Did you know that the majority of home burglaries actually occur during the daytime and involve the intruder entering through an open window or unlocked door?
Whether you live in a small suburb or a large city with a high crime rate, your home is susceptible to security issues. Not only do you need to worry about your home itself either. Your garage and yard also provide a place for the bad guys to steal or destruct your property without even having to break inside.
Luckily, you have many options to secure homes that range from installing new technologies to practicing some basic tips for making your home less appealing to the bad guys. Read on to learn the 14 best tips to protect your home from intruders.
1. Consider Installing a Full Home Security System
Want an easy way to make the bad guys more likely to leave your home alone? Then look into getting a fully-featured home security system with motion sensors, alarms, cameras, and 24/7 monitoring.
Your options range from wired systems made for houses to completely wireless options that work well for apartments and condos.
When you leave your home, you simply turn the security system on. If a person were to try to force themselves into a door or window or walk past a sensor or camera, then this will set the system off.
Often, the system will alert you through a text or alert on your phone regardless of your location. These systems usually also contact the local authorities so that the police know to visit your home.
You can also consider extending your security system so it will look for someone trying to open your garage door. This may come as part of your main home security system or be sold as a separate product.
2. Add a Fence and Gate to Your Property
While you might not have this option with an apartment or condo, you can likely build a fence around your home and add a gate required for entry. To make it even harder for intruders to get in, consider a tall fence and a gate that requires a key or electronic code to enter.
To protect your house the best, remember to maintain your fence and gate regularly. Look for signs that the fence structure has become weakened or compromised. If your gate no longer works properly, look into booking a gate repair service as soon as possible.
3. Use a Smart Video Doorbell
While some people have privacy concerns over the technology, video doorbells have become more common. In fact, police departments and community watch programs now recommend them to improve neighborhood security.
Available in wired and wireless options, these doorbells allow you to speak to whoever is at your door regardless of where you are. When someone does press the button, you can see a live video stream of them on your phone, tablet, or Amazon Echo Show device.
The video footage gets saved to the cloud on the manufacturer’s website so that you can see visitors you might have missed. This footage also comes in handy in case someone suspicious comes to your door and the local police department needs the footage to identify them.
4. Keep All Your Windows Locked
Did you know that climbing through unlocked windows is one of the most common ways for intruders to get into your home? If you leave your windows unlocked or opened in the warm winter months, you’re putting yourself at risk even if you’re home!
A good first step is to always keep your windows locked, especially before you head out of the house or go to bed. If you find this hard to remember, you can try setting up an alert on your phone.
Along with using the built-in locks, consider adding security bars as well. You can install these yourself quite easily and find options that look more decorative. Just be mindful that you leave at least one window free of bars so that you can escape in case of a fire or other emergency.
5. Use Secure Locks on Your Exterior Doors
Did you just move into your home? If so, changing all the locks is a good way to prevent someone with an old key from getting into your home.
Even if you’ve got new locks, you have other options to beef up your door security.
Adding deadbolts to your front and back exterior doors is a good next step. Even better, you can consider adding smart locks that require you to enter a code from a mobile device to get in. A combination of traditional and smart locks can give you an extra layer of security.
6. Pay Attention to the Greenery Around Your House
Do you have trees and scrubs around your house that some unwanted visitors could hide in? Then it may be a good time to reconsider your landscaping.
Especially pay attention to the greenery in front of any windows around your house. Have these plants been trimmed so that they’re too short for anybody to crouch down into? Aiming for below window height is a good recommendation.
7. Use a Good Garage Door Lock
While you need your home’s door locks to function well, don’t forget about a garage door lock as well. Your options range from garage door locks that use a key or remote to advanced systems that take advantage of smart home technology.
If your home and garage are attached, then an insecure garage door means the intruder has an easy shortcut into your home. Even if you have a detached garage, a poor lock means that the thief can get inside and steal items in storage or even damage your vehicle.
When choosing a garage door lock, you’ll want to remember to ask about how to get into the garage in case of an emergency. For example, the garage door should have a backup method for entering if it’s electronic and you have a power outage. You’ll also want to ask about emergency services available in case your lock breaks.
