Secure Your Home

Tips for Creating a Safer Home

By United Realty Group

As the largest single purchase you’ll ever make, protecting your home is paramount, both as an investment and for the safety and comfort of your family. As secure as your home and neighborhood may feel, there is always room for improvement. There are many simple and low-cost solutions to make your home less vulnerable to intruders and break-ins. Being aware of potential security risks and taking action early is the best way to keep your home and loved ones safe. While it is not necessary to do everything at once, identify which strategies are most relevant to you, and make a plan to add the rest later.

Homeowner looking at security camera views from tablet

Home Security Automation

If you’ve been tempted to turn your house into a smart home, security is one compelling reason to follow through. Home security automation can give you remote (or scheduled) control of door locks, lights, security cameras, smoke alarms, and other safety devices. You are able to get real-time alerts about suspicious activity, therefore responding quickly to prevent potential thieves from breaking in.

Always Lock Up

Keeping your home locked up may seem like common sense, but the moment you let your guard down, entering your home can be easy for an intruder. Even if you're only running out for a few moments or doing yard work, make sure that you keep your home secure. Lock up gates, sheds, and garages, as these easily accessible structures are perfect targets for a quick grab-and-go. In addition, if you have contractors or other workers in your home, always be sure to check all doors and windows after they leave. Many burglars first visit a home as a guest, and can access and unlock a door or window for entry into your home at a later time.


Doors are the most common entry point for intruders. Follow these tips to prevent entry through your doors.

Person pressing code on smart home security pad
  • Locks: When you move into a new home, you should always change the locks. A keyless smart lock is a great option, and extremely useful for giving out temporary keys to workers and keeping track of who comes and who goes.
  • Smart Doorbell: Smart doorbells act as your eyes and ears. When someone rings your doorbell, you can use the equipment to visually confirm who’s at the door. Some products also feature two-way communication, which is especially convenient when you’re not home, but want to appear that you are.
  • Door Reinforcements: The weakest points on a door are the lock, jamb, and the hinges. Reinforce all three points on all external entryways.
  • Sliding Doors: Secure sliding glass doors with a metal or wood rod to reinforce the door, or add a jimmy plate (latch guard). The plate will prevent a burglar from lifting the door off its tracks. You can also add a door sensor or glass break sensor. These will alert you if the glass door is tampered with, and should ward off thieves.


Windows are also among the most common entry points for burglars. Unfortunately, manufacturer latches on windows aren’t always the best quality, nor effective. Add additional security with locks or key-operated levers.

A burglar peering into home through window from the outside
  • Sensors: Window sensors (also known as open/ closed or entry sensors) can be part of both a home security system and a home automation system, and will alert you if a window is opened or shut.
  • Security Bars: Installing window security bars is an inexpensive way to increase the safety of your home, especially on basement windows that might not be at the top of your mind on a regular basis.
  • Film: Front doors with side-pane window glass looks nice, but adds a home security complication, absolutely no privacy. At night, while it’s good that you can see others outside the window, it’s not so good that others can see you as well. Add decorative window film to resolve the problem.
  • Blinds: When it becomes dark outside and the lights are on, shut your blinds. You’d be surprised by how many intruders take advantage of that time of night when they can see straight into your home.


Concept of locking garage from a tablet

This entry point to your home is becoming more popular with criminals. Even if they can’t access your house, chances are you have plenty of valuables stored in your garage. Make it a habit to lock all doors to the garage, both interior and exterior. Keep the door shut while mowing the lawn, playing outside, and don’t leave your car in the driveway with the garage door opener inside. Cars are easy to break into, and you put your home security at risk by leaving a key to your home in the vehicle. Cover garage windows to hide contents inside, and consider upgrading to a smart garage door opener to receive alerts, therefore never leaving the garage door open again.


Make sure your property is well lit, inside and out. Outdoor lighting is a strong deterrent to any burglar and is usually relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Automated porch and motion-activated lights are also a good feature in areas around shrubs, garages, and entryways. Light automation is a great way to make your home look lived in and allows you to turn your lights on at sunset and off at sunrise. Save energy with solar-powered lights and put outdoor lights on a timer.


If a burglar hears sound in your home, there’s a good chance they’ll avoid it. If you are not home, you can play music, or even play clips of people talking with a smart speaker like Sonos or Echo. There are also inexpensive products on Amazon that mimic the lights of a television.

Burglar peering through the bushes


While trees and shrubs may give your house curb appeal, they may also give intruders a place to hide. Clean up overgrown landscaping, opt for smaller flowers and bushes, and even plant thorny shrubbery near first-floor windows. If you have trees near windows, reinforce those windows with extra security. In addition, don’t supply intruders with tools by leaving ladders and other objects out for them to use. Keep them picked up and put away.

Security Systems

Your home should have some form of a security system, whether it’s a basic DIY system or one that comes with professional monitoring and home automation. There are plenty of home security options for every budget and every level of protection.

Security Cameras

Security cameras work with both a home security system or on their own. Whichever option you may choose; it is recommended that you use a security camera with a mobile app. This way, you can see footage in real time and store it if you ever need to go to the police. A camera’s presence may deter burglars, and if that doesn’t work, it will help catch them. Other must-have features include: motion detection, night vision, WIFI capability, two-way talk, local or cloud storage, and weatherproof casing for outdoor cameras.

Security Sign/Stickers

A neighborhood watching warning sign posted in a residential community

If you aren’t in the market for a complete security system, adding legitimate security signs or stickers (the threat of a security system) may be enough to deter intruders, but there are no guarantees.

Neighborhood Watch

Join a neighborhood watch, an organized group of civilians devoted to crime and vandalism prevention. If there isn’t one in your neighborhood, start one or create a Facebook page to voice safety concerns or suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Being part of the watch reduces the risk of becoming a victim of crime, allows you to be better prepared to, and enables you to get to know your neighbors so that you can all look after one another.

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