Your home should be a safe haven where you can put your worries to rest. But unless your home security is able to prevent intruders from breaking in, it’s hard to find that deserved peace of mind. These are the 10 best ways to improve home security that you can begin to implement right now:
1. Improve exterior door security
Doors are the main entrance points to your home. Any exterior door that is weak or improperly locked is therefore a security weakness. Main ways to improve door security include installing a classical deadbolt lock which can’t be lockpicked or using a keypad or fingerprint lock instead.
A deadbolt is a better option for people who are less tech-savy. But if you want a personalized locking system having a keypad with your own password or a fingerprint lock which can’t be fooled is the best option. These locks can also track which password or fingerprint was used to enter and when, so you can have full knowledge of these important facts in case of a home invasion or some other accident.
Apart from improving door locks, pointing a monitoring device at the doors in the form of a security camera is also a great idea. There are several options: outdoor and indoor security cameras as well as video doorbells.
Video doorbells look really nice and they’re useful because of other features related to opening doors remotely etc. However, a security camera is more versatile because the viewing distance, angle and position can be played with until you get the exact view you want. Also, you can remove it and place it on a completely different spot if you feel it’s necessary, whereas video doorbells are really only designed for doors.
In any case, I recommend getting a monitoring device with motion sensors that can send alerts on your personal electronic devices in case it registers movement. This way it can serve both as a monitoring device and an alarm system.
The third important step to securing doors is making sure that they are strong enough to withstand a forceful break in. See if the door is really thin, hollow and weak or cracked and the hinges are exposed from the outside (in case of outswing doors that’s almost always the case). Replace the door with a stronger one that can withstand multiple blows and replace the regular hinges with security hinges that can’t be removed as easily.
Lastly, you can secure the door from the inside of your home with door barricades. Barricades are very useful against forceful break ins and when the lock fails. It will basically prevent the door from being pushed open.
2. Improve window security
Windows are the second most likely entrance point that criminals will use to break in. Especially ground-floor windows and basement windows. But if they’re able to climb on an upper floor to gain entrance any windows on those upper floors should also be adequately secured.
With windows we have the same security issues that we face when securing doors. First problem is securing the window lock, the second problem is making the window tougher against forceful break-ins. In case of window locks it’s easiest to use a window barricade that can be attached from the inside.
When it comes to improving window toughness, consider installing window security film, which won’t ruin the appearance or functionality of the glass surface but it will increase it’s resistance.
There is also the option of window bars, which can be installed to cover the window from the outside or from the inside. This is an especially powerful security option because moving past thick metal bars would require cutting the metal, which would cause a lot of noise, and that is something that burglars try to avoid at all costs. Consider getting metal bars on ground-floor windows and especially basement window where the somewhat obstructed view probably won’t bother you too much.
Monitoring and alarm devices are also a good options. Point an outdoor or indoor security camera with motion sensor technology at the window and you’ll receive a real-time alert and capture footage of any criminal activity. Placing a small battery alarm directly on the window will trigger the sound in case of strong vibrations which indicate a break-in.
3. Add warning signs
Intruders will often scout a neighborhood to look for homes that are completely unprotected. If you have security signs and stickers that warn potential intruders that you have a surveillance system or a dangerous dog guarding your home they are less likely to pick you.
If you want to make the entire neighborhood safer, consider setting up a Neighborhood Watch Sign on a visible place on the street. This sign projects the message that the whole neighborhood is working together to protect the community from criminals.
Sometimes these scare tactics work, especially if similar neighborhoods in the same area have done nothing to add to their security.
4. Combine real and fake security cameras
Another very affordable scare tactic are fake security cameras. They look the same as the real thing, some even have beeping red light and it’s very difficult to distinguish them from the real thing. Get a pack of 4 and place them on tactical places such as your front gate, yard and driveway. You can combine these fake cameras with real ones that monitor the same location.
