Home security often comes up at this time of the year. Calgary is just starting to pick up slowly from what has been a bad five years for the economy. But Residential and Rural Real Estate   homeowner’s still have to be aware of security for the winter months. Door locks and alarms especially, but there is also a lot you can do around your property to prevent the possibility of a break-in.

A good way to deter the burglar is your outside lighting. Your home doesn't need to light up like a Christmas Tree but your exterior lighting should illuminate your land around the home enough to be a deter anyone up to no good in the area. Last winter I bought 4 solar lights off Amazon for $39.99 cdn and they have been excellent (except for the dog not liking them when they suddenly come on!)

Some burglars hide around the property and wait for someone to arrive and open the door so they can use that opportunity to force their way into your home. There have been police reports of burglars accessing garages that have been left up, some people leave their keys in the car, so it is an ideal opportunity to steal it.

One of the best things you can do is to walk around your property and see if you can spot any areas where someone could hide. Can they get in behind your garden shed, a large garden shrub or next to a parked car. Make sure any of these areas are well lit or have solar lights on them. Pay particular attention to lighting around your exterior doors, especially the back door and the man door to the garage, which is always a favourite with burglars.

Some experts also recommend that exterior lighting be installed with a timed dimmer. The lights can then be set to cast a bright light in the early evening, and then a dimmer light throughout the rest of the night.

Our favourite lights are installed with motion detectors, which can be very effective in the areas we mentioned before. These sensor driven lights turn on or brighten when someone comes onto that part of your property. Most thieves will run as soon as they see a bright light go on.

If you have a spare key that you want kept outside “Just in Case” make sure it is hidden in a good spot but easy to access (and easy to find in thick snow!). Why not buy a builders lock box at Home Depot for any access “emergency”. Don’t just put the key under the front door mat or plant pot, the experienced thief can fast track his way in, especially if he spots a member of the family reaching down to pick up what he suspects is a key.

So keep safe and warm till next time.