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How to Perform a Home Security Audit

A home security audit is the most effective way to make sure your property is really as safe as you think it is and find ways to tighten up your defenses. The key is being thorough and taking nothing for granted.

If a job's worth doing

Take your time when conducting a home security audit. Start off by writing out a complete list of all the points you need to check. Exactly what these are will depend on your home's layout, but include every possible entry point: doors, windows, outbuildings and garages. Remember that you aren't just looking at points you regularly use, but anywhere a thief could get in, such as a fixed window downstairs that could be smashed.

Once you've got your list, visually inspect each point, and make sure it has suitable protection, such as appropriate locks and bolts. Bear in mind that the less visible a point is to neighbors or passersby, the more likely it is a would-be burglar will try brute force. Don't forget to audit your own behavior, too. Ask yourself if you always keep every door or window locked or if you take any unnecessary risks, such as leaving keys within sight of a door or "hidden" under a welcome mat or another obvious place.

Run your audit twice, once in daylight and once after dark. This may expose some weaknesses you hadn't considered.

Prepare for the worst

Home security isn't just about preventing burglary. It's also about mitigating the damage afterward. Ask yourself what evidence you could pass on to police after a break-in — home security camera footage, for example. Think about how quickly you would discover a break-in, particularly in outbuildings that you might not see when you arrive home after dark. Make a list of valuable items in your home so you can identify what's been stolen.

Child's play

Your kids could be the secret weapon of your home security audit. The next time you leave them alone at home, set up your house as it would normally be, but put some prizes in different locations, and challenge them to retrieve these items. Alternatively, while you're watching TV or working in the kitchen with your doors and windows locked or unlocked as normal, see if your kids can get into the house and retrieve a prize from your lounge or bedroom without you spotting them.

Try this game with older children who are sensible enough to not take any physical risks or damage your property, and keep an eye on them with live camera monitoring. If you want to be extra cautious, have them explain how they could break in rather than actually do it. However you choose to set up the game, it can be a great way to harness your kids' creativity to expose security flaws you'd never have thought of.

A successful home security audit won't only uncover weaknesses but also inspire solutions. Some may be simple, such as planting thorny bushes to deter people from trying to climb up to windows, but most will be more sophisticated and leverage the best technology available.

For more advice on smart home security, contact the experts as Vivint today.