Home Security Tips and Tricks

A Homeowner's Guide


December 8, 2020

14 Home Security Tips And Tricks1

A comprehensive security system is crucial to protecting your home and property. Even the most cutting-edge system with cameras, motion detectors, and glass break sensors requires additional practical strategies to afford you peace of mind and safety.

Here are a few easy home security tips to help bolster your home’s security:

Visible security

Burglars look for easy targets, but visible security tactics can prevent crimes of convenience. Adding obvious signs you and your family are home and that your property is protected can keep would-be thieves from attempting to break and enter.

Security signs and window stickers

Advertise that your home is protected and monitored by a security system company. Be sure to put stickers on your doors and windows, along with signs in your yard. In fact, even if your home doesn’t have a security system installed, you can put up those notifications.

Strategic landscaping

Thick, unkempt landscaping or trees close to your home or outbuildings may provide cover for those looking to break into your property. Keep bushes pruned and grass trimmed, particularly near your home’s windows, doors, and pathways. If you like the look of landscaping or bushes around your home, consider installing low-growing varieties, or prickly hedges around windows and near doors as a theft-deterrent.

Indoor and outdoor lighting

Your house should always appear occupied, even when you’re away. Keep a light or two on inside your home, and make sure you have outdoor lights that reach corners of your property where someone could normally hide. Floodlights, porch or mailbox lights, and lights with motion detection capabilities around your walkways all give the appearance of someone being home. Technological advances like smart lighting even allow you to switch the lights in your home on and off from your smartphone or to keep indoor and outdoor lights on a schedule.

Safe social media practices

It’s tempting to post social media statuses, pictures, and videos of your family on the beach, at a wedding, or on that dream vacation. Stop sharing your location or advertising that you’re away from home, however. Wait until you return from that far-flung locale before you post those memories or send that tweet.

Security tools and technology

Signs that notify burglars of a security system are important, but that’s only a first step. When determining the safety of your home, take inventory of any entry points through which thieves can enter as well as the valuable items with high resale value they are likely to target.

Securing doors

  • Consider windowless doors. Your multi-paned back door or stained-glass front door may add architectural interest to your home, but windows near the lock mean a burglar can break the glass and reach in to unlock the door from the inside.

  • Add extra locks. Most thieves enter a home by simply opening a door, whether it’s that sliding glass door, back patio French door, or thick wooden front door. In addition to making sure all doors stay locked, even when you’re home, install additional deadlock bolts on each exterior door to deter criminals. Don’t forget about the door that leads to your garage. If someone enters your attached garage, they’ll have a harder time accessing your home if you fortify that door with an extra lock.

  • Keep your doors in good condition. Rotting wood, door frames with too much space around them, and loose hinges all make it easier for a person to break and enter.

  • Install alarms. Door alarms notify you of comings and goings, while glass break sensors alert you to anyone trying to gain entry via a window.

Securing windows

  • Lock your windows. How often have you gone to clean a window and realized you forgot to lock it? Regularly ensure window locks work and add additional locks if needed.

  • Add sensors. Glass break sensors set off an alarm when someone shatters a windowpane. Window sensors use a magnetic field that alerts you when the two pieces of the sensor are separated from each other.

  • Replace old windows. It might be time to upgrade windows with blown seals and broken locks. When shopping for windows, look for those with multiple panes and thick, strong glass that’s more difficult to break.

  • Add screens or protective film. Security screens look like bug screens, but they’re made of steel. Protective films can help prevent windows from shattering.

Securing your garage

  • Keep the door closed. You might keep your garage open during the day while the kids play outside and you’re doing outdoor maintenance. Leaving the door open means any passerby can catch a glimpse of the items you have stored inside, from that pressure washer or gun safe to those fancy tools and riding mower.

  • Cover your windows. Anyone peering into your garage window can check to see if your car is in the garage and what you’re storing. Consider adding a frosted window, decorative film, or a coat of frosted-glass spray paint to conceal the contents of the garage.

  • Hide your car remote. Attaching a garage door opener to your car visor is like showing a key to a thief. Consider keeping the remote in your purse or concealed in your center console out of sight.

Securing valuables

Think like a thief. The movies might lead you to believe that burglars go first for the jewelry or cash. And while that may be true in some cases, thieves generally look for items with good resale value, including electronics, tools, and firearms they can pawn or resell on social media platforms.

Find better hiding spots. Everyone knows to look for a key under the mat. While you may not be able to hide your 52-inch wall-mounted TV, consider storing valuables in places even savvy criminals wouldn’t look. Store extra cash somewhere unexpected, like in a cereal box or the pocket of your favorite jacket. Hide jewelry in a fake book or in an air-return vent. Just don’t forget where you stash your stuff.

Keep valuables out of sight. When you stand outside your bedroom window, what do you see? Can you see your new iPad® on your bed, AirPods® on your bedside table, and prescription drugs and cash on your dresser? Remove anything within view of a window.

Home security advice from burglars

There are several tell-tale signs that indicate a home might be a gold mine, simply because of actions the homeowners take (or don’t take). In addition to the above strategies, here are a few more to keep burglars from targeting your home:

Give the appearance of being home. In addition to strategic lighting throughout the day and into the evening, you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave a build-up of mail in the mailbox, packages at the door, or the garbage can on the street for prolonged periods of time. If you’re heading out on vacation, consider parking one of your cars in the driveway or asking a neighbor to park there intermittently.

Enlist your neighborhood watch. Even if you live in a more rural area, ask a neighbor, trusted friend, or family member to check on your house every so often.

Don’t skimp on security. A home security system is one of the best ways to discourage a robbery from happening altogether. Surveillance cameras, motion detection lighting or alarms, and heavy-duty locks all work well to deter thieves.

To find out more about whole-home security, visit the Brinks Home™ Smart Center resources, or contact a senior security consultant.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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