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Resources > DIY Home Security > 15 Effective Home Security Tips

15 Effective Home Security Tips

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Personal information in wallet and phone lying on a wooden table ready for an identity thief to steal.

Too many homeowners put off protecting their homes. They want to keep their family and belongings safe, but figure they'll get around to doing something about it eventually.

Unfortunately, many wait until tragedy strikes before taking action. Burglaries happen every 30 seconds in the U.S., according to FBI statistics.

Make protecting your home a top priority this year. To make things easier, we've come up with a list of 15 top home security tips to focus on. That way, you'll know you've covered your house from every angle. Start now and have the peace of mind that you and your family will be safe.

Cove's home security cameras and panel on a table.

1. Purchase a Home Security System with Monitoring

The number one thing you can do to protect your home is to purchase and install a home security system with monitoring. Putting up cameras on your own and keeping your doors locked isn’t going to be enough. A home security system with monitoring, including motion sensors, can mean the difference between coming home to a broken lock and being alerted as a burglary is in progress.

Did you know that criminals are 300% more likely to pass by a home with a home security system with monitoring? Kind of puts things in perspective. There are lots of options when shopping for a home security system. Obviously, you want something reliable, but also easy to figure out and affordable.

That's why at Cove, we've created a simple quiz so you can quickly see what we recommend for your home. Plus, we're one of the most affordable (equipment and monitoring) systems out there. When you do get a home security system installed, be sure to add your new home security signs and stickers so criminals get the message loud and clear.

Mother and daughter at the front door leaving their home.

2. Always Lock Your Doors and Windows

If you're running a quick errand, you might not think it's important to lock up your house. After all, you're going only going to be gone a few minutes. But it only takes a few minutes for a criminal to invade your home. Plus, how many times does a short errand turn into something longer?

Always make sure to lock every door and window, no matter what. This is an easy home security tip to get into the habit of doing. Don't forget less used doors or basement windows that aren't as visible to the street. A burglar will usually enter the home through a door that the family forgot to lock.

A person locking or unlocking a double door.

3. Change the Locks When You Move Into a New Home

When you are handed the keys to your new home, beware that you may not be the only person who has keys to your front door. It's a scary thought, but it happens. Even if the previous owners are good people, it's possible that they misplaced a set of old keys and now someone else is in possession of them. You just never know.

If there is another set of keys floating around out there, it would be all too easy for a criminal to wait until you're not home and let themselves in. To be absolutely sure that you're the only one with keys, change the locks. It takes a bit of time and money to follow this home security tip, but it's a small price to pay for safety and peace of mind.

Cracked glass in a window.

4. Secure Your Windows

Locking your windows is always a good idea, but they only do so much if a burglar is motivated to get through. Window bars are a quick DIY option that offer instant protection. If you don't like the look of them or can't because you rent your home or apartment, consider having them installed on windows that don't face the street.

Changing the glass in your windows to shatter-proof glass is another option, but if that's not practical for your home, another option is window security film. It's inexpensive, goes on easily, and comes in clear, plus frosted or tinted for added privacy.

Yellow front door of a white home with a metal fence.

5. Reinfornce Exterior Doors so They Can't Be Kicked In

Front doors are often the way criminals enter a home. Locking your front door is always a good first step to keep your home secure, but it's not foolproof. If someone is motivated enough, they'll try to kick the door in.

One way to keep them from being successful is by upgrading your front door to one with a solid core. Rather than replacing it altogether, there are other routes that can help reinforce doors on your home. You can reinforce doorjambs, secure door hinges, and strengthen strike plates. Do as many of these as possible for more layers of protection.

Person holding a smart phone up taking a photo and posting to social media of their travels to a big city.

6. Don't Overshare on Social Media

Wanting to share your life on social media is natural for a lot of people. Just be careful not to share too much information, which can make you a target of thieves. When you take a vacation, for example, wait until you return to post photos so you're not announcing to the world that your home is unoccupied. Also, avoid posting about expensive purchases.

You'll also want to avoid letting people in on your daily habits, such as "every day I go on a 30-minute walk at 5pm," as it provides a window of opportunity for a criminal. You never know who else can see your posts.

Kitty and package on a doorstep porch of a house.

7. Collect Mail and Packages Regularly

Nothing says "I'm not home" more than newspapers, mail, and packages piled up at your front door. This can open up to the items being stolen from your porch, and even a criminal going a step further and entering your house.

When you're in town, make sure to pick up these items daily. If you're out of town, ask a neighbor to do it for you, or fill out a Hold Mail Request Form.

Trimming a bush in a home's yard with a hedge trimmer.

8. Maintain Your Home's Landscaping

Besides looking nice, a maintained yard can be a deterant to criminals. Overgrown hedges and trees can be great hiding places for potential burglars. They can jump behind foliage when no one is watching and keep away from prying eyes when there are people walking the neighborhood. When bushes and shrubs are kept trimmed, neighbors can quickly see if anything suspicious is going on. You could even go a step further and plant throny or spiky plants underneath windows to keep criminals away.

