You don't have to channel Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone to protect your home from burglaries. Just follow these easy steps. Erin Gobler Deter would-be burglars with these easy steps. Chris Monroe/CNETMoving into a house can be exciting, but putting safety measures in place to keep it protected and getting started with home security systems or devices can feel a little overwhelming. The good news is, burglary is becoming less common every year. But even with dropping rates, FBI data shows that burglaries occur in the US roughly once every 30 seconds.
To help you with your home security checklist, we put together a straightforward guide of the nine best -- and affordable -- steps you can take to protect your home and deter would-be intruders from breaking in. Secure your doors and windows Locking your doors and windows is the first and easiest defense against home intruders, but how many of us are doing it consistently? Burglars are often looking for easy targets, and an unlocked door or window is just that. Even when you're home, it's good practice to keep them locked. And when you're leaving the house, double-check doors and first-floor windows to make sure they're all secured. Some devices can also help you keep track of your entryways. Door and window sensors can track whether a door or window has been left ajar, and smart locks can be scheduled to lock automatically at certain times. Which brings us to our next tip. Upgrade your door locks Locking your doors and windows may not be enough if you don't have high-quality locks. First, make sure all exterior doors have a deadbolt, making it more difficult for intruders to break in. While you're at it, make sure your door frames and hinges are strong enough to endure an attempted break-in -- older doors or exposed hinges can pose an unnecessary risk. Finally, as mentioned above, you can upgrade to smart locks, which you can engage remotely.
Buy a home security system Installing a home security system is one of the most effective ways to prevent intruders from entering and to alert you if there's been a break-in. Data shows that a home without a security system is roughly three times more likely to be broken into. If an intruder spots a security camera or a sign indicating you have a security system, they'll likely keep moving. Home security systems are one of the best all-around defenses against would-be burglars.David Priest/CNETHome security cameras are a great option to add another layer of home protection. Security cameras can alert you if there's movement in your yard or on your front porch, and door and window sensors will let you know if someone has entered or is attempting to enter your home. Depending on your security company, they may also alert law enforcement on your behalf. Security systems also don't have to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable security cameras and great DIY security systems, in addition to stand-alone devices, out there that you can install yourself on a budget.
Keep your valuables hidden Some burglars may scope out potential targets ahead of time, ensuring they hit houses where they can get their hands on valuables. As a result, it's best to avoid keeping your expensive items where intruders can easily see them as they pass by. For example, avoid leaving expensive tools or bikes out in the open, close your garage door, and don't leave expensive electronics, purses, jewelry, cash and other big-ticket items in front of open windows. You can also consider installing window treatments like curtains or blinds to keep out spying eyes. Install outdoor lighting Burglars don't want to feel like they're on display when breaking into a home, and outdoor lights can help to do just that. Since these crimes are often ones of opportunity, outdoor lights may encourage the intruder to keep moving. Rather than keeping your outdoor light on all the time, consider investing in motion-sensor lights that illuminate the yard when they detect movement. The light will catch an intruder off-guard and potentially scare them off. And if you would like to take the extra step, there are plenty of outdoor security cameras on the market. From high-end devices to budget-friendly options, boosting your video-surveillance system can keep your loved ones and your property as safe as possible.
Lock your garage People put a lot of effort into securing their homes but often forget entirely about their garages. Unfortunately, that can be an easy way to gain entrance into your home. First, be sure any regular doors and windows to your garage are locked. Next, consider keeping your garage door opener in the house rather than in your car where someone could steal it. Finally, you should also keep the interior door from your garage to your home locked. That way, if someone does gain entry into your garage, they still can't get into your home.