Written by: Aaron Hall | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Nearly 2 million burglaries are reported in the United States every year and only 17 percent of homeowners have a home security system. Experts highly recommended that you pick up a home security system in order to monitor your home for potential break-ins, but there are several things you can do to add an extra level of protection to your home. Here are just five simple things you can do to make your home less susceptible to burglaries.
1. Lock Your Doors and Windows
This is the simplest and most effective method, and hopefully, you're doing this out of habit. High-quality door locks can be purchased at any home improvement store for about the same price as a night out to the movies. If you have a deadbolt lock, that's excellent. Aluminum window sills are dangerous because they can be easy to break into, so consider replacing those. Make sure to test your windows to be sure the locks are solid before leaving the house or going to bed.
Some home security companies have developed tools that allow you to lock your doors remotely. All you need is a mobile device with a special app and the corresponding electronic locks. If you leave for work or to go on vacation and you've forgotten to lock your doors, all you need to do is open up your app and tap a few buttons. It's that simple. As long as you have internet access, you're secure.
2. Make Your House Look Lived In
The key to making your house looking lived in is to be realistic. If a burglar stalking your home notices that the living room light is still on at 3:00 in the morning, that may look a little suspicious. Keep a porch light on at both the front and back of your home during the night. Also, keep your blinds open or closed according to your usual habits. If you normally keep them open, but then you close them, this is a sign that you're not home.
Home automation can make this job easier as well. Some advanced home security systems will have functions that allow you to turn lights on or off remotely or even set them on a timer if you're away. This is especially helpful if you're away for an extended period of time, such as a vacation.
3. Install a Stronger Back Door
Many houses come with a strong, attractive front door. Homeowners may think this would be ideal for protecting against burglars and predators. Well, that's not exactly the case. Burglars are actually much more likely to break in through your back door, and if you have a weak door made of cheap wood with an old, inexpensive lock, a burglar can have access to your home with one well-placed kick. It would be smart to get that replaced sooner rather than later.
Go to your local home improvement store and consult with an expert about what doors are best. Make sure to take the measurements of your door before you go. Most doors have standard sizes, but you don't want to buy a door only to take it home and discover it's the wrong size. Also, be sure to get a tough deadbolt lock to match. It won't cost much more.
4. Get a Dog
Dogs aren't a sure-fire way to ward off burglars, but it's enough to make them think twice. Burglars want to get in and out quickly and dealing with a dog introduces too many variables: "Are they going to bark a lot and alert the sleeping family or neighbors? Are they friendly? If not, do I want to risk getting bitten? How will I distract the dog?" Most burglars will pass up a home with a dog to pursue an easier target.
If you already have a dog, consider getting a "beware of dog" sign and put it somewhere obvious that prowlers will be sure to see.
5. Put Things in front of Windows
Make life as difficult as possible for burglars if they decide to climb through a window. Put objects in front of a window like tables and desks with plants or pictures. If a burglar pulls open a window and tries to climb through, they will have an array of noisy obstacles to overcome before they can get inside. Most burglars will spend less than two minutes trying to ransack a house, so if they have to spend longer than this just getting inside, they'll usually move along.
The Extra Mile
These steps are simple, but getting a dog or replacing a door might still cost a penny or two. If you're planning on spending a few bucks to beef up your personal security habits, don't rule out researching home security systems. Some systems cost much less than you may think, and many of these home automation features mentioned earlier are becoming more affordable. Take a look at top companies to see if any of their pricing plans fit your budget and needs.