Tips to protect your home

Your home is your greatest investment and a safe place for your most beloved people and possessions. But how can you ensure it’s truly safe?

While securing it can seem daunting, a few key upgrades can make a big difference in making your home safe from intruders. While pricey security systems can be effective, even small investments in your home’s defenses can make a big difference. Low-ticket items like window guards, door stoppers and an extra smart lock can stymie would-be intruders and make it more likely your home will be passed by. 

Make your home an inhospitable target

Lighting

Potential burglars rarely make a choice about which home to rob without first assessing the potential difficulty of a break-in. It’s no secret that break-ins generally happen at night. They are aimed at homes that look both like they might have enticing goods to steal and don’t have much security. Doing anything to minimize either of these perceptions can go a long way to deterring would-be robbers. 

Lighting is a great first step in making your home look like a hard target. Begin by walking your home’s perimeter at night. Are there dark spots, especially near first-floor windows, where a burglar might work undetected? Are there chairs or other outdoor furniture that might easily be dragged over to a window for easy access? 

Even a series of inexpensive, simple solar-powered outdoor lights can remedy this issue. Placed strategically around the home, they will make it look well-tended and too lit up as a potential target. 

Security cameras

Security cameras are not a strict security measure in that they only record what’s going on and don’t actively work to stop it. Even so, they can be an important addition to your security plan. Burglars are well aware of the effect of cameras on apprehending criminals and actively avoid them. While first-generation outdoor security cameras were expensive and required professional wiring, today’s options cost much less and can be installed wirelessly. They’re usually powered by either solar energy or batteries. 

Vegetation

When you do your nighttime walk-through, be sure to look for how your vegetation causes blind spots near entrances and windows. If you find that any foundation planting is potentially giving cover to a burglar, cut it back or relocate it. 

Security system signs

A well-known trick for making a house look like a tougher target is to post security monitoring signs outside the home, even if you’re not actually subscribing to the service. More a psychological trick than an actual security measure, it’s been known to deter crimes of opportunity.

Focus on access points

Windows

Perhaps your home’s weakest points are its windows and the glass in its doors. While glass is necessary and desirable for letting much-needed light into a home, it’s inherently weaker than the wood, metal and stone of other surfaces. It’s usually the way robbers gain access to homes. 

There are several things you can do to make your windows harder to break and get through. First, be sure your home’s windows close and lock properly. If they don’t, replacement windows are in order. Beyond that, you can secure first-floor windows with inconspicuous security bars that sit on the inside of your windows. These can prevent your windows from being slid open from the outside in the event you forget to lock them.

To prevent smashed-in windows, coat the inside of the glass with clear security film. It won’t prevent the glass from breaking entirely but will make it hard to smash. At the very least, it will slow a burglar down to the point of making detection far more likely. While it may cut back slightly on the crispness of the view from a window, it’s an inexpensive and highly effective way of preventing people from breaking into your home.

Security alarms on first-floor windows can also be a great investment, as they’ll alert you to any potential intrusion attempts. Some will even alert you on your phone when you’re away from home. 

Doors

Hardening doors is another key part of securing your home. Strengthening doors can be expensive, particularly if you choose to replace existing doors with solid core ones that are more difficult to breach. There are lower-cost alternatives that can make a real difference in your door’s strength. 

Installing a smart lock can help prevent the most obvious weakness of a door: forgetting to lock it. You can get a smart lock to lock automatically at a certain time of day or gain access to it from an app to lock it remotely. Ensuring your deadbolt is grade 3, the highest available, will also make your door a harder target. 

You can also get an indoor security bar, for use while you’re home, which installs on the inside of your door and makes it virtually impossible to kick in. A door barricade will do a similar job. 

What you need to buy for securing your home

Defiant 180-Degree White Solar-Powered Motion-Activated Outdoor Integrated LED Flood Light

Defiant 180-Degree White Solar-Powered Motion-Activated Outdoor Integrated LED Flood Light

Installing solar-powered motion-activated lights ensures every part of your home is well-lit. This deters would-be burglars, who prefer to work in darkness.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Blink Outdoor Wireless HD Security Camera

Blink Outdoor Wireless HD Security Camera

This camera allows you to get motion detection alerts on your phone and store video of your home when you’re not around. It’s easy to install with no wiring or professional help. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot and Amazon

Ring Alarm 8-Piece Home Security System

Ring Alarm 8-Piece Home Security System 

A good starter, this easy-to-install security system offers window sensors and a motion detector. It’s compatible with Alexa and can be set up with 24/7 monitoring. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Security Yard Signs

Security Yard Signs 

A low-cost way to deter would-be burglars. Most effective when used in conjunction with other “site hardening” techniques like motion-activated lighting and window guards.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lock-it Block-it High-Impact Plastic White Security Burglar Bar

Lock-it Block-it High-Impact Plastic White Security Burglar Bar

This easy-to-install, low-cost window burglar bar makes a window impossible to open from the outside, keeping you safe.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

VViViD 8MIL Security Window Film

VViViD 8MIL Security Window Film 

Installing this window film on the inside of glass accessible from the ground outside your home makes it much harder to smash to gain entry. It goes on easily with a minimum of work and is remarkably effective.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

HALO Satin Nickel Keypad Wi-Fi Electronic Single-Cylinder Smart Lock Deadbolt featuring SmartKey Security

HALO Satin Nickel Keypad Wi-Fi Electronic Single-Cylinder Smart Lock Deadbolt featuring SmartKey Security

Lock or unlock this from anywhere in the world you’ve got internet access, for the peace of mind that comes from being able to check if your door is locked at any time of the day or night. Pair this with a door motion sensor for added peace of mind. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Master Lock 265D Door Security Bar

Master Lock 265D Door Security Bar

Instantly increase your door’s security with this bar that prevents forced entry by jamming the door from the inside. The simple but effective construction makes it easy to use. Stock up on extras to use in hotels while traveling.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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