People ask me all the time what they can do to better protect their homes. They all have different priorities and budgets, so I’ve compiled a list of home security tips for as many scenarios as possible. Here’s a list of the top 27 security tips to protect your home.
🔐 = Highest-priority actions
1. Update or change your locks
Most people don’t think about changing the locks when they move into a new home or apartment. It’s impossible to know who had keys to your home before you moved in. Changing your locks is one of the easiest ways to add a little extra security to your new place and to make sure that there aren’t any rogue keys out there somewhere.
2. Get a monitored security system 🔐
Professionally monitored security systems offer the absolute best protection for your home. If someone tries to break in, a professionally monitored system will trigger an alarm, notify you via text, email, or direct call, and dispatch authorities to your home if need be. Most professionally monitored systems charge a monthly monitoring fee, but plenty of home security companies offer multiple packages for different budgets. Check out some of the top recommend home security systems to get a better idea of what to expect.
3. Make it look like you’re home—even when you’re not 🔐
An empty home makes for an easier target. You can give the appearance that you’re home—even when you’re not—by using automatic timers for lights, postponing your mail and newspaper delivery, and asking a neighbor to park their car in your driveway while you’re away.
4. Hide exposed wiring
Most modern security systems use wireless technology, but if you have a security system or camera with exposed wiring, a burglar could easily cut a wire and deactivate that portion of your system. Make sure to hide any wires that connect your security devices to each other.
5. Keep track of your keys
Hiding a spare key under the doormat doesn’t work like it used to. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbor or family member you trust, or better yet, get a digital door lock with a combination code.
6. Use outdoor lighting 🔐
Good exterior lighting not only gives the appearance that someone’s home, but also uncovers and reduces potential hiding spots for burglars and intruders. A good outdoor light with motion activation and high lumens adds extra security to your home for not a lot of money.
7. Dead bolt your exterior doors 🔐
The price of a heavy-duty dead bolt lock is a whole lot less than the average cost of a home break-in ($2,119). It’s an easy, inexpensive way to add some security to your home.
8. Reinforce your sliding door 🔐
Sliding doors often go overlooked by many homeowners when they’re adding extra security to their home. A sliding door is one of the first places a burglar will try to enter. These doors are quiet and usually on a side of the house that’s concealed from view. Put a metal rod or one-inch wooden dowel in your sliding door track to help reinforce your sliding door.
9. Upgrade and maintain exterior doors
Make sure you inspect and upgrade exterior doors and doorframes. Doorframes especially see a lot of wear and tear and are constantly exposed to all kinds of weather. Replace old or rotting doorframes with solid wood and make sure all your exterior doors are solid core or heavy-duty metal.
10. Secure your windows 🔐
Survey your home and secure any accessible windows—ground-level windows, window wells, upper windows near trees or other climbable structures—with extra security measures. Put a dowel in the window track, cover window wells with grates, and make sure locks remain out of reach from open or cracked windows.
11. Fix faulty alarms
False alarms or broken alarms that sound frequently tend to get ignored by neighbors and even you, the owner, after too long. Fix faulty alarms as soon as possible, and notify your neighbors of the issue so when an alarm goes off for real, it won’t get ignored.
12. Trim trees and shrubs outside your home 🔐
Overgrown bushes, trees, and other landscaping elements create convenient places for would-be intruders to hide out. By keeping your trees and shrubs trimmed, especially those right outside windows or other entrances, you can cut down on bad-guy hiding spots.
13. Ask for credentials from service providers entering your home
Posing as an installer, repairman, or other service provider is a common tactic used by someone scouting out your home for a future break-in. Make sure to ask for identification and work-order credentials before letting anyone you don’t know into your home.
14. Get a dog (or pretend to have one)
Burglars hate dogs because they’re noisy and protective—and they have teeth. If you’re not a dog person, you can always fake it and put up a Beware of Dog sign. It’s a great way to discourage potential intruders from entering your home.
15. Know your neighbors
Something as simple as befriending your neighbors has a lot of security advantages. Neighbors can watch out for your home when you’re away. They can act as an extra set of eyes for suspicious activity in your neighborhood and let you know if anything unusual happens in or around your home. Get to know your neighbors so you can have each other’s backs.
16. Lock up ladders and other tools
Ladders and tools that get left out, even for one night, present an easy opportunity for a break-in or theft. A ladder will give access to second floor windows that would normally be hard to reach, and tools can be used to pry open doors, windows, or locks. It’s better to lock it all away in the garage or shed.
17. Install an outdoor security camera 🔐
Outdoor security cameras allow you to monitor outdoor activity. You can check live footage and record motion-activated activity so you can keep a record of anyone coming and going. Just having an outdoor camera installed acts as a deterrent as well. If burglars notice a camera, they’re more likely to move on to the next house.
18. Protect your porch with a doorbell camera
A doorbell camera offers several excellent benefits that you just don’t get with a regular setup. It protects your porch and packages, lets you know who’s coming and going, and allows you to communicate with visitors remotely. Most doorbells attach to existing doorbell wiring and are easy to install yourself.
19. Get a home safe
A good home safe can serve as a last line of defense against unpredictable threats like flooding, house fires, or even snooping eyes. Use a quality home safe to lock up your valuables, personal documents, and other sensitive items that you don’t want damaged or easily accessed.
20. Secure your guns (if you have them)
Guns are tools with deadly potential. Respecting that potential and securing any guns that you own in a reliable gun safe can help prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. If you own a gun for home defense or recreation, consider investing in a gun safe to protect your guns and your loved ones.
21. Keep valuables out of sight
Making sure to lock away or hide your valuables prevents anyone entering your home—like an installer, service provider, or even neighbors and family—from attempting an easy snatch-and-grab theft. Keep jewelry, sensitive documents, and personal information out of sight.
22. Make copies of important documents
You should always have backup copies of any important personal or financial documentation in case the originals get damaged or lost. Keep these documents in a personal home safe or a safe-deposit box at your bank to ensure they remain private and secure.
23. Create an inventory of your valuables
Making an inventory of expensive electronic equipment, jewelry, and other valuable items can help you keep track of what you have and know right away if anything is missing. Write down the serial numbers of any items that have them. Take a picture of each individual item as proof of ownership and update your inventory every time you add or replace items in your home.
24. Install a peephole in your front door
A peephole is the old-school doorbell camera. It lets you see who’s at your door without opening it and leaving yourself vulnerable. Peepholes are an inexpensive way to add a little security to your home or apartment.
25. Secure your in-home Wi-Fi
Your Wi-Fi password should not be “password” or left as the default password. Anyone that gains access to your in-home Wi-Fi has access to your network where you keep personal or financial information. Make sure to secure your Wi-Fi beyond default settings.
26. Be wary of smart devices 🔐
Smart devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo have blown up in the last few years, as have other IFTTT products like the Nest Thermostat. These products provide many benefits and conveniences but could ultimately leave your in-home network vulnerable to outsider hacks. Make sure your network is secure and you know what kind of smart device you’re adding before connecting these devices in your home.
27. Upgrade your doors’ strike plates
Many people overlook upgrading their strike plates—the little metal plate screwed to the doorframe that your doorknob clicks into—on their exterior doors. Look for a heavy-duty strike plate and attach it to your door frame using 3-inch screws that penetrate the wooden frame and provide maximum resistance against someone trying to break down the door.
Time to improve your home’s security
Whether you implement one or all of these home security tips, you’re on your way to a safer, more secure home.
Did we miss anything? Let us know some of your home security tips below.