It’s not the most exciting thing to think about, but taking some time to consider how secure your home is can save heartbreak further down the line.
From installing a home security system to simple measures like locking all exterior doors, preventing a break-in can be pretty straightforward.
In this short guide, we will take you through ten excellent measures to ensure your home safety and security is as strong as it can be to keep burglars at bay. So, no more leaving your house key under a plant pot by the door – it’s time to get your home security on track!
10 Great Ways To Secure Your Home
From home security systems to ensure there are sufficient lights around the exterior of your home, there are loads of ways to secure your property against intruders.
1. Install A Home Security System
A security system is one of the best ways to keep your home secure against intruders, and a good one doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. You can get the best self monitored home security system starting from around $200.
You’ll find a range of door and window alarms that you can install easily on your own, but a more extensive alarm system might require professional installation.
Depending on which security company you choose, you might find the alarm system can automatically alert your local police department should your home’s security be threatened. However, these can be more expensive. They require a subscription service to cover the cost of professional monitoring your system and alerting any alarms being set off.
Each system will have its own unique features. For example, some will turn lights on when motion is detected, while others will start recording video when a sensor triggers the camera. Other home security systems will unlock the doors when the fire alarm sounds, helping residents make a prompt escape.
2. Use A Home Automation System
While home automation might seem risky thanks to potential hacking, this is highly unlikely, and the system is actually much more likely to keep you safe from intruders.
While find the best home automation security systems have their advantageous when you are away all day or even on vacation. Of course, leaving lamps on a timer to give the appearance that someone is at home is nothing new. But, you don’t need to plug in a time anymore – with a smart home system, you can remotely control your lamps and even your television from anywhere in the world. So, even when you enjoy relaxing at the beach on vacation, you can be sure your home is safe and secure.
You’ll also be able to keep an eye on your camera and alarm system remotely using an app. For example, if your smart home system includes a doorbell or porch camera, you can see any visitors to your door in a live video feed sent straight to your phone.
Smart locks are also available – given that most burglars walk straight in through the door, this can be an excellent investment. In addition, a smart lock will allow you to control access to your home from your mobile device, so you can keep out intruders while permitting entry to a family member or friend who is checking on your home in your absence.
3. Secure The Garage Door
The garage door is a common way for thieves to break in – it can be easy to force entry through the door. Then, if you have an attached garage, use the interior door to gain entrance to the remainder of the house.
Even if you don’t have an attached garage, there are possibly many valuable tools in the garage that are attractive to thieves.
Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your garage more secure.
Try covering the windows if you have valuables inside, so they aren’t in plain view of would-be thieves. If you use a code to open the garage, make sure you keep it secret and don’t enter it within sight of anyone else. If there is a lock, make sure it is secure and can’t easily be tampered with.
You might also like to install an alarm if the door itself is not particularly secure. This will warn you if intruders are making their way up to your driveway. You can also cover your garage with your home automation or security system, as mentioned above.
4. Install Outdoor Lighting
Would-be intruders don’t want to be seen, so keeping your home well-lit with porch lights and outdoor lights is a great way to deter them.
Being seen makes a burglar’s job much harder, so make sure all potential entry points are illuminated so everyone can see them. Of course, sufficient outdoor lighting will also help keep you safe from trips and stumbles in the dark.
Many outdoor lights use infrared motion sensors, so they automatically activate when motion is detected. Position them around doorways, the garage and other outbuildings, and the front gate. You can use solar-powered lighting for a cheaper, more environmentally-friendly option or leave the lights on a timer when you are away.
While we’re on the subject of the yard area, there are a few other structures you might like to secure in this area. Air conditioning units, cars, sheds, and even your mailbox are all potential targets for thieves. Consider tamper-proof screws on your shed, and secure the mailbox and AC unit with appropriate brackets and locks.
5. Secure The Doors
You might have the best security systems in the world, but without locking the front door, they are useless! And a high percentage of burglaries involve intruders simply walking in through an unlocked door.
You should check that potential intruders can’t reach through the mail slot and unlatch the door from the inside or even reach keys stored nearby. A peephole will allow you to see who is at the door without opening it and is another excellent safety measure to consider.
As well as making sure all entry doors are locked, you might also like to look at the type of locks being used. For example, a deadbolt lock will offer more protection than more flimsy locks that can easily be picked. Similarly, replace the locks when moving into a new house, as any number of people could still have keys for the old one.
Make sure your door is reinforced using a door jamb reinforcement kit, as many burglars will simply gain entry by using brute force and breaking down the door. These kits are simple to install yourself and can make a world of difference to your home’s security. A heavy-duty strike plate with screws extending deep into the door frame will also help make your door more difficult to knockdown.
6. Add Security Cameras
Adding security cameras is one of the best ways to keep your home safe – would-be thieves will be well deterred if they see cameras, and you will have vital evidence for the police should they gain entry to your home.
