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17 Ways To Secure Your Home: Home Security Ideas To Protect Your House From Break-Ins

Molly Grace6-minute read
August 31, 2021

We keep our entire lives in our homes. They hold our valuables, our keepsakes, important documents and, for a good portion of the day, us. That’s why it’s so important to keep your home safe and secure from intruders.

This might seem like a big task, but in reality, some of the most effective ways to prevent break-ins and burglaries are really simple. After all, the average homeowner doesn’t generally have to worry about being the victim of some super high-tech, bank heist-style home invasion. Burglars are typically looking for an easy target, and their crimes are often more opportunistic than premeditated. Preventing a break-in can often be as simple as removing the opportunity for someone to break in.

How can you do that? Here are some things you can do to secure your home against intruders.

How To Secure The Interior Of Your Home

First, let’s go over the basics of how to secure your home and its contents.

1. Lock Your Doors And Windows

We know what you’re thinking: “Duh!” But it’s a step that’s easy to forget when you’re rushing out the door in the morning, and leaving your door unlocked makes you an easy target. A lot of burglaries happen simply because the homeowner left a door unlocked.

Leaving windows open or unlocked can make you more likely to get burgled as well. Make it a habit to check each day that your windows, especially ones that are easily accessed from the outside, are shut and locked.

2. Upgrade Your Locks

If you have trouble remembering whether you locked your door or want the ability to control your door lock remotely from an app, you might consider investing in a smart lock to replace your front door’s traditional lock.

If you’re not interested in going the smart home route, it’s still worth taking a look at your current lock and making sure that it’s strong, in good shape and includes a deadbolt component.

3. Strengthen Your Doors

A lock won’t do you much good if it’s protecting a flimsy door. If your front door is hollow and lightweight, you should consider installing a solid wood door.

You might also want to consider replacing your door if it has windows within reaching distance of the interior lock. If an intruder breaks that glass, they can simply reach in and unlock your door from the inside.

You can also strengthen the hardware that attaches your door to the frame. A quick and simple way to do this is by replacing the screws in your door’s strike plate (the metal plate on the doorjamb that the deadbolt goes into). Strike plates are typically installed with really short screws; replacing them with 3-inch screws makes it harder to break or kick the door open.

4. Secure Your Windows

If you have windows that a burglar could easily get into, you’ll want to put some effort into securing them.

You can start by installing extra locks that prevent the window from being raised, such as pin locks or hinged wedge locks. A sensor or alarm can also be installed to alert you when the window is opened.

If you’re serious about security or especially worried about break-ins, you might also consider installing window bars.

5. Secure The Garage

Like locking your front door, shutting your garage door when it doesn’t need to be open is a simple and effective way to reduce your chances of becoming victim to a home intrusion.

Another simple fix? If you keep your car parked in your driveway, and that car is where you keep your remote garage door opener, make sure to store it out of sight, like in a locked glove compartment. Better yet, keep it in your purse or attach it to your keychain.

Additionally, if your garage is attached to your home, always lock the interior door that leads into your home.

6. Keep Valuable Items In A Safe

You may be able to prevent your valuables from being stolen by simply keeping them out of sight. For example, don’t leave expensive jewelry out on your dresser.

For an added level of security, purchase a safe to store your most valuable belongings in. Just make sure it’s a safe that can withstand break-in attempts and isn’t light enough to be carried away.

7. Secure Your Wi-Fi

As your home becomes technologically “smarter,” you won’t just need to secure yourself from physical threats, but virtual ones as well. Hackers can use these devices as a way into your network, where they can gain access to valuable personal information, spy on you or deactivate your security systems.

Use a strong password for your wi-fi and name your network something that doesn’t easily give away your identity.

8. Have A Professional Security System Installed

You can set up a security system yourself for a more affordable, DIY option, but if you’re serious about home security, professionally-installed systems come with additional perks like 24/7 home monitoring.

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How To Protect Your Home From The Outside

Here are a few external measures you can use to help deter break-ins.

1. Install Outdoor Lighting

Lighting up your home’s exterior and yard, especially with motion-activated lighting, can be a powerful deterrent against break-ins.

2. Install Security Cameras

Just having security cameras installed and visible to unwanted visitors can deter would-be burglars from invading your home. If you do experience a break-in, cameras can potentially help police identify the burglar.

3. Implement Some Landscaping

Believe it or not, your landscaping can work to your advantage (or disadvantage) when it comes to keeping your home secure.

For example, thieves can easily hide among overgrown shrubbery, which can be a problem if it’s near a window or other potential point of entry. On the other hand, thorny foliage near these entryways can be to your benefit.

Or if you have a gravel driveway or gravel walkways, the noisiness of footsteps on gravel can be a deterrent as well.

4. Get A Smart Doorbell

A smart or video doorbell will work similarly to a security camera in deterring and, if necessary, recording crime.

These devices take front door monitoring a step further by alerting you when someone’s at your door and letting you see who’s there in real time.

How To Secure Your Home Without An Alarm Or Other Measures

Looking for some simple, low-tech or community-based security solutions? Here are a few things you can do.

1. Get To Know Your Neighborhood

Nosy neighbors can be great crime deterrents, but even neighbors who keep to themselves can help keep your home safe if they know who you are.

Getting to know your neighbors and understanding the relative safety of your neighborhood can go a long way in keeping your home secure.

When your neighbors get to know you and your general habits, they’ll be more likely to notice when something is amiss (like if your home appears to be occupied by someone even though you work late most days).

If you trust them, have your neighbors hold onto a spare set of keys to your home so you don’t have to hide them near your door (where they’re much more likely to be found).

2. Keep Valuables Out Of Sight

Even if you don’t lock them up in a safe, you can still help keep your valuables safe by preventing thieves from learning of their existence.

Use blinds or curtains to prevent people outside from being able to peek into your home and scout out valuable items.

If you have expensive lawn equipment, keep it locked in a shed, or at least hidden out of plain sight.

3. Don’t Post About Vacation Plans

In this day and age, it’s hard to go out of town without announcing it to all of your friends and followers on social media. But for security’s sake, try to wait until you’re back to start posting. Alerting the world that you aren’t home makes you an ideal burglary target.

4. Be Careful Who You Open The Door For

It’s important to keep in mind that most strangers aren’t out to get you, and just because you see an unfamiliar car driving down your street doesn’t mean a burglary is imminent.

However, keep an eye out for concerning behavior. Sometimes, burglars might pretend to be some sort of door-to-door salesperson or repair professional to try and gain access to your home. They might work in pairs, where one talks with you to distract you while another breaks into your home and steals your things.

Be cautious when you get an unexpected knock on the door. If you don’t know the person, talk to them through the door before opening it. If you feel unsafe at all, call the police.

5. Get A Dog

As if you needed another reason to get a dog.

Dogs are great companions, and they can also do a decent job of preventing burglaries, even if they aren’t especially large and intimidating. Just their barking can be enough to make a thief decide that your home isn’t worth it.

Of course, dogs require a lot of love and care. If you’re only interested in improving your home’s security, there are less time-consuming and more cost-effective ways to do that. But if you would truly love to have a dog, their warding off potential criminals is a nice perk.

The Bottom Line

There’s no security method that 100% guarantees you won’t experience a home invasion, but as you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to make it much less likely.

Remember, burglars are looking for easy targets. Even really simple steps like keeping your doors locked can lower your risk of burglary.

Next, check out our article on what to do after a home invasion.

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Molly Grace

Molly Grace is a staff writer focusing on mortgages, personal finance and homeownership. She has a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University. You can follow her on Twitter @themollygrace.