When it comes relocating, the process of moving is hard enough. Whether leasing a new apartment or purchasing a new brownstone, there are hundreds of little details to be taken care along the way. But before you know it, life will get back to normal. And when it does, you want the transition to the everyday use of your new home’s keys, locks, doors, and windows to be smooth, safe and hassle-free. Use this five-point move-in security check, from the experienced experts at Paragon, to make your move a security success:
1. LOCK CHECK
- LOCK CHANGE- This is a must-do for every new tenant or homeowner. A properly locked door is your first line of defense against unwanted intruders, so it is essential to be proactive in replacing locks when moving to a new place. To mitigate the risk of unaccounted keys and to feel fully safe and secure in your new home, have all entry door locks changed by a qualified professional locksmith. This minor expense ensures proper installation and maximum protection to your family and your valuable belongings.
- KEYS- Often times, apartment managers rotate old door locks between apartments with no regard to unreturned or missing keys. Even if your landlord says the locks have been changed, that does not necessarily mean they were replaced with new locks or that you are the only key holder. Don’t risk somebody being able to return to your apartment with an old key. Verify that your door locks are new, for peace of mind that you are the only keeper of the keys to your home.
- DEADBOLT- To reinforce the security of your new home, deadbolts should be used in conjunction with keyed entry locks on all exterior doors. Doorknob locks by themselves are not enough. Deadbolts add a layer of security by reinforcing your standard doorknob lock. It is always best to work with a certified locksmith expert to determine the grade and type of deadbolt that will best meet your needs.
2. DOOR CHECK
The easiest way for an intruder to enter your house is through the door. All of your efforts to protect your home, including an electronic home security system, are useless if your entry door is not strong and secure. Having a good door system in place is key to providing adequate protection. When doors fail, it is usually in these three areas:
- DOOR TYPE- Check your door and door frame. A lot of homes in New York City have really old wood doors. They can be attractive, add a nice atmosphere to a home and look sturdy. However, they can also be experiencing wood rot, have lock problems and be an easy target for criminals. Entry doors should be solid core wood (at least 1 3/4″ thick) or metal wrapped. Your door should fit it’s frame tightly, with no more than 1/8″ clearance between the door and the frame. Check all wooden parts of the door and door frame, including the threshold, door jamb, and trim. Make sure there are no soft, spongy areas. With a wide range of residential doors from solid wood doors to steel security doors or metal calamine fire proof doors available nowadays, there is a door to meet every safety and security need for your new home.
- STRIKE PLATE- The strike plate is a metal plate affixed to the door jamb with a hole or holes for the bolt of the door. When the door is closed, the bolt extends into the hole in the strike plate and holds the door closed. A weak, failing or poorly installed strike plate can leave you at risk. To check your strike plate, open the door and examine the strike plate for signs of disrepair. Look to see if the strike plate is securely fastened to the door jamb with four screws. If it is only secured with two screws, you want to upgrade to a four-screw strike plate. With this, you should use 3-inch screws to install, in order to bite all the way into the stud behind the door jamb.
- HINGES- The door hinge is what attaches the door to the frame. It is jointed and pivots as the door opens and closes. Door hinges are only as strong as the screws used to install them. To increase the security of your entry door, replace the standard 3/4″screw with 2″ to 3″ fully threaded screws. By using 2″ to 3″ fully threaded screws, you will anchor the hinge into the sub-frame of your door, protecting you and your family from door kick-ins. Hinge pins that are exterior facing or exposed to the outside need immediate attention. If your entry door swings outward, check if your hinge pins are exposed. Intruders can remove the pins from the outside and gain entry by taking the door off the hinges. Ask a qualified security expert to examine your hinges and strike plates to ensure that you are fully secure.
3. WINDOW CHECK
- WINDOW LOCKS– Window locks keep intruders from gaining easy access to your residence, especially if your window is on the ground level. Treat all windows as potential entry points, and make sure all window locks are working properly. One of the best burglar deterrents when it comes to windows is a hefty window lock that is visible from the outside. Window pin locks are a simple, affordable yet highly effective burglar deterrent.
- WINDOW ALARMS- From a simple window sensor alarm to full-service dynamic home protection, there are a variety of window alarms on the market today. In the city, window sensors are an essential part of your new home security. A window sensor alarm installs onto the window and detects when a window is opened or broken. When triggered, it sounds a warning alarm that alerts those inside and intimates the burglar into fleeing.
- CHILD SAFETY BARS- Children have an eager desire to explore their surroundings. This curiosity can lead to dangerous situations like leaning against a weak window screen or too far out a window to look outside. Child safety bars keep children safe from unexpected window falls and give parents peace of mind that a tragic window fall will not occur in their home.
- FIRE ESCAPES- Exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency. But they also provide burglars with easy access to upper-level windows and balconies. The best and safest way to secure your fire escape, lower level or top level windows is with FDNY approved window gates. Burglars usually look for the quickest and easiest access. Window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices are key to window security because even if the glass of the window is broken, the window gate still prevents criminals from gaining access. Your window gates should be installed with quick release mechanisms that open from inside your home for emergency exit to your fire escape, in case of fire.
4. ALARM CHECK
- ALARM SYSTEM- If you are lucky enough to have an alarm system in your new place, change the access codes and contact the alarm service to notify them of your occupancy. If not, this could be the single most important investment to make in your new home. Studies show that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be broken into. And aside from 24hour a day monitoring, most insurance carriers offer discounts to home owners with alarm systems installed. While keeping burglars at bay is the foundation, security systems can be easily expanded—adding motion detectors, additional door or window contacts, temperature monitors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire protection.
- FIRE/SMOKE ALARM- Upon move-in, locate and inspect all fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for dust and lint build up that can hinder sensors. Replace the batteries and test to ensure they are functioning. Use Daylights Savings as a reminder to retest all alarms. If you are in the market to purchase new, do your homework. Innovations in home security have evolved in recent years to include fire alarms that detect heat rather than smoke and motion sensors that can distinguish between a human intruder and a pet.
5. SAFE CHECK
- SAFE- A safe can be the last line of defense to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable possessions. Items such as jewelry, cash, firearms, and sensitive documents can be locked away in a fireproof case. Safes come in all sizes and range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. Find a safe that fits your budget and needs, and talk to your landlord about bolting it to a floor or wall, so a burglar can’t pick it up and take it. While a safe can’t guarantee the absolute protection of your property, it can be effective at hiding items from thieves who are just looking to grab valuables in plain sight and escape quickly.
As a densely populated metropolitan environment, New York City features a variety of high-rise buildings, condos, brownstones, townhouses, and multi-resident homes. It’s important to seek a qualified, locally trusted security provider to assist in changing the locks and establishing a solid foundation of home protection specific to the unique security challenges of your building or community. Paragon Security has been proudly serving customers all across New York City including in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island for over 25 years. Don’t miss out on the experience of new locks and keys with the Paragon Security move-in special. Call today for more details 212.203.0821.