Safe House

Photograph: door: Milkos; house: Sam Spiro

Although it’s unsettling to hear news about burglaries, it’s even more disconcerting to learn about these crimes in your own neighborhood. “Home break-ins and auto thefts are on the rise in Fairfield County, prompting more people to upgrade security systems and install fences and gates,” says DON GORE, PRESIDENT OF GRAND ENTRANCE, a company in Mount Kisco, N.Y., that provides residential security solutions. Whether you’re moving into new digs or beefing up security for your current address, consider his expert advice.


GORE’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PEACE OF MIND

LOCK IT DOWN
In a new house, the first thing to do is change the locks on all of the doors. “You don’t know how many keys were made over the years, and it’s not expensive to simply replace or re-key all of them,” says Gore.

SET THE ALARM
Install a basic fire and burglar alarm and put the system to good use. “People have alarms but don’t employ them, which gives burglars a leg up,” he says.

INSTALL A FENCE OR GATE
“A gate or fence is a great visual deterrent,” notes Gore, who says secure the entire border of your home. Fences contain kids and dogs, and keep unwanted visitors out, including deer and coyotes. For a fence, Gore recommends a mesh system that covers 80 percent of the perimeter and connects with a decorative fence near the driveway. Gates can be constructed in either wrought iron, stainless steel or wood to match the home. “We can build stone pillars to mount gates on, or fit gates to existing stonework or brickwork,” he says.

LIGHT IT UP
Install an exterior infrared lighting system activated by pedestrian and/or vehicular motion. When you’re out, set timers so lights come on early in the evening and turn off late at night, giving the appearance that someone is home.

THINK CUSTOM
A gate-type security system can be programmed to fit your lifestyle, says Gore. If your home is active, gates can automatically open when you drive up; then, in late afternoon, the system will require a code upon entry. In the event of a power outage, a separate battery system will operate the gates, and the controller can be connected to your fire/burglar alarm system so they will open in an emergency.

HIGH-TECH SECURITY
Many gates have built-in surveillance systems like cameras, microphones and a vehicle annunciator that chimes in the house when a car enters the driveway. Video footage is recorded and archived 24 hours a day, so you can view any moment in time. The system also provides notifications when someone arrives at the house; you can talk with them remotely.