Millions of home invasions and break-ins happen every year across the US and worldwide. Most people simply cross their fingers and hope that they will escape this worrisome statistic year after year. But eventually, it catches up with even the greatest devotees of Goddess of Fortune.
If you’re reading this website, you’re already more aware of security threats than most people. But what will you do with this awareness is the more important question? Will you improve the security of your home or cross your fingers and hope for the best?
This article is a collection of 43 tips that are frequently recommended by security experts. Some of these methods have more to do with day-to-day behavior. Others require installing security devices, most of which can be purchased online. Those devices include improved locks, cameras, alarms etc.
After reading this article, you will become an amateur home security expert and will know exactly what is required to secure your home. In other words, you will be the go-to guy at dinner parties, handing out useful information that everyone needs (even if they don’t know it yet).
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of these methods. In reality, no one does, not even the paranoid Mel Gibson character from Conspiracy Theory. But I’m 100% positive that you will find at least 5 of them very useful for turning your home into a burglar’s worst nightmare.
Top 43 Home Security Tips
1. Lock your doors and windows
It goes without saying that unlocked doors and windows are a major vulnerability. But luckily they’re the easiest one to solve. Especially ensure that your garage door is properly closed, even while you’re at home but in other rooms of the house.
2. Install deadbolt locks on outside doors
There are two common locks used for outside doors. The first one is a spring bolt lock, which is the weaker option. It uses a spring to hold the bolt in place. It allows retraction by applying force to the bolt itself, so it can be opened by using force from the outside. This is why it’s more vulnerable to break-ins.
On the other hand, a deadbolt (also known as dead lock) is a more secure option because it can only be opened by rotating the key. It cannot be moved to open position by applying force from the outside.
You can have both types on the same door. Most entry doors to buildings have a combination of a spring-bolt lock and a deadbolt. But you can also have only one, and in that case the deadbolt is a way better option.
Deadbolts are pretty affordable, but there are different models such as a simple key deadbolt or a smart home deadbolt where you enter the code in order to gain entry. There are also some deadbolts that feature both a key lock and smartcode technology. This is useful in case you’ve lost your key or don’t want to search for it in your bag or pockets.
The Kiwkset 909 Smartcode Electronic Deadbolt (link to Amazon) features both a key lock and a code option and is a very popular deadbolt with home owners, with over 1000 positive user reviews. If you’re not interested in having the code entry option, you can get a simple keyed entry deadbolt such as Kwikset 660 Single Cylinder Deadbolt which is also high quality but more affordable.
3. Inspect the locks every once in a while
If you have a small house or apartment with only 1 or 2 doors that you frequently use, you’ll probably notice broken parts on a lock immediately. But if you have a large house or a mansion with many entry points that you don’t use very often, it’s good to do a regular checkup of the locks just to see if they’re working properly or not.
This is especially recommended if you’re using electronic locks that require an entry code, since power shutdowns can affect their performance in the long run and maintenance might be required after months or years of use.
4. Classic alarm system
Classic alarm systems are still indispensable for home security. They’re cheap (less than $10/piece), easy to set up and effective. You can place an alarm on each exterior door and window (especially ground-floor windows). Or at least those that are more vulnerable.
How do you know which doors and windows are vulnerable? Use these two criteria:
First is the material they’re made from and the lock. If they’re made from weaker material such as hollow wood or glass, they can easily be smashed through by using physical force. And if there’s no advanced lock such as a deadbolt lock, barricade, or a smart lock, it might be vulnerable to lock-picking or brute force.
The second vulnerability is the location of the door. A door leading to the backyard is typically more vulnerable than the front door which can be seen from the street. The same logic can be applied to windows as well.
Alarm recommendation: If you’re looking for a really simple and easy to setup alarm, you will find the Doberman Security Alarm to be an adequate solution. It’s very affordable (less than $10 per unit) and easy to install. Simply stick it on any surface you want, turn it on by pulling the switch and you’re done.
It runs on small batteries so even in case of a power outage it will still work. This is useful because thieves will often look for outdoor wires to cause a power outage and prevent plugged-in security systems from working.
When Doberman detects any serious vibrations on the surface, it will produce 100 dB of sound that will wake up you and your neighbors.
However, Doberman will not alert you if the breach happens while you’re not at home because it doesn’t have auto-dialer or any programmable features. And you have to leave one entry point unsecured if you’re leaving the house because it will be triggered when you close or open the door.
If you feel that the lack of these features could bother you with a Doberman alarm, you may want to invest in an alarm system that can dial phone numbers or send alerts through WiFi in case of a breach. And that you can program to turn on and turn off when you want.