Sometimes a criminal will try to destroy a camera or to reach it and point the lens at another direction to prevent their identity. But if there are multiple cameras in the area the chances of this happening are slim especially if it’s a lone wolf.
5. Improve your fence and backyard security
If your home is surrounded by a fence, consider improve its height and adding spikes on top. There are some cheap ways to do this such as barbed wire, but it doesn’t look very nice. An alternative is to add commercial fence spikes. These will deter criminals and also prevent wild animals from entering the yard.
If you prefer using more natural deterrents, consider planting some thorny shrubbery around the yard or next to the fence to make any break-in attempt very painful. Also make sure to protect any valuables laying around the house, such as furniture, power generator, lawn mower etc.
It’s best to place any valuables indoors while you’re away if you have a shed, garage or a similar storage room. But if that’s not an option at least secure these valuables with a thick chain or a security cable. There are many more tricks that I explain in these articles:
6. Stay in touch with the neighbors
If you’re going on vacation or on a business trip, ask your neighbors to check up on your home and report any strange activity. Ask them to pick up newspapers or other subscription material that would otherwise pile up on the porch and signal to would-be criminals that your home is vacant.
Read more: How to secure a vacant house
7. Increase garage door security
Some garage doors are very vulnerable to break-ins because they can be opened from the outside with a slight push and “door fishing”. A garage door lock shield or even a plastic zip tie lock can be used to prevent this.
It’s also important to keep the garage doors closed even while you’re at home but not in the garage itself. Using a garage door monitor can be useful for this purpose. It’s a small device that provides an alert if the door is left open.
Of course, the advice on security cameras applies here as well. Place an outdoor security camera to monitor your garage door and the surrounding area.
A floodlight with motion sensor can also serve as good criminal deterrence device and it will improve the night vision of the security camera. You could also place a battery-powered alarm on the door which will beep in case of strong vibrations on the door.
8. Don’t forget the doggie door!
If your home also has a large doggie door or flap it could be used by an intruder either to get inside or manipulate any locking mechanisms or alarms that are indoors. A doggie door should be locked while you’re away. If you want to put all worries to rest consider installing a burglar-proof doggie door or burglar proof the existing one.
Unless you’re a social media star, there’s no reason to let the entire world know you’re in a tropical paradise. Share the photos and experiences when you get home instead or do it on a private profile that only your close family and friends can access.
The easiest way for criminals to find a vacant home to rob is by going through social media profiles. If someone is sharing publicly that they won’t be home for days, weeks or months, it’s like a free advertisement for a break-in.
Read more: How to improve privacy on social media
10. Protect your home WiFi connection from hackers
Your home WiFi is a security vulnerability if it’s used by multiple people and if you don’t have a strong username or password. Make sure to change the default username and pass with your own, unique one which DOESN’T reveal y our identity. That’s really important – keep them guessing instead of naming your WiFi with your name, address or other easily identifiable information.
Why would a criminal want your WiFi? Well, if you have smart devices they could be hacked into this way. For example, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, digital locks etc. It could also be used to access financial and other sensitive information on your digital devices. A criminal could park outside your home and set up a WiFi connection of the same name as the one you use. When you or a family member try to connect to WiFi you could by mistake enter your password on the fake WiFi, providing the hacker with your login credentials.
Cyber threats can be just as harmful as physical break-ins, sometimes even more so because it can be harder to find the criminal. It’s best to use caution so I recommend checking out the following articles:
Final Word: Best Ways to Improve Home Security
Home security is a serious issue, because it only takes one break-in to run havoc on your financial life. Not to mention the emotional scars that it can cause for the entire family.
Thankfully, there are many well-known precautions that any regular citizen can take that work really well. The problem is that most people ignore the dangers until it’s too late.
By utilizing the before-mentioned tips you can turn your home into a mighty fortress that any criminals would be afraid to enter even if they were able to. Hope this helps!
Learn more: 43 DIY Home Security Tips