Most burglars target doors to quickly enter and leave the house. However, windows are more vulnerable because they are easy to break and difficult to protect. Ground floor windows are even easy to access, and if left unlocked, saves a thief a lot of time.
This post covers the following tips on how to secure ground floor windows:
- Close vulnerable windows
- Cover windows
- Add extra window locks
- Consider using impact resistance glass
- Plant thorny shrubs
- Install window guards and decorative grills
- Wire a window alarm system
- Display window decals
- Mount security cameras
- Interior and exterior lighting
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Ways to secure your windows
1. Close vulnerable windows
Ground floor apartment windows are easy targets for burglary. Most burglars avoid breaking glass as it causes noise or they could get injured. For intruders who target soft spots like unlocked or open windows, it’s a simple crawl-through.
I cannot stress enough the importance of shutting the windows in the night or while you’re away.
The simple act of locking the door and window will often deter burglars and send them away to other easier targets.
During warm-weather sliding windows are left open for ventilation and pet access. Experienced burglars are aware that these are convenient entry points.
Use any secondary blocking item or devices such as a security bar or pin to block the window from sliding further or opening fully from the outside.
Make sure to inform the landlord or apartment manager before making such renovations.
2. Cover windows
I know this sounds pretty obvious.
Valuables in the house entice thieves when they peep through the window. Blinds, shades, and curtains are simple ways of blocking the view.
Fit heavy curtains across the window. Usually one piece of curtain is better than two because it just makes it harder for the burglar to move or lift the piece and get a better view.
Cover the top and bottom so tightly that they don’t even get the chance to see the ceiling.
3. Add extra window locks
If you are a victim of theft, then it’s time to add extra locks to the window. The locks that are provided by the window manufacturer are just not enough to offer that extra protection.
Unless you have reinforced glass, criminals could still use glass cutters and unlock the window.
Keyed locks are the best fit here. Burglars will need to have a specific unlock key, which in all cases they don’t.
For safety and exit during emergency evacuations, have the key at hand or in a designated place where all households can access.
Other locks to consider depending on the type of window you have:
- Pin locks prevent burglars from sliding the window vertically
- Hinged wedge locks control the partiality with which the double-hung window can open
- Sash locks hold the double-hung window shut in place
Remember that these locks will only slow down a thief. You should not rely entirely on locks as committed criminals usually use different tactics to bypass or shatter the glass.
4. Reinforce your window glass
Shattering the window is the easiest way for an intruder to access your home as long as it doesn’t cause disturbance.
Unfortunately, regular glass windows are vulnerable to the bad guys – they are not shatter-resistant.
A reinforced glass you could use in your home is tempered glass.
When a criminal attempts to break them, they break into small nuggets rather than jagged pieces, or the simple crumble owing to the repeated heating and cooling manufacturing process they undergo to enhance their strength.
Tempered glass isn’t perfectly break-proof. But they are 4 times stronger and resistant to heat than ordinary glass.
Another simple solution is attaching clear, cloudy or mirrored window film.
The advantage with the film is it can help prevent glass from shattering into pieces when hit. Also, the added layer provides privacy for the people inside, reducing visibility totally.
If you have a higher budget, plexiglass may just be the best option for you.
Considering it’s 10 times stronger than normal glass, burglars will give up at the realization that their attempt won’t bear any fruit at all.
This acrylic type of glass is not real glass and does not crash when smashed.
Other panels you could use for replacement are bullet-resistant, polycarbonate, and laminated glass.
5. Plant thorny shrubs
Landscaping may seem old-fashioned, but when used strategically, it provides additional protection against window intrusion.
A good example is planting thorny bushes under or in front of the windows.
As they wade through the yard, crooks will feel the discomfort of being cut or pricked by sharp things.
Next time you plant rose bushes don’t look at them as just being attractive but consider them a great deterrent.
6. Install window guards or grills
Another safety measure you can take is to install guards or decorated metal folding on windows.
Since in some areas bars and grills are the only answer to beef up ground floor window security, they can be made more attractive and stylish, but seal off caveats of intrusion.
Thieves might be able to smash the glass by throwing substances at the window but they cannot squeeze through the bars.
While you focus on keeping burglars at bay, mind about your own safety in case you need quick exit from your home during emergencies.
Set aside one window as your escape route. There should be neither grills nor security bars on it. A window lock bar accessible from inside will be fine.
7. Display window decals
Window decals will intimidate some offenders.
If your sticker or sign warns that the house is under CCTV surveillance 24/7 or has an active alarm system, intruders won’t risk it just to prove themselves right.
Nowadays, there are so many silent alarms that when triggered will alert neighbors, police and home dwellers, who can ambush burglars before they know it.
To convey the message instantly, a criminal should be able to come across a generic decal easily when placed on the front door, windows, backdoor, and corners of the house.
This will deter them to re-evaluate why they trespassed in the first place.
8. Wire an alarm system
So far, we’ve discussed methods that are primarily delay tactics.
On the other hand, security alarms and sensors detect and notify you of an uninvited outsider.
Some are designed to loudly and continuously make sound, thereby alerting everybody. While others are meant to signal the home dwellers as well as police of security breach as burglars unknowingly try to get their way in.
The basic window alarm setup is made up of one or two magnet sensors and a relay system depending on the size and location within which to cover.
For that matter, you may consider contacting a reputable alarm company for installation and maintenance.
Talk to your apartment manager or landlord if you have plans to install one of these security gadgets.
Just so that you’re aware, thieves know there’s less likelihood of apartments having alarm systems installed, which gives you a reason to actually have one.
Other ways to secure your apartment
9. Mount security cameras
A popular security measure that is quickly being adopted is mounting security cameras.
Surveillance cameras take footage of potential home break-ins and can have night vision capabilities too to capture activities in the night.
You can choose to place them in obvious spots such as above or next to the window. That alone can scare the hell out of juvenile wanna-bes and some nerd criminal minds.
Just be sure to avoid putting the camera in a corner or areas where you’ll miss coverage.
You can also do a mix of less-visible cameras as well as an indoor camera, if you want to employ multiple-camera action.
Whatever you go with, enough consistent light is important.
10. Interior lighting/flood lights/motion lights
Lighting you home is necessary whether you’re around or not.
Interior lighting at night is evidence of occupancy. To a burglar, a home that is dark every night is a gesture that the owners are away.
And even if you are, try fixing inexpensive light-timers. They’ll automatically turn the lights on inside your apartment for a certain period of time, mimicking your existence.
The exterior of the building needs to be protected too.
Intruders hate to be watched, so flood lights will serve to discourage them from hopping into sight.
Motion lights are equally useful as they can be designed with a camera to record outside-home activities, and activate light as soon as motion is detected, trigger an alarm and/or relay the alerts to your phone.
As you have seen, you have to consider the exterior, glass, locks as well as the interior to burglar proof your windows. In this post we examined all the important things that come into play when making that important decision of protecting your apartment.
You’re going to have to combine a few of these to come up with an effective plan.
At the end of it all you’ll feel more safe inside knowing it’s going to take unworthy effort of crazy individuals to burglarize your property.