For these extra features I recommend getting the Fortress Security WiFi and Landline Security Alarm System. It has many useful features, such as:
- fully programmable main unit and sensors
- Auto-dialer function that will call up to 6 designated phone numbers in case of a security breach
- Door/Window contacts detect any forceful break-in
- Passive motion sensors detect any suspicious movement or activity
- Loud, 110dB alarm alerts neighbors and deters potential intruders
So those are the two main alarms I’ll recommend. I have a Doberman and I’ve heard great things about Fortress Security, and they have the best prices as well.
5. Home security camera
If you’re going to buy a security camera, buy one that has WiFi connectivity, motion sensor, night vision and will send quick alerts on your electronic device in case the motion sensor is triggered. There are 5 reasons why this type of a home security camera can be useful:
- you can check your home through the camera at any time
- if you have enough storage space you can record everything and check later in case anything happens
- the camera’s motion sensor will get triggered if someone approaches the area that it’s monitoring and you’ll receive a quick alert
- it’s a powerful deterrent
- it’s cool to have a security camera
I think no one will dispute the last point! Having said that, you may be wondering if a camera that has all of these features has to be expensive? Not at all. In fact, there are many security cameras that have all of these features and cost less than $100
Security Camera Recommendation: The one that I frequently recommend and is the most popular at the moment is Zmodo Outdoor Wifi Camera. You can get two of these great cameras on Amazon for less than $70. They’re simple to setup and you can install the app to monitor the camera and receive alerts on any electronic device that supports WiFi. It’s also Alexa compatible so you can use voice control. It also comes with a whole month of free Cloud storage space for recording.
Installing a security camera is simple: Find the area you want to monitor, decide where you want to place the camera (preferably somewhere above the door/window), drill a small hole in the wall to pull the wire through and secure it to the wall with screws that come with the package. Then install the app and set up other settings to connect with other devices. Now you have a reliable security camera monitoring your home 24/7.
6. Secure your garage door
Garage doors are especially vulnerable to break ins. That’s because of a technique called “door fishing”. First the thief will push the door inward to create a small gap on top of the door. Then he will use a wire hook to fish for the release mechanism in order to open the door.
On top of that, you might sometimes leave the garage door by mistake, or it might not close properly, leaving gaps that can be exploited.
You can secure your garage door by using an automatic garage door opener/closer. There are also simple techniques for preventing door fishing, such as making a plastic zip tie lock or a lock shield from a piece of wood.
Check out my garage door security article for the best methods and how to apply them to your particular situation.
7. Secure sliding (glass) doors
Sliding doors, and especially those made from glass are the most vulnerable to break-ins. Often the built-in latch that is supposed to keep the door in place can be manipulated from the outside. You can try this at home. Close the sliding door, then go outside and jiggle it a bit to dislocate it. You’ll probably be able to open it. And just remember that a burglar won’t be as gentle about it.
So the first priority is to get an extra lock that will keep the door in place regardless of the latch. There are many great locks for a sliding door. The best option is to install a reliable double bolt lock. You can also use a security bar or a door barricade which will prevents the door from sliding when they’re in place.
But if you have a sliding door that’s made primarily from glass, you also need to reinforce the glass, because it can easily get smashed. Fortunately, many sliding doors today are built from double-pane glass which is obviously thicker than single-pane glass. Yours might be as well. But even in that case, it’s still not even close to being shatter-proof. It will only take a few extra beatings and produce more noise in the process.
In order to reinforce the glass, my best recommendation is to cover it with a security window film. Security window film is usually 5-10 mil thick and it uses a strong adhesive. It sticks to the glass. So if someone tries to smash the glass, the film will keep it in place. There are even some window films that are almost completely shatter-proof. These are used by government institutions, banks and large companies, but also regular homeowners who are willing to pay a bit more for full security.
The third and final security issue with glass doors is that they provide a clear view of the things you have stored inside your home. In case of a vacant house, it becomes impossible to keep the impression that the house is occupied if the potential burglar can see through the glass door. This is especially true if the door is facing the backyard and is less noticeable.
To protect your privacy from prying eyes you can cover the glass with privacy window film. Another great option is to use a curtain that is not see-through. My favorite curtains are blackout curtains, because they’re thick enough to ensure complete privacy. On top of that, blackout curtains provide other beneficial properties, such as noise-blocking and thermal insulation.
Here’s my full guide on how to secure a sliding glass door. In this guide I share more information about these ideas and a few other useful ideas. I also explain the best security devices (locks, window film etc.) you can use in order to make your door impenetrable.
8. Reinforce windows
To reinforce a window means to make it harder for burglars to come inside by opening it or smashing it. There are many security products you can use for this purpose.
Reinforce the glass: My first recommendation is security window film, which will make it much more difficult to break the window. This is the same advice that I gave for glass doors, and it’s pretty obvious why it works.
