There are many steps you can take to make your home more secure.
Assuming that you already have an alarm system, here are several additional low cost methods to make your home more secure from outside invasion.
Since there are many suggestion in this home security article, we have broken it down into sections – one for each area of your house that you may want to secure.
- Place alarm sticker decals and/or beware of dog decals on windows where they will be easily visible.
- Use timers to turn on/off lights and a radio at various times to give the house a lived in look even when you are not there.
- Leave a radio or TV on during the day if you are not home.
- Make an additional lock for the windows (if appropriate for the model of window) to prevent someone from lifting the window from outside.
- Close the curtains and lock the windows when you go out. There is no reason to let someone see into your house – especially if they can see valuables.
- If you have a window air conditioner, securely fasten it to the window so it cannot be easily removed.
- Position electronics so that the illuminated fronts do not point towards the window. A thief seeing the little green/red lights will know what rooms to target if he can see the lights.
- If you do not have a real alarm system, consider installing dummy equipment like fake motion sensor devices in a position where someone looking in the window would see them.
- Make sure that you are using a solid wood or metal door for all exterior doors – and make sure they fit snugly in their frames.
- Mount dead bolts securely to the door frames.
- Secure tumblers with plates.
- Use long screws in the plates to make it harder for a door to be kicked in.
- Consider a security bar to be used when you are home.
- Keep a key with a trusted neighbor or in a safe, secure location on your property so someone can enter the house in an emergency without destroying an entry point.
- Install doorknob alarms. These little alarms sound off very loudly when they are moved. They are great to attach to doors. If someone tries to break in, they will emit a loud piercing sound just like an alarm system going off.
- If you have an outside door with glass, consider replacing it with safety glass or metal grillwork.
- Install a wide angle peephole and chain lock.
- Do not leave notes on the front door to say you are not home.
- Don’t install a pet door – or if you need one consider an auto opening pet door triggered by your pet’s collar. For a big enough pet, the pet door is an open invitation into your home.
Ground Floor Windows
- If allowed by local zoning, consider installing safety or shatterproof glass in the windows.
- Consider installing security grates on the windows.
Shrubs and Trees
- Don’t grow trees where they obscure the view of windows from the road or a neighbors house.
- If you have large trees, be sure no load bearing branches are close to second story windows.
- Keep all shrubs around the house below the height of the windows so that there is always visibility.
- Consider installing prickly shrubs under windows to make it a very uncomfortable place for a would be thief to ply his illicit trade.
- Install a metal grate on all basement windows – or install a steel bar half way down the window so the gap is not large enough for someone to climb in.
- Plastic drainpipes are less likely to support the weight of a thief than metal ones.
- Cover your drain pipes with anti climb paint or grease starting at about 8 feet above the ground.
- Put cement between the drainpipe and the house to remove any potential handholds.
- Surround the bottom of the drainpipe with prickly plants.
Sliding Glass Doors
- Use vertical lock bolts and shatterproof glass on your sliding glass doors.
- Insert a properly cut piece of wood on the bottom track to prevent the door from sliding.
- Drill holes and insert screws along the doorframe so the doors can’t be lifted out of their tracks.
- Keep the porch lit at night.
- Don’t let any deliveries sit overnight as it is an indication of an empty house.
- Stop newspaper and mail deliveries if you are going to be gone. Piling up mail and newspapers are sure signs of an empty house.
- Have a switch inside your house that lets you turn on and off your garage lights.
- Install a motion sensor light outside your garage door (and at other strategic locations around your house.)
- Install a peephole between your inside door and the garage.
- If you have a quick release rope on your garage door opener, tie it short so it can’t be snagged by a thief to activate the release.
- If you will be gone for a while, be sure to lock the garage door.
- If you have a garage door opener, have a strong person try to open the door when it is closed. Some garage door openers will fail this test and need to be repaired.
Additional precautions you can take
- Have lamp posts or flood lights to light your yard at night. Remove shadows and you remove a thief’s best nighttime friend.
- Make sure the floodlights are too high to be easily reached. And use bulbs that are shatterproof.
- Make sure that you stow away any ladders after finishing with them. They are a great and convenient way for a thief to break into your second story.
- Keep trellises, picnic tables and lawn furniture away from your house. Don’t give a thief an easy leg up into a window.
- If you are going to install a fence, install a see through fence rather than a solid fence. You don’t want to give a thief to hide while doing his work.
- If you love dogs, consider a breed that likes to bark at noises. Thieves don’t like noise and while a dog won’t stop a thief, it will make him consider another property – especially if he has no special reason to choose your house over another house.
There you have it – 48 tips that you can do to help harden your house against intrusion. Not all tips are appropriate for all houses but I’m sure you can find a few items on the list that you could implement this weekend to make your house more secure.