Whether you’re moving into a new house or simply want to make sure that your home security is as effective as it can possibly be, you can take a lot of simple precautions that will only take minutes of your time to put in place, yet can go a long way towards making sure your home is criminal proof.
It may be difficult to ensure completely that your house is safe from professional thieves, but almost all break ins are done by amateur who can easily be stopped in their tracks with some everyday techniques.
Simple And Effective Home Security Tips
Door/Entry Point Security
To be sure that you’re secure from a break in attempt, you want to make absolutely sure that first and foremost any entrance points are secure.
This of course involves making sure that all doors are locked when going to sleep or leaving the house unattended, but you can do more to really make sure that they’re secure from someone whose absolutely determined to get in.
1. Lock the doors and windows – As I said, this may seem simple enough, but in all truth many criminals break and enter by simply waltzing casually through an open door or window.
Even if you may only be leaving for a short amount of time, take the time to make sure everything is locked.
That short trip up to the store is plenty of time for someone to get in, grab some valuables, and be a mile away before you even realize that you’re a victim.
2. High Quality Deadbolts – One of the first (and cheaper) things you’ll want to invest in for your own home security needs is a quality deadbolt for each door into the house. You’ll want to preferably get some which have beveled casings.
These will stop criminals who would attempt to use a special pair of pliers which have the ability to tear cylinder pins out of your locks in the hands of an experienced burglar.
3. Bullet Proof Strike Plates – If you have a front door or otherwise that has a small window like many people, the best way to make sure that a burglar doesn’t end up breaking through the glass and fishing either his arm or a tool down to unlock the door is to have a strike plate on the window.
These are bullet and shatter proof windows that are secured with large screws specialized to not succumb to force.
These on any small windows in your house will do wonders for ensuring that even the most determined burglar won’t be able to enter.
4. Sliding Glass Doors – If you’re also like me and have a sliding glass door, this can present a problem as well.
Most of these are burglar/break proof as you can imagine with the size, they would be an easy target to shatter for someone attempting to make a forced entry.
Other than shattering the door, there’s also the possibility of the lock being picked.
Even if the burglar is able to pick the lock, there’s a simple solution that will keep anyone from entering from the outside – simply place a long wooden or metal pipe/bar along the length of the track the door is mounted on.
Because of the blockage, without being able to reach in and remove the bar there’s simply no way the criminal could force entry.
This is also why it’s essential to ensure that the bar is as long as the track, because even if it’s only 5 – 10 inches short or so, that may be enough space for the intruder to reach in and remove the bar.
5. Secure doors from being kicked in – The majority of doors on your average residential home are simply held in place with a wooden frame and molding.
Although it can take some significant force, these aren’t all that difficult for someone with a strong kick to break down.
Once the hardware holding the screws and locking mechanism into the wooden frame breaks, the criminal can easily make an entrance uninhibited.
You can prevent this with a heavy duty high quality metal door which attaches to the door frame with four or more long (3 inches or more) wood screws.
This will withstand any force that any human (or couple of humans) could possibly muster without the assistance of machinery or special tools.
6. Secure your door hinges – Take a look at the doors at all of the entrances to your home and check where the hinges are located.
To be truly secure, you need to ensure that those hinges are on the inside of your home.
This is because all a thief has to to in order to gain entry to your home is knock out the pin holding the hinge together.
After these are all knocked out, the door will literally come right down.
The front door might not be too much of a concern, especially if you live on a main road as the work involved might not take too long, but enough to dissuade anyone from trying it right on a main road.
If you (and no one else) happens to be at home at the time, a dedicated criminal will probably have plenty of time to take your door right off the hinges and rib you blind.
This is something so easily overlooked, but I criminal who knows what he’s doing will have an easy time spotting this blunder.
Window Security Measures
Windows are often an even bigger issue. They don’t always come to mind as an entry point in our minds immediately, and criminals use this fact all the time to break into unsuspecting homeowners property.
An open window that’s visible from another yard, the street, etc. is an invitation for a burglar to come in and snoop around your home after you’ve left.
You can place bars or other anti break in devices on windows, but make sure that they can be easily removed from the inside as to comply fully with the fire code.
It should be common practice to close and lock any windows at night or if you’ll be away during the day, but there’s more that you can do to totally ensure that your windows are secure.
7. Install secondary blocking devices – Since most windows you see typically use latches instead of locks to keep them shut, you should utilize some sort of “back up” secondary measure to ensure that it can’t be opened from the outside.
For horizontal windows which slide, you could use a solution as simple and inexpensive as a wooden dowel, stick, or metal bar on the track to prevent being forced open just as we described above in the case of the sliding glass door.
