If there’s one thing that’s worse than having your house robbed because you didn’t protect it, it’s discovering you’ve been burglarized because you didn’t protect it the right way. Most people understand the need for windows security and other proven methods to prevent a break-in.
But it’s just as important to have window protection that works. That means the right equipment as well as taking care of some obvious weak spots in any home’s protection. While this might seem complicated, our guide will provide all the necessary information for you to make an informed decision and properly protect burglar-proof your windows.
Keep Your Windows Locked
This might sound like an obvious suggestion, but you might be surprised to hear how many people routinely leave at least one window in their home or apartment unlocked.
According to statistics from the National Crime Prevention Council, about 30 percent of all burglaries happen thanks to an open or unlocked door or window. Windows security is one of the most overlooked parts of protecting a property from a burglar.
And it’s important to realize that most burglars don’t mind a bit of inconvenience if they think it’s worth it. So locking your ground-floor windows while leaving a second-story window open or unlocked will only deter the least ambitious crooks. It’s important to lock every window, every time.
Use Good-Quality Window Locks
Many people believe that the window locks that came with the original window should be able to offer protection. But in the same way that you wouldn’t try and use a door for protection without having a new deadbolt installed, you shouldn’t rely on the often flimsy window locks provided by the manufacturer.
The best window security locks offer sturdy protection and smooth reliability that ensures they’ll be easy to use.
Sliding window locks can be used on either side of the window track and can be used to securely lock the window shut. Hinged wedge locks are best used with double-hung windows and work not just with closed windows but also on windows that are partially open.
If you are looking for the best bang for the buck when upgrading your window hardware, Gatehouse locks are a great choice. They offer a comparable level of safety to more expensive locks manufactured by companies such as Schlage and Kwikset.
Here are several of what we believe are the best choices for good quality window safety locks:
Defender Security U 9809 Sliding Window Lock for Vinyl Windows – Easy Installation to Keep Windows Securely Closed – White Diecast Construction
This sturdy lock fits all vinyl frame rail thicknesses up to half an inch wide. They work on most windows and their “vise-like” grip will help protect most vinyl windows from burglars. This two-pack of locks is best used on horizontal sliding windows but can also be used as a secondary lock on vertical windows.View at Amazon
These extruded aluminum locks are great for use on either vertical or horizontal windows as a secondary lock. They don’t require any tools to install and can also be used to hang double-hung windows in a partially open position.View at Amazon
This pin and lock set is easy to install and perfect for use on sliding doors or windows. You rotate the pin to lock it into place and a hanger chain is included to ensure the pin isn’t lost.View at Amazon
Plant Thorny Bushes
One of the ways to secure your home that is often forgotten is to use landscaping as another level of protection. Placing thorny bushes or evergreens in front of windows can help to make them inaccessible to thieves. While wading through a bunch of pointy things won’t stop every burglary attempt, the discomfort will scare off most of the crooks.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re planning your landscaping additions. Make sure that the new bushes or plants don’t block the visibility of your house from neighbors. Also, make sure not to plant trees or other taller plants too close to the house. Burglars can then use them to climb on the roof and enter through a second-story window.
One last hint is to keep bushes and shrubs trimmed and clean. Potential burglars can use messy landscaping as a way to hide from view while they prepare to enter the building. Landscaping can offer great protection and secure your home, but you can also leave yourself vulnerable if you don’t plan appropriately.
Install Window Bars & Grilles
One of the most effective steps you can take to burglar-proof your home is to install window burglar bars. These iron window bars help keep out intruders while still letting in plenty of light. In most cases, the best window burglar bars can be swung out of the way while you are in the home.
One misconception about security bars for residential windows is that they are bulky or ugly, which is not at all the case with modern home window security bars. They are now available in a wide variety of colors and styles, which can be matched to nearly any exterior. Even better, metal bars for windows are easy to install. All that’s required in most cases is a tape measure, drill, and the proper screws. drill bits and a pencil.
It’s also important to remember that one window in your home should be left without any window safety bars in case of an emergency that requires you to quickly exit the home. In that case, using a window lock bar can safely protect you while still allowing for quick access to the window.
While there are many perfectly fine options for steel window bars, here are several that we recommend as the best window bars. These best of class products are solidly made, easy on the eyes, and not difficult to install.
This 21 in. hinged window guard is constructed from carbon steel and is intended for interior use only. It’s finished in black and can be adjusted from 34 inches to 54 inches wide. They are easy to install and can be used on a window where an emergency egress might be required.View at Amazon
2. Prime-Line S 4763 FIXED Window Guard, 22 in. – 38 in. x 21-1/2 in., Steel, Black, 4-Bar, NON-EGRESS
These interior window bars are constructed of .048 thick, plain carbon steel square tubing and have a black finish. The steel window bars are designed to be used on windows where an emergency egress is not required. So they wouldn’t be appropriate for bedrooms or other sleeping spaces where another emergency exit isn’t available.View at Amazon
3. John Sterling Non-Opening Style 3-Bar Child Safety and Window Guard
This pack of DIY window security bars is constructed on one-inch lightly powder-coated in white. They can be together or used to cover several smaller windows. Their low profile and easy installation are perfect for use in front house window protection.View at Amazon
Install Window Security Cameras
One of the best ways to have another level of protection is by installing window security cameras. These cameras can be used to cover little-used areas, provide a deterrence to thieves and help document any potential break-in.
