If you’re looking for ways how to protect your home from burglary, you’re not alone. Home invasions might seem like something that only happens to other people, but a burglar strikes somewhere every 25.7 seconds.
Statistically, it still may seem unlikely that your home would be the one hit, but you probably don’t want to take any chances. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to secure your home that isn’t particularly expensive or time-consuming. Let’s take a look at some of the ways burglars might try to get into your house.
How Do Burglars Get In?
Many break-ins are crimes of opportunity, so it may not come as a surprise that many burglars simply enter through an unlocked front door. Unlocked (or worse, open) first-floor windows are another common point of entry.
Of course, locked doors and windows won’t deter a determined burglar. Some are able to use crowbars or lock picking kits to get in. Others will be able to use a garage door as a point of entry. On occasion, a burglar will even enter a house via a second-story window about two percent of burglars get into a house this way.
Of course, while some burglars may try smashing windows or breaking down doors to get in, most prefer a more subtle approach. Many burglars disguise themselves as delivery employees or drivers so they can explain their presence in or near your home if they’re confronted. Some even carry dog treats to calm down agitated guard dogs.
Is Your Home About to Be a Target?
So how does a burglar choose a house to hit? Obviously, walking down a street and trying doors would look suspicious, so burglars have other means of selecting a home. In many cases, they look for signs that the homeowners are gone. Here are some of the things they might look for:
- Overgrown lawns–If your home’s lawn looks unkempt compared to the neighbors, potential burglars may assume you’re out of town and your home is an easy target.
- Trash cans left at the curb–In some cases, homeowners will take out the trash before a vacation and leave the cans at the curb. To a would-be burglar, stationary trash cans are a good potential indicator that a homeowner isn’t around.
- No alarm system–Many burglars will pass over homes that have an alarm system. If most homes around you have a security system and yours do not, it may be a more likely target.
- Damage–A home that looks damaged or dilapidated on the outside will usually be easier to break into. Keeping your home in good repair is an important way to deter burglars.
12 Effective and Easy Ways to Secure Your Home
1. Secure All Doors
Now that we’ve been through some information on burglars and the methods they use, let’s look at some of the ways you can secure your home.
By making these things a habit, you can reduce your risk of suffering a home break-in.
This one probably sounds obvious, but securing a door goes beyond just locking it.
For instance, getting a video doorbell is an option when you want to be able to check in on your home even when you’re at work or otherwise away.
If you want additional security, a keyless deadbolt makes it harder for would-be burglars to break in.
A door sensor is another option for when you need further security. Most sensors are connected to an alarm that will sound if someone tries to break in.
If you’re concerned about someone physically breaking down your door, it also may be worthwhile to invest in a door security bar.
This type of bar isn’t designed to replace a door lock, but it can offer some extra support to reduce your risk of a break-in. Door bars are especially useful for sliding doors–if a burglar manages to open the latch, the bar will still prevent them from opening the door all the way.
Here are some tips to prevent your door from being broken into:
- Install a video doorbell
- Consider a keyless deadbolt or smart lock
- Add a door sensor
- Invest in a door security bar
Ring Video Doorbell ProView at Amazon
2. Lock the Windows
Locking your windows is also an obvious way to keep your home secure. But if you need a few additional layers of security, window security film and possibly even windows protection may be good to add.
Window security film is designed to reinforce glass and reduce the risk of breakage.
If break-ins are a major concern, you might want to consider adding window bars, especially on the ground floor.
Because window bars would prevent anyone from climbing in a window, the bars usually discourage burglars from breaking any windows.
Window bars can detract from your home’s aesthetic, so you may understandably want to avoid them.
If you’d rather not spring for window bars, you may want to consider installing a glass break sensor or two. These are alarms designed to go off when glass is broken.
In many cases, the alarm is enough to scare off someone who is trying to break in. You may still need to replace your broken window or glass door, but by scaring off a burglar, you can potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in lost property.
Here are some tips to help you make your windows burglar-proof:
- Consider a reinforced glass with window security film
- Add window bars
- Install a glass break sensor
3. Light Up the Landscape
If your home is in an area that gets very dark at night, investing in some quality lighting can go a long way toward keeping you secure. One affordable way to do this is by choosing solar security lights.
With these lights, pre-installed solar panels allow them to charge during the day. Once the sun sets, the lights can run on solar power. This option lets you avoid the hassle of having to plug in lights, and it’s also an energy-efficient way to keep yourself safe.
You may also be interested in motion-activated lights or lights on a timer. Motion-activated lights are a great deterrent, as they will come on if someone steps onto your property. If you set lights on a timer, they will switch on and off automatically at a time you choose. Having a timer is a wise choice, especially if you aren’t often at home.
Lighting up your yard isn’t such a bad idea. Here are some tips:
- Place Solar security lights
- Consider motion-activated lights or lights on a timer
4. Secure the Garage
When you think of home automation, you probably think of garage doors first. Many homeowners rely on garage door openers to open and shut the garage, and many of them keep a garage door opener in the car.
However, if you park outside of the garage, be sure to bring the opener inside–if a would-be burglar gets it from your car, a garage break-in becomes a distinct possibility.
Experienced burglars tend to be good at getting into locked garages, so it’s wise to invest in some extra security in this area.
A storage unit lock is a good, inexpensive way to add an extra layer of security to your garage.
If you’ve invested in full home automation, you can open or close your garage door from your smartphone, and you should receive an alert if the garage door is tampered with.
