Can somebody help me decide if my house is as safe as it should be?

Any form of home security is helpful, but if you'd like to know just how secure your home is, have it inspected.
How safe you feel at home is really a matter of personal opinion. Some people might feel totally secure with a simple dead-bolt lock on the front door, whereas others might still be nervous with a full-blown home security system-video surveillance, motion detection...the works. However, if you'd like to have a better understanding of just how secure your home is, it's best to get a second opinion.

Who does the inspection?
You can do much of a home security inspection yourself. By simply walking through your home and checking the security devices you already have, you can get a good idea of the areas that could use a little beefing up. But to get an all-around, third-person perspective of your home and how secure it is, a professional security inspector is just the person to put to work. Their job is not to tell you that your home is as safe as the White House. But you can trust their advice as if a burglar was telling you how he was planning on breaking in, and the steps you could take to prevent that from happening. There are companies that specialize in evaluating home security, and they're typically quick at what they do and not very expensive. But if you're looking for free advice, there are a couple options as well. If a security company sends someone out to give yourhome a free inspection, it can give you some good insight. However, since they're also trying to sell you their system and service, it's wise to take what they say with a grain of salt. Another way you may be able to get a free inspection is by asking your local police department. And since many police officers have heard it all, their advice can be invaluable.

What's evaluated?
Naturally, the first areas a home security expert will check are your doors and windows. Do they close and lock tightly? Are there any loose parts? Are they currently monitored with any kind of sensor or beeper? But that's just the beginning. The inspector will also scrutinize your basement and attic access, unmonitored open areas, and your garage. Other things that are inspected that you might not consider as a do-it-yourselfer and often are the most problematic - include your lighting, your landscaping, and even your house numbers. An inspector might also consider your home's position on the block, area within the neighborhood, burglary rates within a certain distance...yes, it can get very detailed, but it's all worth knowing in the long run.

More than security, it's very important to keep something in mind if you choose to hire someone to evaluate your home's security. A professional inspector is going to look at your home as objectively as possible, making observations on areas that could be improved for added security. Whether or not you make those improvements is strictly up to you. And if you do make improvements, it's not about turning your home into a fallout shelter with an impenetrable shield. It's about one thing and one thing only: your peace of mind. You can find professional home inspectors in your area on

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