The window film can be high quality and shatterproof, or it can be of lesser quality and its purpose is to keep the glass shards in place so that it takes longer to break through the window. In either case it’s a very useful addition to any glass surface.
If you don’t want to use window film for some reason, you can replace the entire glass panel with a stronger glass such as tempered, laminated or bullet-proof glass. All of these glass types are harder to break than the regular single-pane glass that’s typically found on home windows.
Improve the locks: The second thing you can do is improve the window locks. If you have a sliding window, you can use a simple window wedge or a security bar to prevent the window from sliding. For regular windows it’s typically enough to lock the window from the inside, but you can also pull a security bar or a strong wooden bar between the handles to make forced entry much harder.
Metal grills: If you can mount metal grills to cover the window, it’s a great security solution. Unless the burglar can cut through the metal grills or remove them by using tools he won’t have a chance of coming inside even if he breaks the glass panels.
Make the window less accessible: Planting large thorny bushes by a ground-floor window will make it harder for burglars to access the window. However, the bush has to be large enough and close to the window so that there’s no way of going around it without pain and suffering.
To see more awesome tips and how to implement these, check out my full window security guide.
9. Make a vacant house or apartment seem occupied
Being away from home for too long may attract undue attention. People start to notice that no one is coming and going, that the leaves are piling up in the yard and on the porch, that the lights are never on and no one is making any noise etc.
All of this will make your vacant home a burglar’s paradise and it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to break in.
So how can you create an illusion that you’re at home when you’re not? Here are the best measures you can take:
- Have a friend or a relative drive to your house every once in a while and check up on it. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also create doubt that the house isn’t actually vacant.
- Make the lights go on and off periodically. You can do this by installing smart lightbulbs that can be controlled remotely by using Wifi or Alexa technology, like the one on the photo.
- Cover the windows and glass doors with blackout curtains or privacy window film so that people can’t see inside and to check if you’re home or not. But leave at least one or of the upstairs windows uncovered and use the trick with the light bulb so that it seems like there’s someone at home.
- Clean your yard of leaves, branches and other stuff periodically or before leaving. Or hire someone to do it for you while you’re away.
- Cancel newspaper and other mail delivery. Even then, you might receive advertisement in your mailbox or it’ll be left on the porch. It can stack up pretty quickly, depending on where you live. So asking someone to throw it away every week or so can be helpful.
10. Use warning signs and stickers
I highly recommend placing different deterrents around your home. Because the best way to secure your home is to stop the thief from even trying to break in. There are many warning signs and stickers that represent different things:
- guard dog
- 24 hour video surveillance
- protected by _____ (security company name)
- protected by 2nd amendment security
- neighborhood watch
Check out these different warning signs and stickers on Amazon and find the ones you like best. Then showcase them around your property, on the fence, on the gate, on windows or the outside doors. You don’t have to go over the top, but make sure that they’re visible to someone walking by your property.
It doesn’t matter too much if you’re bluffing because you’re using them primarily as a deterrent, but it’s also better if you can back up your warning with real security devices. So consider using the other tips on this list to ensure that it’s not an empty bluff..
11. Reduce hiding spots
A messy garden or backyard can be full of hiding spots. A burglar could wait inside before you leave your house or shut off the lights to sneak inside. Trees and large shrubbery can also provide potential burglars with a safe path to your home, which allows them to inspect the entry points and locks. They could even break the lock or a basement window for example, and come back later. Hiding in the backyard or garden can also allow them to monitor your activities more easily and plan the burglary based on your habits.
This might seem too far-fetched and perhaps it is. It depends on how large and expensive your property is. If you’re not too well off chances are that burglars will not go through that much work. And if your yard is not that big and your house can be easily observed from the street it also doesn’t matter too much. But if you have a large property, messy surroundings with a lot of greenery or large tools, vehicles and sheds can be a major security liability. So cleaning up your yard, especially by cutting down the overgrown vegetation will reduce hiding spots and prevent burglars from sneaking up to a door or a window undetected.
As I mentioned in a previous tip, having large thorny bushes next to your ground-floor windows is a good thing because it blocks the path. So that’s really the main exception to this rule. The second exception is if the shrubbery or a fence is actually making it harder to enter inside the yard or garden. But all the large bushes, shrubs and trees that are inside should be considered a security liability and perhaps require addressing with properly positioned motion sensoring outdoor security cameras, floodlights and similar devices.
12. Use motion sensing floodlights
One of the best way to scare off burglars is by shining a powerful light on them. This is what floodlights are for. When someone enters the area that the motion sensor is monitoring, the bright light will illuminate the entire area. This can make sneaking undetected to a door or window very difficult.
Floodlights are often used to monitor the garage door, front door, sliding glass doors (especially those in the back). It’s also a great solution if you have many hiding spots in your yard, since it will detect movement regardless of whether the thief is hiding behind a bush or not.
