Knowing home security tips is critical for happy life. However, burglary can become an unexpected experience if you don’t take any measures and are unaware of how to protect your home. In this article, you will learn the most common types of home security problems and threats as well as the best ways to secure your home.

The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal. © Jimmy Breslin

57 seconds is the time needed for a burglar to gain entrance into a home. The impressive and sad statistics. Open windows in summer, hidden spare key, leaving for vacations, and even a nice tree near the house are the paths to your home. Thus, home safety tips become number one steps to think about if you want to keep yourself, your family and your belongings safe.

Top Home Security Tips

Most Common Types of Home Security Problems and Threats

Comfortable home with everything you need is one of your principal concern. However, sometimes you can forget to think of how to secure your home. Normal life balance might be violated by burglars. The problems arise when you leave ways to get into your home.

Homeowners’ nonchalance

Many people are sure they aren’t at risk and give an easy entry points themselves. As an example, many homeowners carelessly leave a spare key in well-known places. Thus, a burglar finds a “hidden” key without any problems and enters a home through the door. Another example of such carelessness is when people leave the door or window unlocked.

Trees, shrubs, vegetation

Plants can become covers for thieves from neighbors to hide. Tall trees can become staircases to a home. Burglars will enter a house even if the windows are closed. Sometimes people tend to ignore the sound of breaking glass.

Home security system drawbacks

Having only locks for windows and doors is not enough. Up-to-date alternatives for old-fashioned locks and good home security ideas can be home security system and smart home security systems. They help protect property, control access to the home and provide with the alerts on any threats with the help of connected devices.

However, they both also have drawbacks because even good security mechanisms can be circumvented by relatively simple and traditional web vulnerabilities which are:

  • Updates. Home systems are operated by software, which should be updated from time to time. If an attacker is able to manipulate such an update, he can gain full control of the smart home system.
  • Minimum coverage of home security systems. The desire to save extra money can lead to lesser effectiveness of such system. Thus, you give intruders a good chance to use the gaps in security system to enter your home. Full package security systems with alarms, detectors, sensors and video surveillance are definitely more reliable.
  • Improper calibration. It can occur when you set motion sensors too low in order to avoid pets triggering the equipment or just forget to replace dead batteries and this provides thieves with an opportunity to enter the house.
  • Installing equipment that disrupts functioning of each other. It can happen when you use several security providers simultaneously.
  • Easy to access entry points. The most common of them are garage doors and skylights. In this video, you can see how easily burglars can get into a home by a roll-up garage door:

Tips to Increase Home Security: DIY or Hire a Professional

As a homeowner, you should know how to protect your home. The following home security tips can help you avoid unwelcomed break-ins:

  1. Lock the doors, windows, skylights, etc.
  2. Think of all the places which can be vulnerable and make a detailed plan on how to make your home secure.
  3. The best ways to secure a door may be to install a door that uses an iron or a steel core and add screws to the strike.
  4. Don’t forget about ways on how to secure windows which are using metal window bars and grilles, reinforcing window glass, covering it with protective film, etc.
  5. You can install smash-proof or burglar-resistant window glass as well.

In this video, you can find easy DIY tips on how to harden and secure doors and windows.

In order to prevent garage door break-ins, it is recommended to disable the emergency release lever, or lock it, and remove the cord.

Keep a trained guard dog

It can deter thieves. However, don’t leave dogs outside as burglars can give them food (often poisoned meat or sausages) and then get into the house.

Install and maintain home security system

Try to understand how your security system works. Statistics shows that 54% of home security system owners are unsure of how to operate their system. And burglars take advantage of such ignorance and find gaps that can be exploited. Thus, best ways to secure your home are to ask a security system specialist to install the equipment and explain how it works.

It is also preferable to hide the main keypad from others. The surveillance system can help record thieves and the robbery in process. Damien Girard, homeowner from Massachusetts, caught robbers breaking into his home on live video and called the police right away.

Hire a professional

Home security companies can help choose the right package, install all the equipment and provide you with necessary information and customer service. However, it is recommended to study the contract with all its terms and conditions carefully before signing. For example, you should know how to cancel it.

In this review , a person decided to downsize and sold the home. According to the contract, to cancel it, the company should have been provided with a 60 day written notification and settlement documents for closing proving that he/she moved. The Safe Home Security reviewer wrote:

“...I was extremely frustrated and left a voice mail that reflected my frustration because I had done everything the company had requested and continued to be billed. The collection rep called me back and was the only person that told me that I had not fulfilled the full term of the contract so I was responsible for 90% of it, whether I had it or not...”

As a result, the security company wanted over $1,700 for services that were not used.

Watch this video to learn more home safety tips and home security ideas:

Possible Home Security Scams and How to Avoid Them

Home security companies hire sales agents to go door-to-door and offer their services. However, such traveling salespeople turn into real scammers using high-pressure or deceptive sales tactics on potential customers.

A time-limited offer with “free” equipment

As a result, you get “free” alarm with a long-term and expensive system monitoring contract. A consumer may be pressured into a contract by a saleman, offered free equipment and time-limited contract, but when a customer tries to cancel their contract they are obliged to pay the cancellation fee. 

"Upgrading" or "replacing" your current security system

A sales agent from the company you use comes to your house to "upgrade" or "replace" your current security system. The agent pulls out or disconnects your old system, and installs a new one without telling you. He then asks you to sign a document which turns out to be a new contract.

Another scam is when a sales agent from a new company comes to announce that your security company has gone out of business, and you have to buy new equipment and sign new contracts with a new company he represents. You can watch how such agents operate in the video on how one of the security companies has tricked customers into switching alarm systems:

Scare and aggressive tactics

They can tell stories about possible burglaries in the neighborhood or act rudely. Like in this comment from Connie Evans about the ADT sales agents:

Adt sales agents

Burglars claiming to be with security companies

As an example, people from Anderson, California, reported to the police the men who, posing as door-to-door alarm system salesmen, scanned homes for possible burglaries. The police later determined that they were not employees of any security company:

bogus alarm sales reps

You can prevent all the scams if you know how to behave with scammers. The following tips on how to protect your home and avoid home security scams can help:

  1. Find as much information about the companies as possible. Read reviews, ask friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Visit Better Business Bureau website and your state’s Attorney General to find more information.
  2. Read the contract and check whether it includes such parts as:
    • Installation price.
    • Monthly or quarterly monitoring fee.
    • Contract period.
    • Applicable discounts.
    • A written warranty.
    • The owner's manual.
    • An explanation of your right to cancel the deal.
    • Cancellation terms.
  3. Ask your police and fire departments whether you need to register your system, and if there are fines for responding to false alarms.
  4. Don’t let anyone into your house. You can always say “no”. Ask a sales agent for detailed information on:
    • Contractor's name. 
    • Street address (no P.O. Box).
    • Telephone number.
    • Contractor's license number.
    • State that issued the license.
    • Name under which the license is filed.
  5. Don't sign a contract if a representative tells you that the “cooling off” period is 30 days. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, it is actually three days.

Ensuring home security is a high priority. The only way to protect your home from intruders is to think of how to make your home secure, and then take needed measures from locking the doors and windows to installing reliable home security systems. Thus, home security tips mentioned above can be of great value.

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Legal disclaimers:

1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

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