The best uses of cameras are those that include multiple ways of using them for protection. A window mount security camera can be placed in a spot that is obvious to any outsider. That can serve as a deterrent and a bit of a ruse, especially when combined with other less-visible cameras.
Other hints about placement include not putting them into corners, which can create blind spots and missed coverage. Also, try and make sure that there is enough consistent light in the coverage area so that you can actually see what is going on.
You should always get the best window security camera for your needs. A camera that isn’t capable of picking up the action is just about useless as a protection tool. And even worse are the fake cameras, which not only don’t usually look real they also don’t offer any real protection.
Here are a few cameras that we recommend, along with some of their details:
This cord-free, battery-powered camera is a flexible option for just about any protection plan. It can be used anyplace where there is a 2.4Ghz WiFi connection and with a 1080p HD lens as well as night vision, you’ll see anything that happens, whether it’s day or night.
It’s weatherproof and has a motion sensor and a built-in SD card to record the action. It also provides real-time updates via email or text and the two-way communication system allows you to talk to whomever you see.View at Amazon
2. Nest Security Camera, Keep An Eye On What Matters to You, From Anywhere, For Outdoor Use, Works with Alexa
These indoor/outdoor cameras are stylish and plug into your existing power, so you never have to worry about dead batteries. They integrate with Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant and its Nest alerts let you know when there is a strange sound or movement.
You can use its built-in speaker to talk to strangers and it easily integrates with other smart Nest products to create a complete security system that can be designed to match your needs.View at Amazon
This twin wi-fi, the vandal-proof dome camera is a perfect choice for use as a window security camera or in any location where durability and reliability are paramount.
Motion-activated activity records directly to the internal SD card and you can also stream video live with its built-in Wi-Fi. You can get email and text alerts of unusual activity and it supports the automatic upload of video and images to a remote FTP site.View at Amazon
Install Window Alarms
Window security alarms and sensors can be the most important component in helping to burglar-proof your windows. There are a number of types of alarms and sensors to choose from, although generally speaking the best window alarm is one that requires little maintenance while also being accurate. You don’t want false readings, but you also want to make sure that the alarm sounds if the window is opened or tampered with.
The most basic window alarms are the magnet sensor models. There is a sensor and a bar magnet and as long as the magnet is within two inches of the sensor knows the window is closed. It is a common window alarm system and it is one the ADT window sensor system relies on on most homes and businesses.
The basic sensor installation usually includes one or perhaps two sensors on a window, but depending on the size and location, you might want to consider something more comprehensive. You also want to locate the sensors in spots where someone would have difficulty breaking the window, reaching in, and disabling them.
More comprehensive window sensor systems can be tied into a central alarm or smart house alarm system and can track not just unexpected movements, but things such as carbon dioxide or even smoke.
Here are three window alarm sensor choices we think are the best available for most people:
This comprehensive sensor system can detect motion, vibrations and when windows are opened and closed. You can locate the box in a line-sight area of a room and it will cover and alert you to any change in its environment. It can be used as part of the Samsung Smart Home Hub, which offers full-home protection with an integrated group of products.View at Amazon
This battery-operated sensor system is a great basic solution for most protection situations. The sensor and magnet have an adhesive back and can be installed almost anywhere. The sensor can be connected to a home alarm system or can be set to chime whenever the sensor’s field is broken.View at Amazon
3. Visonic MCT-340 E Wireless Door Window Temperature Sensor 2.4ghz ZigBee – Now Works Natively with Samsung SmartThings Hub
This low-visibility box can blend into most home decors and when installed as part of the Samsung SmartThings Hub, it can protect an entire room or open area from intruders. It can track the ambient temperature of the room and can be set to automatically alert you if the sensors are tripped.View at Amazon
Reinforce Your Window Glass
One of the easiest ways for a burglar to gain access to your home is simply by shattering a window and reaching in to unlock it. Traditional window glass – even newer double-paned windows – isn’t generally made with security glass or shatter-resistant glass and that leaves that home window glass vulnerable to the bad guys.
One easy method to beef up your current windows is by using window film. The film comes in clear, cloudy, or mirrored finishes and can be attached directly to the existing windows. Depending on the film, the product can help prevent the glass from shattering under pressure or simply keep the pieces from separating when hit. And mirrored window glass has the added advantage of providing an added layer of privacy.
There are several types of replacement window glass and which one you use really depends on where you want to install it. Tempered glass is also sometimes referred to as safety glass and it is often required in zoning for large doors and windows. This reinforced glass isn’t a break-proof window, but it is four times stronger than traditional window glass. The other advantage is that when it does shatter, it breaks into small little nuggets instead of large, jagged pieces.