For windows which slide open vertically, metal pins through the window frame will prevent anyone from forcing the window open.
8. Alarm/warning decals on doors and windows – This goes for any point of entry including all doors and windows.
Many professional home security camera systems or alarm system services offer decals or stickers that you can place on these locations that warn criminals that your home is protected by a professional security system.
These are an excellent deterrent if you use a service such as this, but you can also purchase generic decals that indicate that your home is protected.
Either way, warning an intruder that he’s about to make a very big mistake in attempting a break in on your property can go a long way towards stopping a break in attempt before it even happens.
9. Frost garage windows – In line with the above concerning garage safety, be sure to frost your garage windows once cold weather begins to take hold of your location.
This way, anyone trying to peer through the windows won’t be able to see a thing inside, and therefore won’t even be able to tell if your vehicle is parked inside at the time or not, which could potentially deter a criminal from attempting a break in to your home considering they wouldn’t know if there was anyone they’d be coming toe to toe with inside the home.
10. Ensure windows left open 6 inches or so can’t be tampered with – For ventilation purposes, you may wish to leave a window open a few inches during the day while at home, or even at night while sleeping in a bedroom. In this case (especially if it’s a ground floor window) you should go outside and do all that you can to attempt to break in by removing the blocking device, unlocking the door or window, etc. This will reveal any flaws in your security systems, at least as it pertains to your windows.
Outdoor Home Security Precautions
Keeping the home itself safe from a break in through the doors and windows is essential to the security of your home and family, but you can avoid a break in attempt altogether by making it well known that you’re utilizing home security cameras and/or home alarm systems.
Openly active or thorough placement of security camera systems and the like will probably deter 99% of criminals before any of your home security equipment or preventative measures have to truly be put to the test, thankfully.
Having your domain on the perimeter of the house itself is just as important as keeping the entry points secure.
11. Motion Sensor Lights or LED Flood Lights – Not only will these make it difficult for a criminal to approach and enter your home unnoticed, they’ll probably completely deter the culprit from even making an attempt in the first place.
These sort of lights are standard with many modern security camera systems available for purchase at the moment, but you can also buy motion sensor lights on their own for a very reasonable cost.
These LED flood lights are capable of detecting motion, and can be programmed to trigger at any sense of movement. Once the motion sensors detect something, the bright LED flood lights will spring in to action like a spotlight over your entire front yard.
This surprise attack will send even the most hardened criminals running with their tails between their legs, and even if it didn’t, the illuminated home security cameras in their faces would probably be the last straw.
These can make an excellent add on to your existing outdoor security cameras.
12. Don’t let your landscaping act as cover – Many homeowners choose to place elaborate shrubbery or bushes around windows and other entrances to the home.
While this can cosmetically improve your home, be sure that you’re not simply creating cover for a criminal to snoop through to get up to your home.
Windows heavily shrouded by bushes and trees which in a sense “shroud” the home from the main road or visible path of your home security camera systems and can provide just the safety net for the crook to fall back into when the LED flood lights start up.
13. Hide any wiring to your security systems – Most of the home security equipment available to purchase today is available in a wireless model, but should you be making use of a security camera system that has wires that have to be ran outside, do all that you can to ensure that these are hidden from sight and would be difficult for someone trying to find them to locate.
Crafty criminals might be tipped off by outdoor wiring that you’re running a security system, but can just as easily cut the wires which are powering your equipment.
One approach you can take concerning keeping your wires out of site is to build a system of PVC piping that your wires can be fed through, which will keep them safe from criminals trying to cut them as well as the outdoor elements that could potentially have a degrading effect on the wires over time.
Tip: If possible, consider to use wireless security camera system instead. No more hiding!
14. Keep garage doors locked – If you’re like myself an have an unattached garage, something many people fail to do is make sure that the door(s) is locked at all times, even if your vehicle isn’t in it at the time.
Garages, and especially unattached garages, are often seen as open doors by thieves who know that they can poke around in their at night when everyone is asleep without anyone even noticing.
Even without a vehicle present, garages present a valuable target for criminals, as they are often full of normal as well as power tools, chemicals, etc.
15. Home alarm systems – Having a reliable home alarm system is an important element to securing your property on top of your security cameras and other crime deterrents.
You have many options in this area, from a professional service which you pay a monthly fee, to a simple motion detector which can sound an alarm for you.
A monthly service which will be alerted the moment of a break in can contact you to ensure you’re alright as well as contacting the proper authorities for immediate response.
If you’re doing your home security correctly, you may not feel the need for a full fledged professional servicer, although they do provide many benefits as I previously mentioned.
