How to Increase Home Security

Are you overpaying for car, home, or renters insurance? Compare to find out in 45 seconds.
Quotes from up to 45 companies · No long forms · No phone calls
Changing locks is one way to increase home security. (Photo: @MusingsOfAmber via Twenty20)
Although property crimes have been on the decline in recent decades, home burglaries are still an area of major concern across the U.S. To decrease the risk of vandalism and theft on your property, you can take certain measures to increase your home security, as this article outlines.

Use Locks to Protect Your Property

Locks are a great way to protect your home, keeping you and your family safe inside and, hopefully, would-be thieves outside.
Step 1: Lock your doors and windows. This is especially true if you tend to stay at home during the day. A burglar might not know someone is home and walk in on you while you work, go about your business, or are asleep.
Step 2: Lock the balcony and garage doors. Be mindful of securing these doorways, especially at night.
In addition, if you have to leave your home, even for a quick trip to the store, lock all of your doors. A burglar might be waiting for just such an opportunity to strike. Don’t make it any easier for them.
Step 3: Change the locks when moving to a new home. You can do this yourself or hire a locksmith.
You have no idea who might have had access to the keys to the home before you moved in. Changing the exterior locks to your new house can save you the headache of finding out someone still has an extra key the hard way.
Step 4: Avoid leaving a spare key. Leaving a spare key hidden somewhere around the exterior of your home is almost like inviting someone to come in and take what they want.
If you need to leave a spare key, give it to a trusted neighbor or family member. That way, if the key is needed, it’s just a matter of making a phone call or visiting the house next door.

Properly Illuminate the Inside and Outside of Your House

Proper lighting can help deter any burglars. Well-lit walkways and entrances leave little place for thieves to hide. In addition, if you have security cameras, you want the property to be nice and bright to get the mugshots of any trespassers.
Step 1: Leave the lights on. If you plan to leave your house at night, leave a few lights on to fool any thieves.
You can also leave a stereo on to trick the thief into thinking someone is at home.
Step 2: Install outside security lighting. Install outdoor security lights designed to come on when they detect motion.
This illuminates dark areas at night and can alert you to the presence of a person or animal on your property.
Good places to install security lights include the corners of your house, your driveway, and patio areas leading to entrances.
Step 3: Make sure your entrances are well lit. This comes in handy when you have visitors at night. Good lighting allows you to see who is outside the door, and it lets you know if it is someone familiar or an intruder.

Use Home Warning/Safety Systems to Enhance Security

Various warning and safety features can help alert you to a trespasser and any attempted break-ins. These systems also help prevent thieves from gaining access to your home.
Step 1: Install an alarm system. An alarm system alerts you, and the police, to anyone trying to break into your home.
Most of the time, the mere presence of an alarm system can keep thieves away.
Many alarm systems connect directly to a security service that can notify police of a break-in, even when you are not at home.
Step 2: Get a dog. Not only can a dog create fear in a thief, but their bark can notify you or a neighbor that something is amiss.
Step 3: Install safety bars on windows. If you live in a high-crime area, window bars can serve as a great deterrent.
While not ideal, window bars can keep thieves out and your possessions safe, or at least make them harder to get to.
Step 4: Get a safe. This can keep your valuables secure, even if a thief gains access to your house.
Make sure you get a safe that bolts to the floor of your home for maximum security.

Miscellaneous Ways to Increase Home Security

Step 1: Don’t leave notes on your front or back door. Avoid informing others of your schedule.
A note lets a thief know that you are not at home, and even when you might return, giving them plenty of time to break in and steal your belongings.
Step 2: Have the post office hold your mail while on vacation. If you plan on going on an extended trip, make sure to have the post office hold your mail until your return.
A mailbox full of letters, bills, and junk mail is a good indicator to a thief that no one is home.
Step 3: Close the drapes. Don’t advertise expensive valuables by leaving your drapes open.
When you aren’t at home, close the drapes for any window that has a street view. No need to give a burglar any more incentive for breaking into your home.
Step 4: Keep your hedges trimmed. This way, you can see anyone sneaking around your home.
Overgrown hedges give thieves a good hiding place while they wait for an opportunity to break in.
By taking certain precautions, you can reduce the chances of a break-in at your home. Not only can this protect your items from theft, but it also keeps you from having to file a claim on your property, which can increase your home insurance premiums.