13. Conceal exposed outdoor wires
Exposed wires outside of your house or apartment could be cut by thieves in order to cause a power outage. In case of security cameras and floodlights they might also attempt to cut the wires, then return later to make a break in.
Basically any outdoor wires that are important for overall electric power or the functioning of a security device should be hidden at least to some degree or made inaccessible. If you mount your security camera high enough, the wires will not be accessible unless the thief has a ladder or some other way to climb up to reach them. Taping the wires higher up on the wall to make them less accessible can also work.
The easiest solution is to reduce the amount of exposed wiring. Instead of having any dangling wire from your security camera on the outside, make sure to pull the entire wire through the wall so that any loose parts are found on the inside where they’re out of reach. Or construct
14. Replace the locks if you lose keys
This tip is not as necessary if you lose your keys in a whole other country. Unless someone who finds them actually knows where you live and has the work ethic and motivation to come to your place of residence just to steal a TV.
But if you lose your keys in the gym, at work, grocery store or any other place that is part of your daily routine, make sure to replace the locks.
This is where smart locks that use a code instead of a key come in handy – there are no keys to lose! So you may want to consider upgrading your locks if you want to remove any chance of this problem happening.
15. Secure your WiFi
Sometimes we focus too much on protecting against physical break ins. But many thefts nowadays occur online. WiFi networks are especially vulnerable because people don’t understand how easy it is to log into one.
First of all, many WiFI networks use a generic name and password that comes with factory settings. The first step to securing your network is to change the name and password. Choose a name that doesn’t link directly to you in any way, and choose a password that combines upper and lower case letters, numbers and special signs.
Sometimes a thief/hacker will create a fake network that has the same name as your network. They will wait until you or someone from your household connects to it in order to capture your login credentials.
This hacking attack and many others occur frequently. A thief can then steal any information you’ve shared online and potentially blackmail you, ruin your credit score and any other bad scenario you can think of.
Check out my article on how to protect yourself against identity theft online and how to secure a WiFi network to prevent this from happening.
16. Put away ladders and tools
Ladders can obviously be used to climb to a higher window, reach for electric wires or security devices such as security cameras and floodlights. This is why keeping your ladders indoors is essential, unless you have a one-story home.
You should also keep tools inside. Keeping them outside makes them an easy target of theft. Or they can be used to break into your home, especially hammers, screwdrivers and similar tools.
If you don’t have enough space to store them, consider getting an overhead storage garage rack. These are excellent space savers and I have one in my own garage. I use it to store tools, my portable generator and different appliances that I’m not currently using.
Storing your expensive valuables on an overhead rack is also a great security solution, especially if you’re storing decently heavy stuff like a portable generator. You can store smaller items in a box so that they end up being heavier overall. A thief will likely not risk getting injured by lowering a random heavy box from an overhead storage rack. And to even get a hold of it they’d have to use a ladder and have a buddy to help lower the stuff on the floor.
So I hope you can see the double potential of this idea, for more garage space AND security. Check out the best overhead garage storage racks and how to install them if you’re interested in getting one of these.
17. Install a digital doorbell / peephole camera
A peephole allows you to see who’s in front of the door. But a peephole Wifi camera allows you to do this anytime you want remotely, by observing from a connected device.
Instead of installing an outdoor security camera to observe the door area, you can use a small video doorbell instead which is easier to install and is usually more durable thanks to the small, compact design and being less exposed to weather conditions.
My top recommendation is the Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell, which also works with Alexa. It has many useful features:
- Sends a notification to connected devices when the doorbell is pressed or when motion is detected. Then you can hear and speak to visitors with two-way talk by using your phone, tablet, PC or any other connected device.
- Work on any home, with or without doorbell wires
- Monitors your home in HD video with infrared night vision
- You can check-in on the camera anytime with Live View on-demand video
- Includes Lifetime Theft Protection. In case this doorbell gets stolen, you get a FREE replacement.
So this is a great alternative to regular door security cameras that are typically installed high above the door. This digital doorbell is the most popular and arguably the best for home users with over 30 000 (!) customer reviews on Amazon and a 4/5 star rating at the moment of writing.
18. Use curtains or window film for privacy
Your privacy is important not just to feel more comfortable while doing karaoke naked like Tom Cruise. It’s also important so that potential burglars can’t see if you’re home or not, or check the interior for valuable items. To improve privacy, cover any see-through areas like windows and glass doors.
My favorite materials for doing this are blackout curtains and privacy window film. Blackout curtains also provide sound and thermal insulation and installing them only requires hanging them off a curtain rod. You could use regular curtains but they’re still half see-through so blackout ones are better.