Some alarm systems incorporate a security camera, but you can also buy a standalone security camera and monitor it with an app on your phone. These should be positioned around the front door, back door, and garage door, and look for features such as night vision, Wi-Fi, and two-way talking capabilities.
7. Protect Your Wi-Fi Network
Home security isn’t just a concern for the physical world – you should also take steps to safeguard your digital world. For example, it’s imperative to secure your Wi-Fi network if you have a smart home system in place – you don’t want your entire home getting hacked!
To secure your home’s Wi-Fi network, choose a strong password. You should also set up a firewall and adequate antivirus protection. You can even hide your home Wi-Fi from public view to prevent outsiders from accessing it.
8. Lock the Windows
Doors and windows are a common entry point, so it makes sense to thoroughly secure widows – first-floor windows particularly aren’t safe from thieves.
So, ensure all windows are securely locked before leaving the house. A simple sliding window lock and key should do the trick. Window sensors can also be installed to alert you when a window is opened or even broken.
Hang curtains at ground-level windows to hide any valuables from view. You might also like to plant prickly bushes in the yard beneath first-story windows to make it more difficult for anyone to climb in.
9. Install A Family Safe
You might think it seems like overkill, but a safe is an excellent, burglar-proof way to store valuables. It should be heavy enough that a thief can’t simply walk away with the whole thing or consider having it built into the wall.
And, make sure it is big enough for all your valuables. A small safe will be fine for passports and a few pieces of jewellery, but if you have a large family with a lot of things to store, it’s best to invest in a bigger safe.
Your chosen safe should be resistant to both fire and water and should be fitted with redundant locks (two locks) to make sure your possessions are entirely secured.
10. Neighborhood Watch
Your next-door neighbors are the ideal witnesses if there is any suspicious activity going on – you can all keep an eye on each other’s houses. And, if you are familiar with your neighbors, you’ll be able to spot any strangers in the neighborhood much more easily.
Next time you are away on vacation, leave house keys with a trusted neighbor rather than in hiding spots such as plant pots. That way, they can pop in and look after your pets or houseplants and make sure everything is still safe and secure.
If you decide to set up a neighborhood watch, many police departments will be willing to attend a meeting with you and your neighbor to give you tips and advice on keeping the area safe and protected against burglars.
Home Security Tips and FAQs
Do you still have some questions about home safety? Then, read on for all the answers you need.
Can the garage door opener integrate with my home security system?
We’ve discussed above how the garage can be the ideal entry point for break-ins, so how does using a garage opener change things?
Keeping a garage door opener in the car isn’t a good idea if you leave the car at home when you are out. By doing this, burglars can break into your vehicle, use the remote to open the garage, then gain access to your house if the garage is attached.
However, there is another option. You can invest in a garage alarm system that allows you to remotely open and close the door, even when away from home. Some such systems will also send alerts to your phone if the door has been left open.
Many security systems will allow you to monitor both your home and your garage, with cameras and sensors for all areas of the house.
Are my sliding glass doors secure?
Of course, glass breaking is quite noisy and is something most burglars would rather avoid. However, if they can clearly see your valuables lying just on the other side, they might decide it’s worth the risk.
But, there are many ways to make sure your sliding doors are more secure. For example, choosing double or even triple-glazed windows will ensure they are stronger and therefore more difficult to break, as well as make your home warmer and more energy-efficient.
In addition, some doors are made from a special type of security glass that won’t shatter when broken, meaning intruders can’t simply climb through the frame. You can even find some fitted with glass break sensors to give a warning if an intruder does shatter the glass.
It goes without saying, but always ensure the sliding door is locked before going out, and don’t leave the house key hiding somewhere nearby! Similarly, you’ll want to choose secure door locks for this type of door. There are locking systems available that will prevent the door from being removed from its frame and systems to stop the door from sliding along the interior floor track when the lock is engaged.
If your glass doors are in a room containing many valuables, it is worth considering frosted or patterned glass to obstruct the view from prying eyes. Or, cover the glass with a large curtain, blind, or net curtain to ensure outsiders can’t see inside.
Do beware of the dog signs work?
It’s probably not the best home security measure, but many homeowners like to display a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign to deter potential intruders.
While it’s true that a large dog barking at the slightest sign of movement will be a strong deterrent, the sign alone is unlikely to be enough. Many burglars are aware of these signs being used by homeowners who don’t own a dog, so it’s best not to rely on a sign to scare off intruders.
On the other hand, if you are looking to get a dog anyway, why not choose one that would make a good guard dog? While it’s best not to choose a dog who attacks any visitors to your home (this is a lawsuit waiting to happen!), one who gets excitable when someone comes to the door is a great choice. Although he might be barking in excitement, it can sound quite threatening from the other side, potentially deterring burglars.