Laminated glass is a panel in which two panes of glass are bonded on either side of a tough plastic inner layer. It is as clear as traditional glass, but even when hit with a hammer it won’t shatter. Instead, the surface simply cracks into a spiderweb-like pattern without breaking. This is the type of glass that is used in safety glasses and to protect expensive paintings and other valuables.
Here are some of what we believe are the top choices when it comes to selecting the best window film:
1. Window Film One Way Mirror Film Privacy Static Non-Adhesive Decorative Heat Control Anti UV Window Tint for Home and Office
This mirrored privacy film doesn’t use glue as an adhesive and has the added benefit of blocking up to 90 percent of the sun’s UV rays. It also helps lower the heating and cooling costs by providing an extra layer of insulation to the windows.
The interesting thing about this product is because of the way it is manufactured, it provides complete privacy during the day but fades away in the nighttime to provide normal window views.View at Amazon
Installed with a strong adhesive, this window film can absorb window damage from impacts and can help hold glass together after it has shattered. Designed to be installed on the interior side of the windows, the package includes the installation tools as well as step-by-step instructions.View at Amazon
This security window film rejects up to 95 percent of UV rays and provides an additional layer of thermal insulation to your windows. Easy to install, it is designed to stop and/or slow down a burglar by preventing the window glass from falling apart when it shatters. A great choice to help you create burglar-proof windows.View at Amazon
Consider Bright Floodlights
Along with protecting the window itself, it’s also important to help secure and protect the exterior of your building.
One of the best ways to do that is with the effective use of bright floodlights, motion security lights, and solar motion sensors.
If you have an outdoor area that needs to be constantly lit for safety or burglary prevention, then a simple bright floodlight would work best.
They are generally the cheapest option and most models come with a built-in sensor that turns them on in the evenings and back off at daylight.
But these lights are overkill if you don’t need the area light all of the time or if you are concerned with a bright light shining constantly.
Motion Security Lights
Another option is motion security lights. These lights are set to go off when a built-in sensor notices movement in its field of vision. You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensor so it won’t be set off by smaller movements, like those from a cat or other small animal.
Solar motion sensor lights are often a great choice because they don’t require a dedicated power line or outlet to work. They are charged by a small solar panel and since they only light up when the motion sensor is triggered, they don’t use much power in a normal installation.
But no matter which lights you choose, illuminating the area outside of your windows provides another layer of windows protection. Many burglars will pass by buildings that
Here are several choices that we believe are the best selection for most situations:
This floodlight has a motion detector that scans up to 70 degrees or it can be set to function as a normal floodlight. This maintenance-free LED dual-light system is guaranteed to last at least 35,000 hours without replacement. It has 180 degrees of coverage, which makes it an ideal choice for corners or other semi-enclosed areas.View at Amazon
2. LEPOWER 2500LM Motion Security Light, 28W LED Outdoor Security Light, Adjustable Head Flood Lights for Entryways, Stairs, Yard and Garage
This single-light waterproof design has 180 degrees of coverage and its sensitive motion device can cover areas up to 40 yards away. With 1800 lumens of brightness and an estimated life of 50,000 hours, this light can truly be installed and then left to do its business.
There are numerous sensor adjustments that can be made, including the size of the target that sets it off, the delay before lighting up and the motion sensor can also be turned off completely for use as a traditional security light.View at Amazon
These super bright LED lamps swivel and tilt 360° and provide 150-lumen intensity. They have a sensor range of five meters, so they are best suited for placement right next to a secluded window or little-used door. When combined with a camera, they can provide a solid level of protection in back areas that typically don’t get a lot of traffic or attention.View at Amazon
Get A Barking Dog
You don’t have to own a big, angry dog for your pet to be a deterrent to thieves. While an angry pitbull with a cranky disposition will certainly keep robbers at bay, any animal who makes a loud, noticeable bark can help protect your home.
If you are planning on counting on a barking dog for part of your anti-burglary plan, you need to make sure the animal is running free on the property or inside the house.
A loud, vigilant dog won’t help you if it’s locked inside the garage or the spare bedroom when the bad guys try to break in. Along with window guards for the home, an angry pet can be a pretty good deterrent.
So if you are interested in training your dog, you should check our guide – How to train your dog to guard the house.
Start a Neighborhood Watch Program
As you know, the police can’t be everywhere. But your neighbors are nearby all of the time, which makes a neighborhood watch program a very effective way to help prevent crimes of all kinds.
Depending on the area, the neighborhood watch can do everything from simply watching over local houses when the occupants are away to actively patrolling the area.
Neighborhood watch programs are easy to set up. Set up an open meeting with neighbors and collectively decide what you hope to accomplish. Once that’s done, set up a meeting with local police to get their input and let them know you’ll be around.
The most effective neighborhood watches are a collaboration between law enforcement and concerned citizens.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you’re deciding how best to burglar-proof your windows. But this guide has given you all the basics as well as the important things to look for when deciding what plan of protection will work best for you.
No plan can burglar-proof your windows 100 percent of the time. But with this guide, you can develop a plan that will protect you and make the cost of burglarizing your property more trouble than it’s worth.