Privacy window film is a solid solution, but it ruins the view. You can remove the curtains more easily or pull them to the side whereas privacy film is a more permanent solution. On the positive note, privacy film won’t block the sunlight from coming inside.
So both methods have their pros and cons so it’s up to you which one you prefer for the parts of your home where more privacy would be nice.
19. Get a home safe
Of course our primary objective is to prevent a home invasion. But what if it happens regardless of our efforts. And the bad guys start swooping around looking for money, jewelry and important documents.
There’s a good reason why home safes are used primarily for storing these items. You can drastically reduce the risk of losing them in a burglary or different hazardous situations such as a fire or a flood by using a high quality home safe. Having said that, not all safes are fireproof or waterproof, but some are. I’ve reviewed the best home safes on the market and commented on the features of each one, including those features.
There are different types of home safes on the market. But there are two main categories: stationary and portable. Stationary safes are those that are bolted to the floor or a wall so that it’s really hard to remove them. They’re typically larger and heavier as well.
On the other hand, portable safes are smaller and lighter, and they can be easily moved from place to place. A portable safe is a good option for people on the road, for a RV etc. But if you plan on using a portable safe at home, you should also get a thick chain and padlock to secure it so that a burglar can’t take it away.
In either case, a home safe is a great device. Because even if a home invasion happens, your most important possessions will remain safe. But don’t go buying just any home safe. Check out my top 10 recommendations to find the best one for your needs.
20. Neighborhood watch
A neighborhood watch is an excellent way to prevent burglaries in the entire neighborhood if you have the time for it. Typically neighbors will agree to patrol the neighborhood in shifts. So one team patrols Monday nights, another team does Tuesday nights etc.
The funny thing is that a neighborhood watch is usually set up AFTER a few homes have been robbed. But even if you notice anything strange or catch a burglar in the act it will probably be enough to make your neighbors pay notice and join the effort.
If they refuse to participate for whatever reason, you could simply place a few neighborhood watch signs around as a deterrent.
It could be an empty bluff, but who cares? If the thieves decide that the neighborhood is too risky and move along to a one without a sign, it obviously works. After all, it signals that at least someone is paying close attention to suspicious activity and is ready to act decisively, which is often good enough.
21. Have a self-defense weapon at hand
I always keep a baseball bat under my bed so that I can defend myself in case of a break in. Having a heavy object you can swing around, a pepper spray or a blade can save your life in these types of situations.
Keep in mind that most home invasions are performed by thieves looking to steal your possessions, not fight you. If you can avoid the fight, avoid it by locking the door of your bedroom and calling the police. But if you’re more hot-tempered you might want to chase off the offender. In that case having a reliable self defense weapon is crucial.
Which weapon is the best for your protecting your home depends on multiple factors, such as your state’s laws in regards to firearms and use of lethal force, and also the design of your home. If you have narrow hallways, using a large baseball bat is probably not a good idea. You’d be better off using something smaller like a baton, a pepper spray, a tactical flashlight or a tactical knife that you can swing around more easily.
In theory, all of these self defense weapons are reliable, but in practice there are clear differences. For example, using a tactical knife when you don’t know how to fight with one can be risky. Especially if the burglar is a skilled fighter. If you don’t know how to fight or don’t have much physical strength a pepper spray, a tactical flashlight or a stun gun might be better options since they require less skill to use successfully.
So if you want to know which of these self-defense weapons is the best for your particular situation, check out my guide for the best non-firearm self defense weapons.
22. Change your social media privacy settings
So many of us use social media irresponsibly. We share our photos, current location, latest purchases and our schedules with complete strangers! If you have a public profile that anyone can access, such as an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account, do yourself a huge favor and don’t share this sort of information.
Whether you’re on the road or following your daily routine, a person with bad intentions can use this information against you. If you want to be extra careful, change the privacy setting on your social media accounts so that only the people you allow can see the stuff that you post. Then you can be a bit more relaxed.
I know that this takes some of the fun out of sharing content on social media, but I’m confident that you can see why it’s important to limit the amount of people who can look into your life at any moment.
Especially don’t share your current location when you’re away for home, and especially if you won’t be coming back soon. This is a clear signal to any thief that your home is vacant and ready for a good old-fashioned plunder.
23. Hide your spare keys well
If you’re using any spare keys, don’t keep them under the rug like everyone else. Keep them somewhere that no one will suspect or have the time to look for. Some good ideas include: a vase, a hole in the wall, under the door itself but close enough so you can reach it with a piece of hard paper etc.
But you don’t have to necessarily hide it next to the door either. This is one big mistake that is often made, probably due to laziness. How often will you use the spare keys? Probably not more than a few times a year if you’ve lost your key or you had to share it with someone.
Walking a few feet to your hidden stash in the garden shed or the hole in the tree in your backyard would probably not be a major annoyance. But finding out that someone broke into your house because you “hid” the key under the rug -> oh boy!