5. Set Up a Security System
Whether you create a DIY security system or purchase a ready-made security system, having good home security is essential.
Of course, what type of security system you choose will depend on where you live and what type of home you have. If you live in a high-crime area, it’s important to invest in a more thorough system.
If you aren’t sure what type of system to get, there are plenty of resources to consult. As a starting point, it may be helpful to talk to the local police.
Because they will be most familiar with the types of break-ins that happen in your area, police may be able to help you choose which type of security system would be best.
You may have heard some homeowners say that even having a sign for a security system helps prevent break-ins.
While this may be true, we don’t recommend it. It’s wise to invest in quality home security–if you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a break-in or attempted break-in, you’ll probably be thankful you took the time to have one installed.
6. Lock Down Your Wi-Fi Network
“Smart homes” have become more and more popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. However, when most of your home security is connected to wi-fi, it opens up new avenues for burglars.
We won’t get into too many cybersecurity details here, but a good place to start is hiding your network–if criminals can’t see it, they’re less likely to try to hack it.
A parental control router is another good way to add some more security. Make sure you have strong network passwords, too.
7. Eliminate Hiding Places
For our purposes, “hiding places” are anywhere a burglar might hide. For instance, you probably don’t want to have a dense thicket right beneath your window. It’s fine to have a landscaped lawn but be sure to keep everything trimmed.
While you’re eliminating hiding places, it’s also a good idea to make sure you aren’t making anything easier for burglars.
Don’t leave ladders out, and make sure to keep sheds locked up. Burglars will often use stools or ladders that homeowners leave out as a way to get into doors or windows, and sheds and other outbuildings can be excellent hiding places.
8. Install Cameras
Security cameras are one of the most popular ways to protect your home. If you’re unlucky enough to have a break-in occur, a camera also might help you and law enforcement to identify the thieves. Also here are the best places to install security cameras.
Of course, not all security cameras are created equal.
Here are a few things to look for if you’re planning on purchasing one:
- Motion detection—Some cameras will turn on and begin recording as soon as motion is detected.
- Night vision—Plenty of burglaries happen at night, and night vision can make it much easier to pick out identifying features.
- Two-way talk—Some security cameras even let you address an intruder (and hear anything they say back).
- Local or cloud storage—Depending on the brand you choose, some cameras offer a set amount of storage, either on the device itself, an SD card, or a cloud. This is important if you think you may need to access the footage to show to law enforcement.
- Battery or Solar powered—Some cameras must be plugged in, but many are designed for outdoor use. To avoid the hassle of a plugged-in camera, you may want to look for those that run on batteries or ones that can run purely on solar power.
Arlo Pro 3 – Camera SystemView at Amazon
9. Keep your Valuables in a Burglary Safe
Contingency planning is one of the most important things when it comes to home security.
The ultimate goal is to prevent burglars from getting into your home. However, if someone does manage to break in, you obviously don’t want to make it easy for them to steal your valuables.
One of the best ways to prevent theft is to lock up valuables in a burglary safe.
Here are some of the features you may want to look for:
- Fire-resistant and waterproof–You probably won’t have your home burn down during a break-in, but fire-resistant and waterproof safes tend to be more durable and harder to break into
- Heavy–You, don’t want a thief to be able to run away with a safe and then take their time opening it, so it’s a good idea to get something heavy. If you only have a small safe or a portable safe, you may want to invest in a safe you can lock to the floor. Safes of any size can be secured with cable locks, which are another great option.
- Redundant locks—Safes that have a couple of different locks are harder to get into, making them great for security. If a burglar becomes frustrated with trying to open a safe, they may just give up and leave to avoid getting caught.
Hollon Safe 2 Hour Burglary and Fire SafeView at Amazon
10. Use Home Automation
The advent of home automation has opened up many doors when it comes to security. For the technologically-minded, home automation means that climate control, lighting, and more can be controlled through a centralized system.
For some, home automation also extends to home security–homeowners can often arm and disarm security systems from an app, and most home security systems let you access live video from anywhere.
Just like we mentioned above, though, it’s important to make sure that your home wi-fi network is secure.
Home automation is convenient and offers opportunities for enhanced security, but if burglars are able to get into your network, automation may even make a burglary easier.
If you’re interested in home automation but don’t know a whole lot about technology, it may be wise to consult with an expert who can make sure your home is secure.
11. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Whether you have an organized neighborhood watch or just conduct informal checks around the neighborhood, having a connection with your neighbors can help keep your home safe.
If you talk to your neighbors on a regular basis, they may be more likely to contact you if something seems amiss.
If your neighborhood has a social media group, it may also be a good idea to join. Often, neighbors will make posts if they see a suspicious person or vehicle, so you’ll know when it’s important to keep an eye out.
12. Watch What You Say Online
Speaking of social media, this useful tool is sadly also used by burglars. In order to make sure you keep your home as safe as possible, make sure you avoid mentioning being out of town or on vacation on social media, especially if your profiles are public.
Intelligent burglars want to minimize their chances of getting caught, and some will go to great lengths to scout out an appropriate house to target. If you have children, make sure that they also know to not post about not being home on social media.
The possibility of a home invasion isn’t something most people want to think about. However, you don’t need to be paranoid or constantly on edge. By carefully and thoroughly making sure your home is protected, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of becoming a target.
Be sure to do your research, take your time, and look at your home the way a burglar would. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either–if you’re relatively new to home security, the input of someone more experienced can make a big difference. With some time and effort, you’ll be able to rest assured that your family and your home are secure.