Home security in a low-crime world, for security-minded people
June 30, 2014 10:50 AM Subscribe
DH and I will be moving from an upper-floor apartment in a moderate-crime neighborhood of a big city to a single family house in a low-crime (and to be frank) affluent suburb. We're having a little trouble translating our expectations about home security. What is a reasonable level of home security to aim for when the burglary rate is 1/10th of where we're coming from? How safe can you get when you've got glass panes in your door, and windows everywhere? Can you help us sort this out?
posted by 5845(f)(1)(D) to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Right now we rent on an upper floor in a small building. Our locks suck and there are signs of pry bars on our door frames (it's a metal door and frame, but I'm pretty sure even I could kick the deadbolts out of the frame). There are no alarms, and safety is pretty lax overall, and our neighbors are careless. All the same, the fact that we're 40 feet in the air and there are neighbors who share our hallways has made us feel more or less safe (knock on wood for continued good fortune!).
Very soon we're moving to our first home, and we feel very lucky--but it's a lot different living from what we're used to. DH has only ever lived in apartments in cities. I grew up in a house, but have spent the past few decades living in somewhat sketchy neighborhoods. It's what we're used to. Having a house will be a very new experience for us. Usually the story goes the other way: suburbanites move downtown and freak out in their new city neighborhood, even though it's pretty safe. We're moving from our mostly safe downtown digs to a really safe suburb, and kinda freaking because we have windows on the first floor for the first time.
Can you help us re-calibrate our sense of security? On the one hand, the rate of burglaries is literally 1/10 of where we are now. But we've never had living space on the first floor before. Our house is the smallest on the block (and it's a block where most of the houses are considerably over $1M), and it doesn't look like much in comparison, but there are sliding doors in the back and little basement windows, and regular windows you could climb through etc. I don't know the quality of the locks, but, on some level, what difference does it make whether you have a cheapo lock versus a Medeco (or better) if there are panes of glass in your door that someone could just break and unlock the deadbolts?
The house is wired for an alarm company, and DH will change the door locks (who knows who has a key?) and put in long screws for door hardware, we'll change the garage door code, and we'll make sure there are braces or something to try to stop someone opening the sliding doors. And we'll make friends with the neighbors! We're probably not getting a dog yet, but might in the future. DH would love security cameras.
1) if you moved away from the "known unknowns" of the city to the "unknown unknowns" of the burbs, how did you get comfortable with your new surroundings (first floor windows, woods nearby, car not in drive=not home, etc.).
2) We like nesting and will install some security upgrades to make our first home be as safe as we want it to be, and we will have an alarm and maybe a dog someday. But where is the point of diminishing returns? Why buy a bump-proof lock if someone can just break a window?