Tips to Prevent a Home Break-In

A big part of crime prevention in your neighborhood is outfitting your home to deter burglars from trying to break in. By making your own house as secure as possible, you enhance the safety of the whole area.

So, how do you prevent a home break-in? Let’s go over 22 of the best tips to secure your house against crime.

Add a Home Security System

Installing a security system is one of the best ways to avoid a home break-in. Adding a burglar alarm system that protects the doors and windows, and other vulnerable areas of your home will deter most thieves.

Arguably the best home security system to avoid a break-in is one that automatically contacts law enforcement personnel or security specialists if triggered. Experts tend to recommend choosing a security company that offers this service for the best possible protection. And for renters who want a security system but are worried about the cost and complexity of installation, there are security systems with apartment-friendly features making it easy to install and relocate once your lease is up.

You should also put up security signs that showcase your alert sensors or security camera. This includes a sign indicating that you have installed an alarm system to alert any would-be burglars that your home is reinforced and not a good target.

Be Neighborly

Being friendly with your neighbors will do more than get you invites to barbecues. It’s a good idea for neighbors to band together to prevent break-ins, keep an eye on each other’s houses, and watch for suspicious activity.

Apps like Nextdoor make it easy for neighbors to keep in contact and report suspicious activity around the neighborhood. Additionally, you can join an existing neighborhood watch group or set one up yourself. These organizations are great resources to make sure that break-ins don’t happen in your area.

Change the Locks

As soon as you move into a new property, it’s important to change the locks right away. This is especially crucial for properties with weak security previously installed, such as push-button locks, that thieves could jimmy to gain entrance.

Request a lock change at your local locksmith or hardware store, and make sure no one has extra keys to doors and windows or even your garage door outside of your immediate family or trusted friends.

Clear Tools & Tall Objects Away

Never leave tools lying around on the lawn or your front porch. If items like hammers or crowbars are readily available to thieves, breaking into your home is even easier and more tempting.

Additionally, any ladders or other tall items left out in the yard are an open invitation for robbers to climb up and enter your home easily. It’s a good idea to remove these items and prevent easy access to burglars.

Hide the Valuables

Removing all valuable possessions from sight is a good way to help prevent break-ins as well. 

The more things worth stealing that can be seen from the outside of your house, the more likely a robbery will be. Always tuck your expensive goods away securely from view.

Protect your home by closing the curtains or blinds to prevent possible thieves from peeking inside and noting something worth stealing. This is particularly important if you are not home or are away for an extended period.

Collect the Mail

Leaving mail to accumulate while on vacation or simply away from home for several days is a good indication that the house is empty and perfect for a break-in. Have a friend collect your mail or arrange to have it kept for you at the post office.

Don’t Overshare

If you are headed off on vacation, don’t broadcast it to the world. It can be tempting to post or share about your personal life on the internet or with groups of friends, but make sure you aren’t giving away sensitive details that could be used against you.

And while getting big-ticket items for your home might be exciting, make sure not to advertise them to the whole neighborhood. For instance, when getting rid of your new flat screen TV box, don’t leave it on the curb for everyone to see.

Get a Guard Dog

If you can get a dog to help protect your property, that is ideal. The dog doesn’t have to be trained against burglars, either—most of the time, just noticing a dog barking or roaming around the yard will be enough to scare away a thief.

Get Rid of Hiding Spots

Criminals tend to “case” a house before robbing it, and to do so they need hiding spots. So, eliminate useful hiding places—trim trees, keep the yard clear, and lock your garden sheds.

Don’t make it easy for someone to lurk in the shadows and observe you and your home!

Have Lots of Outdoor Lighting

Illumination deters intruders, so ensuring you have adequate exterior lighting will make your house much safer. Install motion sensor lights for extra security, as any burglar caught by a motion-sensitive light is likely to hit the road!

Invest in Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology, including smart locks, smart doorbells, and more, are great options for enhancing your home security. By being able to control your security system from your smartphone, you have peace of mind no matter where you are.

Install Interior Hinges

Not all doors are secure, particularly if the hinges are located on the outside. Well-versed thieves can easily take a screwdriver to exterior door hinges and remove the entire front door to gain entry to your home without having to break anything.

Instead, install interior hinges to heighten your home’s security and make it much more difficult for burglars to enter the house.

Keep Car Keys Handy

Your home security system is not the only alarm that is useful during an emergency situation. Always keep your car keys handy and within easy reach, so if you suspect a break-in or hear something wrong, you can hit the panic button to scare them off.

Keep Garage Doors Closed

Garages can be one of the more tempting locations for an intruder, so keep your garage door closed and the garage door opener safely stored away where robbers cannot find it and use it to enter your home. 

This is essential not only for attached garages but for detached garages as well.

Leave the TV or Radio On

Leaving some sort of sound playing in the house when you are away is a good way to make it seem like someone’s still home. Try leaving the TV or radio on, at a low level, just enough to be heard from the outside of the building.

Lock Everything Up

Locking up your house is key to keeping burglars at bay. Always secure doors and windows when you close them, including all sliding glass doors, balcony doors, exterior doors, and any other access to the outdoors.

Break-ins happen, but an unlocked door is a bad idea for home security, no matter what. Your alarm systems might not even work on doors that are left ajar or unlocked, meaning that your outside doors are greater security risks.

Install deadbolt locks for another level of security on all your outside doors, as these make it difficult for a thief to jimmy open or force the lock. This is particularly useful for sliding doors that tend to be easier to open from the outside.

Make a Home Inventory

Not only are home inventories good for recovering your belongings should a natural disaster occur, but also for documenting items and their values in case of a burglary.

By going through your home and making a comprehensive and detailed list of your belongings, furniture, and all values or appraisals attached to them, your insurance company and even law enforcement can help in the aftermath of a burglary.

Put Important Items in a Safe

Investing in a safe or lockbox is a great way to enhance your security. By storing important items, such as valuable jewelry or personal documentation, in a secure location, you can prevent items from being stolen even if someone breaks in.

Secure the Windows

Always keep your first-floor windows and basement windows closed, locked, and with blinds or curtains drawn when not at home. You can also invest in special locks for these windows that prevent them from being pushed open and entered.

Shred Paperwork

Prevent anyone from stealing necessary documentation by shredding all paperwork that you no longer need. This helps avoid identity theft, particularly if you have credit card information, a driver’s license number, or other sensitive material to dispose of.

Stow Your Spare Keys Safely

Many people have hidden keys stashed somewhere useful in case they lock themselves out. But unfortunately, many of the same hiding places are used between houses, like under a rug or potted plant, making it easy to find these extra keys.

If you leave keys outside of your house, always put the spare key somewhere unexpected and original.

Use the Peephole

For your own safety, always use the peephole when answering the door.

This prevents you from opening the door to someone you don’t know and who might have bad intentions. Avoid suspicious people by simply peeking outside before unlocking the door!