Home security matters more than you might think. There are about 3.7 million home burglaries in the United States every year, and many of them could have been prevented with simple upgrades.
Most people think that home security is a major investment, costing thousands of dollars’ worth of new equipment, or substantial changes to the layout of your home.
But the reality is, most thieves specifically go after the easiest targets they can find. If you just make your home slightly harder to break into, they’ll likely give up and move onto another target.
Improving Home Security
These small upgrades won’t cost you much, but will increase your security enough to force thieves to move onto other targets:
- Install a smart doorbell. Consider investing in a smart doorbell like Skybell, which allows you to remotely view the area in front of your house and/or open the door via your smartphone, no matter where you are. This is important for screening visitors, especially late at night, so you can avoid opening the door for people you don’t know. It also gives you a better idea of what’s happening at your door when you’re away from home—like when you’re at work.
- Change the locks. Changing your locks is relatively inexpensive, but can be a significant improvement to your home security. For starters, you’ll guard yourself against anyone who might have a duplicate key to the previous locks. On top of that, newer locks are usually more advanced and harder to pick or break, so you’ll instantly make your home harder to break into; you may even be able to change the locks yourself.
- Get a security system. Next, consider investing in a home security system. These will usually trigger an alarm if your perimeter is broken without authorization, and notify the police. High-end systems can cost thousands of dollars, plus a monthly fee, but lower-end systems can provide protection for just a few hundred dollars. Sometimes, all it takes is a loud noise and the threat of police to scare off a would-be intruder.
- Make your home look occupied. Thieves tend to target homes that aren’t occupied—or at least ones that don’t look occupied. Make an effort to make sure your house looks like someone is there 24/7. You can do this simply by leaving a light on in at least one room, or using programmable timers to keep your lights on at certain times. It’s also a good idea to change up your habits, so nobody can know your patterns too well.
- Install more outdoor lighting. Installing outdoor lighting is convenient for you, and a major deterrent to would-be thieves thinking of breaking into your house at night. Many thieves choose to operate under the cover of darkness, so they’re harder to spot and harder to identify. If you have even a small light illuminating your doorways and the area around your house, that cover will disappear, making it harder and riskier to damage or break into your property.
- Upgrade your windows. Newer windows are generally better-protected than older ones. They’re equipped with more advanced locks, more safety features, and thicker-quality glass that’s harder to break. Still, upgrading your windows is a major expense; instead, you can compensate for your older windows by investing in burglar locks, or if you don’t mind the aesthetics, burglar bars to dissuade potential intruders.
- Upgrade your doors. If changing the locks wasn’t enough, consider upgrading your doors. New doors are sturdier and harder to break down, and you’ll get the opportunity to invest in a heavy-duty deadbolt lock that can keep your main entrances absolutely secure.
No matter how much time or money you spend upgrading your home to improve its security, there’s no such thing as a burglar-proof house. If an intruder is committed and has enough time, even the best locks and security systems can be avoided. The best thing you can do to protect yourself, other than investing in these upgrades, is to keep watch over your neighborhood and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Look out for suspicious activity, and take note of any disturbances you observe.