How to Make Your Home More Secure

Kenneth Wilson

Wherever you live or whether you’ve been living there for years or just recently moved in, home security should be your priority. If you’ve just moved into your new house, you’re probably more excited about decorating it and adding new features. I know it can be a tedious task, but you should install security measures before doing anything else.

This applies to even those who live in a crime-free neighborhood. It’s always better to be safe and prepare your home for anything. Wouldn’t it be better to have extra protection than lacking it when the time comes that you need it? You can never be too careful!

It would also help you feel more comfortable knowing that you and your things will be safe, giving you a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re always at home, at work half a day, or you frequently travel, lessen your worries by following these tips on how to better secure your home.

Update the locks

This step is important, especially if you’ve just moved into a new place. Whether you’re renting a place, bought an old home, or got a new one, you should change the locks if it hasn’t been done. The previous tenant returned the original keys, but his family or friends may still have a copy.

Your locks should also always be updated and durable. This means you should check for damage, if there are any that is easy to pick, or if they can be easily jimmied open. If yes, replace them with tamper-proof grade 1 or grade 2 models.

There are different types of locks you can install on your external door. One of the most common variety is the deadbolt lock, which is used for added security. When getting this type, check if the strike plate is heavy-duty. This plate is where the bolt enters, and durable ones are made of solid metal or brass and held by at least three-inch screws.

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Use security cameras

This device may not physically secure your home, but it can work as a deterrent, help you maintain peace of mind, and in the unfortunate event of a burglary, aid in catching the criminal. If you’re planning on getting a home security system, it would probably come with security cameras. If you don’t have a budget or not planning on getting a system, it would be less inexpensive to buy standalone cameras.

There are dozens of models in the market, so if you’re planning on getting one, here are some of the features you should look out for:

  • Mobile app and Wi-Fi connection: It would be best if the camera can be connected to a mobile app so you can view the footage in real-time.
  • Cloud storage: Having this feature means you can access the footage anytime and anywhere. It will also be safely stored if ever you need it as evidence.
  • Motion detection: Save some memory by getting a camera that turns on when motion is detected.
  • Night vision: Some cameras don’t have the capability to capture quality footage in the dark. Ensure that the camera you get will have night vision.
  • Waterproof: This is if ever you need to attach the camera on your exterior walls with no roof to cover it.

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Get a guard dog - or a sign

When you see a dog viciously barking at you, you would probably stop in your tracks, and chances are, so do burglars. A dog is one way to keep your home safe, especially when you’re not at home. These loyal hounds are great at sensing strangers and would ward off any potential threats.

Anyone would be afraid of a big dog barking at them, if they’re not, they would surely run off if it comes charging at them. You can also opt for smaller dogs, even if they’re not as threatening.  Pooches will still bark and bite with all their might to keep intruders from entering your home. Their barks will also alert you of anything amiss when you’re asleep or engrossed in an activity.

If you’re allergic to dogs or don’t intend on having one, you can make do with installing “BEWARE OF DOG” signs. Make it convincing by installing devices that mimic sounds in your external doors. When a thief attempts to open a door, the device can be triggered to release barking sounds.

Best guard dogs

  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Bullmastiff
  • Chow chow
  • Puli
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Kuvasz
  • Staffordshire Terrier

Watch the video to find out more about these dogs:

Install a home security or alarm system

Similar to having guard dogs, having a home system will work as a deterrent. If burglars see that you have an alarm system, they would probably avoid your home. You can do a DIY system, but it would be best to get one with monitoring and home automation.

DIY systems are kits that come with features similar to a professionally installed home security system but without home automation. With this system, you will be using standalone cameras, motion detectors, sensors, and alarm system. It won’t be integrated, unlike professionally installed ones. To give you an idea, here are common features found in a complete setup. You’ll find two or three here that are unique to full-fledged systems.

  • Motion detectors and sensors for your doors, windows, and all entry points
  • An outdoor alarm which produces a loud sound to notify neighbors
  • Security cameras, both indoors and outdoors
  • Smart home features to streamline monitoring and the ability to integrate with other smart devices in your home. This way, you can manage everything in a single app. 
  • With home automation, you can schedule your lights, television, and other appliances to turn on and off when you’re not at home.

Note: If you’re planning to get it professionally installed, research about the company, equipment, and customer service. You should also ask about the costs per month, upfront, and hidden fees.

Whether you have a DIY or professionally installed one, you should always arm the system when you’re going out. It’s a habit you need to build to secure your home. After, you should inform your family or friends who are planning to visit your home since you may get fined for having false alarms.

These systems also usually come with stickers you can place in your yard or windows - it's similar to those placed on a window of a car with an alarm system. Deter burglars by using these stickers. This is also an option for those who don’t have the budget for a home security system. Buy, create, or find a sticker online and use these to scare them off.

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Have a Safe

The tips mentioned above will help stop burglars from forcing their way into your home, but you will also need to keep your valuables safe in the event that they get in. To protect your things, install a safe in your home.

Your jewelry, birth certificate, passports, large amounts of cash, and other valuables should always be kept in a safe. There are different kinds of safes, varying in shapes, sizes, and portability. First, you should get one that is waterproof and fire-resistant. Next, you can decide whether you’ll get a small-sized safe or a big one.

Aside from being able to hold more things, huge safes are usually heavy, so burglars won’t be able to carry it. If you’re planning to get a small one, make sure that it anchored. You can do this by bolting it to the wall or floor. Even if it is fastened, it would still be best if you kept in a closet or hide it by covering it with a painting or a rug. 

On the other hand, you may want to get a portable safe so that you can bring it in the event that you have to suddenly evacuate your home. If you do get this, you need to find a great hiding spot for it.

After deciding on the shape, size, and portability, you can get extra features such as biometric or digital locks. Whichever lock type you get, it’s best if you can get two locks on one safe for double protection.

Even if you get a big safe, there are expensive items you can’t keep in it. Aside from being huge, you can’t always keep devices like television, computers, gaming systems, and more, since you will frequently use them. The best way you can keep them safe is by placing them in areas that are hidden from the outside view. You should also close your curtains or blinds so that outsiders won’t see what’s inside your home.

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Preventing and Preparing for Fire Situations

Thieves aren’t the only threat to your home, as fires can do worse damage. You should also keep your home safe by preparing for any fire incident that may occur, and here’s how:

  • Install smoke detectors: Having smoke detectors is one way you can prepare your home. These should be installed in every room of your home. Make sure to replace the batteries at least once a year and test them at least once a month.
  • Have fire extinguishers: In the event that there is a small fire, you should have access to fire extinguishers. You shouldn’t wait for the firemen to extinguish it as it may turn into a big fire.
  • Be responsible: Carelessness is one of the most common reasons why a fire starts in a home. Always watch what you’re cooking, don’t smoke inside your home, and unplug devices when you’re leaving.
Kenneth Wilson
January 10, 2020
Ideas & Inspiration

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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