8. Use a Motion Lighting System Outside Your House
Keeping the outside of your home lit can also scare away possible intruders. While you can do this with basic floodlights, consider a motion lighting system as a more sophisticated method. Not only will this help keep your electric bill lower, but you also won’t have the inconvenience of always having bright lights on at night.
Common places to include motion-activated lights include your front and back porches, your garage door, and a location in your yard that gets very dark. Whenever someone walks past the sensor, the light will come on, hopefully discouraging your intruder from messing with your home.
9. Avoid the Appearance of Nobody Being Home
Having your house look like it’s empty can make it a good target for intruders when you’re at work or on vacation. To trick the bad guys, you want to keep your home lit inside and possibly even play music or a TV when you’re gone.
While you could just leave things on when you leave, using smart home technology such as smart lights and timers can be a wiser choice. You can then control your lights and other devices from your phone regardless of location. This makes it easy to turn on your living room light each evening or even watch footage of an indoor security camera.
10. Don’t Leave Expensive Items in View of Intruders
You’ve probably heard that leaving money and other valuables in sight can tempt criminals to break into your car. The same is true for your home, garage, and yard.
First, don’t leave portable items like bicycles, expensive toys, gadgets, and packages outside where everybody can see them. Keep these items inside your home or a locked garage. Consider having packages delivered to your work or a trusted neighbor if possible.
Next, don’t leave your windows uncovered so that curious by-passers can see your TV, artwork, furniture, and other expensive items you have inside. Use curtains and keep them closed when possible, especially when you’re not home.
Also, make sure you use your garage door opener properly and close the door when you’re not in the garage. Leaving the door up is an invitation for bad guys to take what they’d like.
Lastly, pay attention to what you put at the curbside for the trash collector. You might find it convenient to leave that big TV or computer box out uncovered, but this can signal to others that you’ve got attractive valuables to steal indoors.
11. Use a Safe to Protect Important Items Inside Your House
Even if you follow in-house security tips well, there’s still the chance that someone could get inside your home. So, you can take further action to secure your most valuable possessions in a secure home safe. Often, you can find these with electronic locks that are harder to crack than those with a regular key.
Use your in-home safe to put jewelry, money, important documents, small electronics, family heirlooms, and other items that would be expensive to lose or impossible to replace. You can find safes of a variety of sizes that can fit in a location like a closet.
12. Avoid Leaving a Spare Key Outside
If you worry you’ll get locked outside your home or have family members who need to visit sometimes, you may feel tempted to hide a spare key somewhere outside your home. However, smart burglars will know the common places to look. So, you might just seem to be inviting them inside!
Instead, share that spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor. You can always use your cell phone to call your friend or visit your neighbor to get the key.
13. Use the Help of Those in Your Community
While you can do a lot to improve your home security alone, getting the help of neighbors and local law enforcement can keep you even safer. In fact, neighborhood watch programs have become common in many communities and provide an easy way to share what suspicious events have happened in your area.
Check if your town has a community watch program and learn about any meetings or websites where residents share information. Often, you can find community groups on Facebook or join the Nextdoor website where people will post local happenings and possibly even photographs and videos.
It also pays to get to know your neighbors well so that you can look after each other. That way, when you go on vacation, you can let your neighbor know to keep an eye on your property, and vice versa. Your neighbor might even have an outdoor security camera system that can pick up things that happen around your home as well.
14. Verify Identify Before You Let Strangers Inside
Unfortunately, it has become common for criminals posing as utility workers, salespeople, and other professionals to trick homeowners into letting them inside. This can especially happen to the elderly and people who live alone.
If someone unexpected claims to arrive at your home for an appointment or try to sell you something, ask for them to verify their identity before you even open the door. This is where having a video doorbell can really come in handy.
Don’t hesitate to call the organization the person claims to be affiliated with either. You can state the person’s name and verify that they should be at your home.
Take These Steps Today to Protect Your Home
With these tips in hand, you’re ready to protect your home and keep your family safer.
If following all the advice seems overwhelming to you, then you may find it helpful to download a home security checklist online. That way, you can audit your home’s security by each area such as your doors, windows, outdoor security, and garage. You can also find professionals willing to inspect your home for security issues.
Are you interested in making your garage more secure with a better lock or door? Then schedule a service call with us today.