One of the most important aspects that your home alarm system can feature is an audible signal, for more reasons than one.
First of all, an extremely loud buzzing or ringing that people can hear a few houses away is probably going to send any criminal heading for the hills, especially if its in the middle of the night while the occupants of the home are upstairs sleeping.
The neighbors will also probably hear the buzz or ringing as well if its loud enough and in the middle of the night, so the threat of neighbors alerting the police may also enter the intruders mind.
Finally, it can serve to wake you the homeowner up to defend yourself or catch the criminal before he’s able to get away!
16. Spare Keys – It’s commonplace for many people to leave a spare key to their home under the doormat, a flower pot, or on an obscure window sill.
Unfortunately, it is not good for your home security as many criminals know this as well and will likely check these spots out before attempting to break into the home with force.
Your best bet is to hide the spare key in a small container and bury it nearby.
This way, in the case that its truly needed, you can dig it up very quickly, but no one would ever suspect to find it.
A couple of inches of dirt dug up with a little garden shovel will do just fine for this purpose.
17. Always appear to be home – Research has proven that the summer months of July and August are the times when you are most likely to be burglarized.
Because your everyday criminal, as I explained above, is going to be an amateur with no real experience getting past people or quietly getting into your home while you’re sleeping.
The average criminal would rather wait until people aren’t at home so that he can get in and out with no regard for disturbing the occupants of the home, and therefore if you can make it appear as if you (or at least someone) is home at all times, you are far less likely to be the victim of a criminal break in.
This can be done with the use of timers and remote controls that can switch lights, televisions, and other light emitting electronics on and off when you’re away so as to give the appearance that there’s activity in the house taking place.
Most people simply won’t risk coming face to face with an angry homeowner who could possibly be wielding a weapon.
18. Identify valuables for later retrieval – If you’ve done everything you possibly can to the greatest of your ability, you’ll hopefully be fortunate enough to never have to deal with the sad situation of a burglar getting away with some (or many) of your valuables.
In case you should ever become a victim of a burglary however, there’s some things you can do to perpetuate the possibility of having your things returned.
Many people suggest placing a social security number in a hidden spot on the item so that it can be identified as yours at a later time should it be recovered.
Some locations police departments also offer a similar service utilizing a drivers license number instead.
Regardless of what you do, make sure that there is a clear indication on the item that it’s yours and that you can later identify it using this marking.
19. Coordinate with neighbors – One of the most valuable resources you can have for keeping you, your loved ones, and your possessions safe is trustworthy neighbors who will keep an eye out for you.
Whether you’re new to the neighborhood or have been there for years, you should really make an attempt to get to know your neighbors at least on a basic level and earn their trust, while they earn yours in return.
Make an open agreement to keep an eye on each others homes, especially while away on vacation or during the day while the occupants may be at work or school.
Offer to pick up mail or park in the driveway to simulate that someone is home while they’re away.
Simple actions like these with your immediate neighbors can form a mini security perimeter around your network of houses which can be invaluable without costing you more than a little of your time.
20. Take a look around yourself for flaws – After all is said and done and you’re fairly certain your home is a modern day fortress that would take a bomb squad to break into, take a real look around your property for any potential flaws or holes in your home security systems.
Put yourself in the mind of a criminal and look at your house as a target that you’d do anything to get into – Where are the most accessible entries?
Is there potential to pick any locks or jimmy any doors?
Are there dark, hidden places around your property which are unmonitored and that someone waiting for you to put your guard down might be able to shroud themselves in and wait for the perfect moment?
These are all good things to look for and think about, because there could be obvious chinks in your armor that are unnoticeable from your perspective as the homeowner.
21. Weapons – Fortunately for me, I’ve never been the victim of a home invasion, burglary, etc., and if you do all of the above and have some decent luck, you’ll never have to worry about it either.
However, even with all of the most thorough evaluations of your own home security, you could wind up with a criminal breaking into your home in the middle of the night.
If you and your families life are at risk, what can you do while awaiting the proper authorities to arrive?
I’ve never been a violent person and would never suggest violence as a first or even second reaction to any problem, but I can’t control the actions of others and if another man is threatening the security of me and my family, I wouldn’t hesitate to use deadly force to incapacitate the criminal.
I can certainly respect the opinion of anyone who would be opposed to keeping a firearm or other deadly weaponry in the home, but I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I could have possibly prevented something horrible from happening to my loved ones had I had a gun instead of a knife to bring to the fight.
Do you have any idea to improve home security that you want to add here? Let me know what you think by commenting below.
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