The excitement of moving into a new home may cause many necessary steps to be overlooked when it comes to preserving you and your family's safety. Never consider yourself completely moved in until you have done the following:
- Change all locks and inspect doors
You don't know who has copies of your keys. The former owners may swear that they were the only ones to hold copies, but who knows? Someone could have made copies without their knowledge. Many respectable people have less than respectable friends and acquaintances who may have taken advantage of their trust. Change the locks or at least have them re-keyed so that you don't have to wonder who may have access to your home.
This is also the best time to make sure that your doors are all in good working order. Make sure they are up to withstanding a determined assault from someone who has decided that they’re getting through that door. Nothing can keep someone out indefinitely; you are looking for doors that will make it hard for a criminal to get into your house without alerting you or your neighbors.
- Introduce yourselves to your neighbors
People are more likely to look out for the property and possessions of friends and friendly acquaintances. Get to know your neighbors as soon as possible to establish friendly relations with them. You may have introduced yourself when you were first home hunting; now is the time to cement neighborly bonds. Invite your neighbors over for a housewarming barbecue or dinner.
- Repair, replace or install security features
All lights should be in good working order, concealing shrubbery trimmed back, fence repaired or replaced, doors checked for fitting, and security systems installed. Do a walk through and note things that someone bent on entering your home uninvited might use to gain entry. Think like a home invader. Few ideas are ridiculous – home invasions have happened down large chimneys, via trees and large shrubs.
- Inspect windows and glass doors
Do a thorough check of all windows and make sure that they are installed with good locking mechanisms. You may want to go so far as to replace your windows with tougher glass if they are single panes. Some people find they sleep easier with attractive metal grillwork over windows on the lower floors; if that is your choice, choose a manufacturer and installation that treats the grillwork as a home security addition as well as decoration.
Sliding glass doors can be a security nightmare if not properly housed and fitted with locks. Make sure that there are strong locks and anti-lift devices installed. Glass doors that serve as an entrance to the house should have tempered glass and strong housings. Consult a security specialist if you have concerns about glass doors and home security.
Although you've got your mind on moving and getting your family settled in their new home, home security should be a priority. Some time spent making your new home secure will be well worth it, not only for the safety of you, your family and your possessions, but also for the safety of your neighborhood and community by establishing a friendly network among neighbors.