A beige house with a split double garage, with a car parked in the driveway.

9. Burglar-Proof Your Garage

Since people only go into their garages occasionally, thieves know that garages are an easier place to quickly steal something. Your tools, for instance. The number one way to keep burglars from ransacking your garage is to close the garage door. How often have you left your garage door open for a few minutes or more? That's all it takes for a criminal to seize the opportunity.

Be sure to keep your garage remote away from easy access. Many clip their garage remotes on their car visor, but if you ever park outside your garage, it would be easy for someone to grab it only to use it later.

Another home security tip is to hide your tools that you keep in your garage. Rather than putting the nice tools on display, place them out of sight so only you know where they are. Beyond that, if your garage door has glass on it you can put tinted window film on it so people can't see what's inside.

Purple bike parked in front of a red garage at the bottom of stairs leading to the front door of a house.

10. Protect Outdoor Valuables

Many homeowners have loose items around the outside of their home that could easily be stolen. It would be all too easy to nab a bike or other expensive item if it's accessible. Thats why it is always important to have a outdoor camara.

Be sure to always keep valuable outdoor items out of your front yard, unless you are right there with them. When you're done putting up Christmas lights, for example, put away that ladder and drill. Help your kids understand that they must put their bikes away after every use.

But even backyards aren't off limits to burglars. If you are able, stow away your grill when not in use so criminals don't even know you own one. Another option is to attach your grill to something heavy, like sandbags or blocks.

There are also great options for locks to keep them from being moved easily. If you're pouring concrete soon, you can include an achor point and clip chains to it that secure grills, patio furniture, etc.

A well lit house in the evening.

11. Install Outdoor Motion Detection Lighting

Criminals depend on being out of sight in order to do their business. If they can hide, they will, and hiding in the dark is a good cover. That's why installing motion sensor lights in strategic areas outside your home is a great home security tip.

Some places to install motion sensor lights are above your garage and exterior buildings, near your home's entrances, on the sides of your home, and anywhere else that could be a potential hiding place in the dark.

Cove exterior home security camera.

12. Keep Home Security Wiring from Prying Eyes

Burglars know that one way around security cameras is to disconnect them. If they’re able to find any wiring without getting caught on camera, they can disconnect the system and enter the home undetected. To avoid this, make sure all wiring is hidden from prying eyes. Build the wiring into the paneling of the home rather than letting the wires hang in plain sight.

Or you can go a step further and forget the wires. Rather, use wireless home security system, like Cove. Because it's affordable, you can purchase more equipment to monitor more areas of your home.

Visitors at the door talking into a doorbell camera.

13. Make Your Home Appear Occupied

There's nothing like a dark home with no signs of life to attract burglars. When you're going to be away, especially for a long period of time, it's important to make your home appear occupied. A few home security tips: put interior and exterior lights on a timer, and leave on a battery powered radio or TV or anything else with lights or sound. Criminals target homes that are empty. If they think someone is home listening to the radio, they will move on.

Some burglars will knock on the front door to see if someone responds. An easy way to appear as if you're home is by installing a smart doorbell camera. Doorbells cameras allow you to see who is knocking and answer the door from a remote location. This way, the intruder has no way of knowing whether or not you’re at home or at work.

A set of old keys hanging from a door lock.

14. Don’t Hide Keys in Cliche Locations

Most people have spare keys to their homes and want to have them handy in case they get locked out or need to give someone else access. You already know the most common places to hide keys: under the doormat, under a nearby rock, or inside an obviously fake rock. If you know these cliche locations, you can bet a potential intruder does, too. Finding a key means easy access to your home, so they definitely look.

If you currently hide your spare key in one of those locations, move it as soon as you can. Instead, be creative and hide the key in a place only you will know. You could consider hiding it in a film can under the mulch in the flower bed. Or under the seat cushions of the couch on the porch. This is a home security basic that you can accomplish in minutes and costs nothing.

Man looking on his phone with two women looking on.

15. Talk to Your Neighbors

Possibly one of the best home security tips is this: talk to your neighbors. Their eyes and ears are invaluable when it comes to keeping your home safe. They may notice someone creeping around the area or spot a stranger knocking on your door.

If you haven't met your neighbors yet, make it a point to get to know them. You could also try online neighborhood groups like NextDoor or even a neighborhood Facebook page. And since you're a good neighbor, you will definitely return the favor and keep an eye out.

When it comes down to it, protecting your home is all about common sense. Understand that criminals are looking for easy access, so if you can make it hard that will deter them from targeting your home. The biggest takeaway is to not wait until tragedy strikes. Review these tips and put them into action as soon as possible. Your safety and peace of mind are worth it.


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