner’s habits.

 

  • Stranger – While it’s not unusual to see new people wandering through your neighborhood, you should be suspicious if they seem to be eyeing properties or snooping around in places they shouldn’t. Many times these people will pretend to be home service employees like lawn maintenance or electric services. Never invite an uncertified or uninvited workman into your home.
  • Photography – If you catch some taking photos of your home, they might be canvassing your neighborhood. Thanks to smartphones, it can be hard to catch these photos in action.
  • Markers – Finally, some criminals will leave markers on your home to keep track of targets. These could be strings, tape, or anything else that doesn’t feel right. They might leave it on a nearby lamppost, the side of your home, or even the sidewalk.

 

If you see any of these signs above, contact your law enforcement or your local neighborhood watch. There’s a good chance either you or your neighbors are being targeted.

2. Secure Windows and Doors

The right security system will help keep your home safe from intruders. If any activity happens near your door or when the window is opened, law enforcement will be notified and an alarm will be activated. However, you can do more to keep your windows and doors secure.

Always keep your doors and windows locked, even when you’re at home. Make sure to double-check weak areas like the door to your garage or sliding glass doors. You can reinforce sliding doors with a door jam, and the same goes for windows.

Finally, make sure there are no large, unkempt hedges or vegetation near your windows. These are great spots for thieves to hide. Make sure these areas are clear and visible to deter any criminals from lurking around.

home

Image via Pexels

3. Keep Your Habits Private

In this day and age, it’s easy to overshare. You want to keep your habits as private as possible so it’s impossible for thieves to catch on to your home activity. This means never sharing personal information like when you’ll be out of town on social media. In addition, avoid advertising your newest technology and fancy things in your home.

The same goes for your trash. Many criminals will go through your garbage to look for signs of an expensive gadget. This is particularly true around the holidays. If there’s a large computer box outside, for example, criminals will know you have something worthwhile in your home.

Instead, take care to destroy packaging so you can dispose of it discreetly. Never leave big boxes on display outside. If possible, bring your garbage or recycling to a communal area so it’s not directly in front of your home. Your buying habits are nobody’s business.

Keep your home safe by following these tips above. These guidelines shouldn’t be ignored if you want your home to be left alone by potential intruders. When in doubt, join your local crime watch to stay on top of any dangers.

greenhouses

Don’t want the gardening season to end? It doesn’t have to. With  portable greenhouses, you can keep your plants warm and healthy well into the winter. Greenhouse gardening is a great opportunity to eat select vegetables outside of their normal growth season, and it protects your plants from the harsh temperature changes in the winter. Here is a look at how you can extend your gardening season with a winter-friendly greenhouses.

Assess the Site ahead of Time

Before you select a greenhouse for winter, you need to figure out where it is going to be. This is especially true if you have a small yard, patio or balcony with minimal room for a greenhouse. Measure the amount of space you have on the ground, as well as the available height if there are any trees or other structures in the way. Consider how the sunlight will hit the greenhouse throughout the day so you can find a design that accommodates the rays available. If you plan properly, you won’t get your heart set on greenhouses you cannot logically use on your property.

Choosing the Right Winter Greenhouses

There are several types of greenhouses to choose from, depending on the plants you want to grow and how much maintenance you want to have. Perhaps the most popular option is a cool greenhouse, which does not require any heat source. The greenhouse provides areas where plants can get direct sunlight, and they are insulated so that the interior temperatures still stay above 50 degrees in most climates. This is enough warmth to grow beets, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, cilantro, azalea flowers, pansies, and much more.

If you want to grow more than just cool weather plants, you will need a way to heat the greenhouse. Germination mats are commonly used to heat seed trays. These are small heating pads that will provide warmth for the seeds above them. Germination mats will not heat the entire greenhouse, but they can heat specific plants that need warmth to grow.

Another option is to bring an electric space heater into the greenhouse. Most people will use these only at night to save energy and reduce the risk of fire. You must be careful when using an electric heater, especially for a long period of time. You also need to make sure you have a way to power the heater. If you cannot get a power cord to the heater, you will need a different heating option.

You can use a heater powered by fuel, but fuel gets expensive. Some winter greenhouse gardeners create compost trenches in their greenhouses to generate heat naturally. Others put large barrels of water in the corners of the greenhouse because the water will get cold before the air does. Essentially, the water bucket becomes a sponge to absorb the cold and protect the plants. It only changes the overall temperature by a few degrees, but that can make a big difference in the winter months.

Consider all of your options, and you’re sure to find a winter-friendly greenhouse for your garden.