Americans tend to think there’s more crime than there actually is. When surveys ask about the crime rate, Americans almost always say it’s up over the prior year.
But that ignores the reality that both violent crime and property crime rates have gone down significantly since the 1990s.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that most crimes are not reported and even fewer are solved. Property crimes have a clearance rate of less than 20 percent nationwide.
That’s cause for concern. But you can secure your home without taking out a second mortgage. Read on for 10 simple home security tips that work for almost anyone.
1. Install Smart Locks
We’ve all used traditional locks that require a key. But when you’re looking for home security tips, you should start with locks you can control from your phone.
Smart locks don’t require your physical presence. If your kids are coming home before you and don’t have a key, you can ask them to text you when they arrive. In another few seconds, you can unlock the door for them.
Even better, you can lock them in once they’re inside. Smart locks are also ideal for those mornings when you rush out the door so fast that you forget to lock it behind you. It’s one of the most simple security solutions out there.
2. Buy a Video Doorbell
You’re expecting a new vacuum cleaner to arrive on your doorstep. But while Amazon says the package got delivered, you can’t find it. It’s not by your door, and it’s definitely not at your neighbor’s house.
You’ve gotten victimized by porch pirates. A 2017 survey found that 8 percent of Americans reported having a package delivery stolen during the holiday season.
If this happens, you should first contact the retailer for a refund. Then buy a video doorbell that allows you to catch thieves in the act. You can view the doorbell camera from your phone even if you aren’t home.
3. Secure the Windows
You may think you’re letting a little air in at night when you crack the window. But a would-be burglar or robber sees an opportunity.
Closing the window is the best thing you can do to keep someone from getting in. Beyond that, make sure the window latches are sturdy.
Worried about someone throwing a rock through your window to get in? Add window alarms that go off when glass breaks.
4. Light It Up
Next time you drive by a gas station at night, notice how bright the parking lot is. Bad guys usually prefer to operate in darkness, which means light can repel them.
Pay special attention to your front and back entrances. If you have to stumble through the darkness to get to your back door, that means it’s too dark.
Adding lights to a pathway can also help you feel safer when you’re walking from your car after a late night out.
5. Hedge Your Bets
Hedges can add aesthetic value to your home. But for security reasons, you need to keep them properly maintained.
Sure, someone jumping out of the bushes and attacking you may feel like something that only happens in movies. But keep your trees and bushes trimmed back anyway.
6. Release the Hounds
A dog is a great source of companionship but a dog can also sound the alarm if there’s a potential intruder outside.
Of course, some dogs are more excitable than others. If your small dog barks at clouds, you may wonder how much good he’ll be in a home invasion.
But he’s probably more useful than you think. Just the sound of any dog barking can be enough to send intruders running
7. Check the Mail
Maybe all you’ve been getting lately is junk mail. But you still need to take that junk mail out of your box and place it in a recycling bin.
An overflowing mailbox does more than irritate your mailman. It can also tell burglars that no one is home. If you are home, you need to get your mail.
What if you’re not home? In that case, you should make sure someone is snagging your mail for you. It can be a house sitter, pet sitter, or friendly neighbor.
8. Add Signage
Burglars look for homes that seem like an easy mark. Planting home security signs in your yard gives them pause.
A sign that says “Security cameras in use” is good, as is one that warns “Beware of dog.”
Don’t go overboard on the signage, though. If you cover your yard in signs, burglars may suspect you’re faking it. And you don’t want them to test that theory by trying to get into your house.
9. Keep Your Keys Close
Your keys can act as a DIY security system, at least if you keep them near you at night.
If you’re like most people, you probably deposit your keys on a surface by the front door as soon as you walk in. But leave them on your nightstand instead.
If you hear someone outside, you’ll want to grab your keys and press the panic button. It’s especially helpful if someone is trying to get into your car.
This simple security tip is safer than keeping a gun by your bed. You can handle your car keys when you’re half-asleep without any problems. The same isn’t true of a handgun.
10. Consider Cameras
One of the most simple security solutions is also one of the most obvious: get a camera. Or better yet, get several cameras.
There’s a reason why cameras get used for everything from construction security to office security. They stop a lot of crimes from ever happening in the first place.
And if the crime does happen, well, security cameras ensure you’ve got footage to show the police. A camera can’t prevent every single crime, but it can help solve a lot of them.
Simple Home Security Tips
Simple home security is important for a few reasons. Home security that’s too complicated will make you feel stressed out rather than safe.
Before you buy equipment, survey your home. Look for spots that seem vulnerable to intruders. Secure those first. Then work your way down the rest of the list as needed.
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