24. Get a barking guard dog
A barking guard dog is one of the top security devices you can get. I’m using the word “device” loosely of course, because having a dog involves so much more work (and love) than installing a security system.
But it can definitely be rewarding, and according to a recent survey that I read, about 60 percent of incarcerated burglars claimed that they would think twice before breaking into a home protected by a guard dog.
However, training your dog to become a guard dog can be difficult. First of all, not every dog breed is equally good for the job.
According to American Kennel Club, some of the best guard dog breeds are: Akita, Anatolian Shepherd, Appenzeller Sennenhund, Australian Shepherd, Beauceron, Belgian Laekenois, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher.
The German Shepherd often comes to mind as the best guard dog, and it’s definitely a good combat dog and one for sniffing out trouble, which is why he’s the best police dog as well. But German Shepherds require a lot of maintenance as they often age poorly, and that should be taken into consideration as well.
On top of that, not every dog is meant to be a guard dog. Some dogs simply don’t feel threatened by strangers and are unlikely to be defensive if a stranger approaches your home. Also, training a guard dog also a lot of command work. If a new postman comes to deliver the mail, or the kid next door comes to play with your kid, you have to be able to contain your dog with a voice command.
There can also be some legal issues with training a guard dog, and you might have to get special insurance and register with the National Association of Security Dog Users (NASDU) if you’re in the US. But if you’re willing to go beyond these hurdles and train a strong and responsive guard dog, the security benefits can definitely be worth the trouble.
Having said that, just having a large and strong looking dog in your yard with a “warning guard dog” sign placed on the gate can also be a solid deterrent unless your dog is completely passive and welcoming of strangers. In reality most dogs feel at least somewhat protective of their homes so this tactic could potentially work in your case aswell.
25. Keep an inventory of valuables
Make a list of all the valuable possessions you have at home. In case a burglary does happen, you can check the list and report the missing items to the police immediately.
26. Use multiple locks on doors
One lock is better than none, but multiple locks are better than just one. That’s almost poetic!
By having more locks on your doors, you’ll make it much harder for a thief to enter either by manipulating the lock or using force on the door. Because even if one lock is manipulated or broken, there is one or more that will keep the door in place.
I recommend using different types of locks. A good combination would be a deadbolt lock, combined with a security bar and/or a door barricade.
27. Replace thin and hollow doors
If you have thin wooden doors separating you from the outside world, you’re not really maximizing your security potential. These doors can be easily cut open or broken into even if you’re using multiple locks. Building a superstructure on shaky foundations often doesn’t work well after all.
So replacing hollow outside doors with solid wood doors or metal doors can really improve your security. Keep in mind though that these replacements can be expensive. You also might have to change the hinges if you’re switching to heavier doors.
If you don’t have the budget for doing major door replacements, I still recommend investing in better locks and an alarm system of some sort, whether it’s a classic alarm or a security camera. Even if your house is easy to break into, if you have devices that can send you alerts the moment a break in attempt start happening, you can act quickly and put an end to it. After all, the main home security goal is not to wait and see how much time and effort it takes for a burglar to break in, but to end his attempt as quickly as you can.
28. Use a bank locker when away
If you don’t want to invest in a home safe, you can open a bank locker (also known as a safe vault) at your bank. They will store any precious belongings that can fit in the prearranged space. This is a paid service so you’ll probably have to pay a monthly fee.
The advantage of using a bank locker is improved safety, since a bank usually invests way more resources into security than you and me. But you should also make sure that it’s a big and well respected bank, since smaller ones might not be as super-safe as their advertisements claim.
Having said that, the main disadvantage of this method is having to go to the bank to retrieve those items every time you have to use them.
So it’s not practical for storing things that you might need to access frequently or immediately at some point in time, such as cash and some important documents. It’s certainly not a good solution for any self-defense weapons, which you’ll ideally keep in a home safe close to your bed, or tucked away on top of the closet.
However, it’s a good option if you’re going to be away from home for a month or longer. To store things like jewelry, documents or gold bars that you just want to know will be safe during this period of time.
29. Use dummies and decoys
I’ve already mentioned warning signs and stickers as cheap and effective deterrents. I’ve also mentioned smart light bulbs that you can program to turn on and off in time intervals can also be helpful for tricking the thieves into believing you’re home or awake.
Another powerful deterrent are dummy security cameras. They look like the real thing, and but they don’t require any wiring and are much cheaper than actual security cameras. You could buy a couple of them and spread them across your property. Place one on the fence, one to “observe” the garage door, the other on the front door etc.
A dummy camera can also be used in combination with a real camera. You could place a dummy in a more visible spot, and a real camera a bit farther away. In that case it could act as a decoy. If someone tries to knock down or remove the dummy, thinking that it’s the real thing, your real camera can record the event and you may be able to catch the thief in his early preparations for the break-in.
30. Shred documents before throwing them away
Garbage fishing, the old school method for identity theft is still popular today as ever. Even more so, because people have become more reckless with sharing information thanks to the Internet. We’ve become more concerned about cyber attacks that we forgot that documents in the garbage bin can be exploited even more easily than those on a laptop.
You can completely eliminate this concern by shredding documents into tiny pieces before disposing them. If you’re a small business owner or someone who deals with a lot of paperwork you probably have a paper shredder already. If you don’t, definitely get one because it will make your life better. I have two of these paper shredders from Amazon in particular; one at home and one in my office. These can even shred credit cards!
But before you buy a paper shredder, I have to warn you that it’s super addictive and you may want to shred anything that gets into your hands. Well.. not everything. One thing I can say is that it has completely replaced my nail biting habit, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a positive outcome. 🙂
31. Etch your name on your valuables
Expensive tools, bikes, electronics, furniture – these are common targets of home thefts. If it does happen, having your name etched on these valuables can be really helpful at restoring them. Use a knife to carve out your name in a more or less visible spot, depending on how much you care about the clean appearance of the object.
If you want your engraving to be small but still easy to read, use an electric micro engraver pen. I’ve used this Affanti pen to engrave my name on my bicycle and it works great. It can also be used for engraving glass, ceramic, plastic and wood surfaces. I didn’t try it on any of those materials yet, but if it’s stronge enough for a metal surface, I assume it would also work well on those.
32. Store your mower and other gardening equipment inside
Gardening equipment is often at least decently priced if not outright expensive. Things like lawn mowers, large gardening scissors and portable power generators are often left out in the open even when not in use.
This is understandable if you don’t have a garden shed, large garage or a basement to store these items. But if you do, there’s no excuse not to place them indoors once you’re done using them.
Especially pay attention to storing these items if you don’t have a fence protecting your garden from prying eyes of strangers. If it’s super easy to steal an item, even a law abiding citizen might feel tempted to do so.
If you have a see-through fence, you can improve your privacy by covering it with a fence privacy screen and windscreen. These typically cost around $50 for 5×50 dimensions, and you can choose the exact size you need to properly cover your fence.
33. Build a tall fence and lock the gates
Arguably the best deterrent you can have is a tall fence that requires athleticism to climb over. Not only that, a tall fence will also make it way harder to carry stuff away from your property.
Any fence is better than no fence at all, but the criteria should be based on height and strength. A bamboo fence that can get removed easily is not as secure as a wall. There are other benefits to having a good fence, such as reduced noise from the surrounding environment and improved privacy.
The fence should also be fully closed, without any gaps through which someone can sneak inside. Since you must have at least one entrance point, make sure that the gate is also properly secured so that it’s not a weakness in the fence but in fact the strongest part of it.
If you don’t have an automatic gate, using a thick chain like Kryptonite with a deadbolt design is the best option. This chain is typically used to secure bikes and motorcycles so it can come in handy for your favorite two wheelers as well.
34. Ask a friend or neighbor to visit your home while away
This is the best way to ensure that your home is in fine order while you’re away. They can check not only if there was a break in or an attempt of that sort, but also if there are any leaks, deliveries etc. They can report any strange or concerning findings that you can’t see even if you are using a security camera which allows you to check up on your place remotely.
Also, if you can get them to remove any package boxes, brochures and advertisements that pile up and take care of leaves and other debris in the yard, this can also help in making your home appear occupied and deter thieves who are on the lookout for vacant homes.
You could also hire someone to do this for you. But definitely do a back check to see if they’re reliable or not. You don’t want a stranger swooping around your house looking for ways to break in, either to share the information with his/her buddies or to do it by himself later. Since we can never be entirely sure of other people’s intentions, giving the keys of your castle to a longtime friend or relative is the safest option.
35. Secure the garden shed
Should you secure your garden shed? It depends on whether there’s anything of value inside. If you’re keeping the lawn mower, portable generator or a box full of expensive tools inside it, then yes, you should do something about that loose door hinge or that broken window. Use the security tips provided before for securing doors and windows and apply them to your garden shed.
Another valid reason to secure a garden shed is because it can be used as a hiding spot. A thief could hide inside it, observe your habits and break into your house when you’re not there or you’re sleeping. So at least keep it locked and close the windows when it’s not being used.
36. Secure the basement window
Pay special attention to your basement window if it’s large enough for a person to crawl through it. A basement window is typically lower than other windows. Burglars often use it for break in because it’s harder to detect them as they can crawl to the window, break in and get out unnoticed. Also, basement windows are usually not secured properly.
Because they’re less noticeable homeowners tend to forget about them as they focus on making sure that other windows look good. This is a major mistake. You should definitely apply some of the before-mentioned tips for securing windows on the one leading to your basement. Some useful ideas include:
- using security window film
- or replacing the glass panel with shatterproof glass
- installing metal grills
- using a better window lock
- using a security bar
- install an outdoor motion sensor security camera to observe the window area
- install motion sensor floodlights
- install a security camera in the basement, point it at the window
Don’t underestimate the importance of securing the basement. Especially if you have valuable tools and equipment inside. The basement door leading to the rest of your house is another area to consider. At least keep it locked at night and while you’re away. For additional safety use an advanced lock, door barricade or a security bar.
38. Never leave the garage door opener in the car
If you’re parking your vehicle in the driveway, make sure to take the garage door opener with you rather than leave it in the car. Breaking into a vehicle is often easier than breaking into a house or apartment. Simply because it’s obvious when there’s no one in the vehicle, and the doors and windows are both easier targets for forced entry.
The window can be smashed and then the door opened from the inside. Sure, most cars nowadays have at least a basic security alarm but those can often be quickly turned off by the thief once he has broken into the vehicle by cutting the wires. By leaving any keys in the car you’re leaving your entire house exposed to a break-in so definitely remove this habit from your daily schedule.
If you want to secure your car or any other vehicle from theft, I recommend checking out the vehicle security section where I provide answers for topics such as: how to prevent car battery theft, how to secure a motorcycle, best anti theft devices for car, RV etc.
39. Park in the garage when you’re home
The best way to keep your vehicles safe is by parking inside the garage rather than leaving it exposed in the driveway or the parking lot. But also make sure that your garage door is secured from common break-in tactics like garage door fishing.
40. Change the locks when you move into a new place
This is super important. You don’t want past homeowners who sold you to place to have the chance to enter your new home.
Even if they seem like a nice family who would never do that, you can’t know if they’ve ever lost their keys or shared them with someone. It’s better to cut all potential problems by replacing the locks altogether.
While you’re at it, replace them with deadbolt locks which are much safer because they can only be used by rotating the key. Check out the tip #2 for deadbolt lock recommendations.
41. Verify your employees before hiring
Definitely check the references of any employees that will be working in your home or around it before hiring. That includes the pool guy, house cleaner, gardener, babysitter, the plumber, the team improving the insulation in your walls etc.
Make a call to their previous employers, see if they’re reliable or not and if they’ve been charged for any crimes in the past, especially theft-related crimes. You can also check many company references online. Just Google the “name of the company + reviews” and if it’s a decently sized company (even local) you’ll probably get some results as well.
43. Indoor security cameras
A security camera can be placed in any room of your home. It’s actually much safer than installing the camera outdoors because a burglar could try to remove it or destroy it. The one inside that has night vision, motion sensor technology and WiFi connectivity will probably be able to catch any movement and send you an alert before the nasty burglar is able to find it.
Where to place it: hallway, basement, baby’s room, living room. You can point the camera at any door or window you feel is susceptible to break-ins, like the sliding glass door for example.
Indoor cam recommendation: The YI 4pc indoor security camera is a popular one that would probably be a great addition to your home security. You can get 4 of these for under $120 on Amazon. They provide full 24/7 HD recording and cloud storage. You also get activity alerts from the Baby Crying Detection and Motion Detection. These alerts are sent through WiFi directly to your phone by using the app. So it can be used as a baby camera as well.
On top of these practical benefits, having an indoor camera can be pretty interesting if you have any pets. I’ve seen many videos on Youtube that show a person’s dog or cat’s behavior when they’re left alone. Pretty interesting footage, and who knows, you may discover who ate the whole box of biscuits while you were away.
Final Words on Home Security Tips
In this article I’ve shared with you some simple, affordable and easily applicable home security tips. You don’t have to be a security expert to apply them or to find them useful because the process and the reasoning behind them is pretty logical. We could boil down all of these tips to 3 main strategies:
In other words, you can deter thieves by using alarms, floodlights, warning signs, stickers, having a guard dog, installing visible security cameras and methods like that. Next, you can strengthen your doors and windows with improved locks and materials. You can also additionally protect your valuables by using a home safe. Finally, you can apply surveillance to some critical areas like the front door, sliding glass door and the garage door with classic outdoor and indoor security cameras and video doorbells.
Like I said before, you don’t have to use ALL of these tips. Every home is different and there is no perfect security. It’s a creative process. But my suggestion is to use at least one tip from those three categories (deterrence, strengthening and surveillance).
The most important thing is that you and your family feel safe and that you can protect your belongings from the bad guys when you’re at home and away from home. So choose the tips you feel are most important for your home and install them using the product guidelines and the information provided on my website. Hope this helps!