Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, taking time to cover the basics of home security is essential to protect your most valuable assets. Furthermore, even the most basic of security measures can keep your family safe from intruders.

When prioritizing home security, there are a few key things to remember about burglaries. Most burglars are opportunists, targeting the home they think will be easiest to get into. Additionally, they want to be in and out in under 15 minutes. The more challenging you make it, the less likely you are to be victimized.

Here’s a checklist for basic home security.

Install a Security Alarm

Installing a security alarm is one of the best ways to protect your home. A security system will keep your belongings safe while you’re out, and help you rest easier, knowing that the authorities will be notified if someone tries to enter the premises. 

Here are some important things to remember when installing a security system:

  • When choosing a system code, go with something entirely random or unique. Avoid using a birthday or anniversary.
  • Use signs or decals to show that a security alarm is active on the premises. 
  • Place a secondary keypad away from the main door— in the master bedroom, for example.

You don’t need an elaborate system to secure your home. Find one from a reputable company that fits your budget.

Check the Doors and Windows

Your doors and windows are the vulnerable points of your home. Take time to test the difficulty of opening these from the outside, and ensure that proper locking mechanisms are put in place. Older doors and windows will need special attention.

Here are some important considerations for checking your doors and windows:

  • Ensure that exterior doors fit the frame and have a deadbolt.
  • Use dowels or internal locking mechanisms for sliding doors and windows.
  • Check window locks and ensure they’re functional. 

Reinforcing entry points to your home will make it more challenging for someone to enter, removing the opportunity that so many criminals look for when choosing a target.

Limit Shadows and Dark Spots Outside

While you might think that adding trees and privacy fences as barriers may detract attention from your home, it can actually attract criminals. Limit dark areas in your yard where someone could hide to gain access to your home without detection. 

Some suggestions for improving visibility include:

  • Installing motion-activated lights around the yard. 
  • Installing a floodlight in the yard.
  • Keeping hedges trimmed and maintained.

The easier it is for someone driving by to notice something suspicious, the harder it will be for a criminal to burglarize your home.

Have a Vacation Plan

If you plan on going away, you should put a vacation plan in place so that your house doesn’t appear empty. Some components for a vacation plan include:

  • Using light timers to make it look like people are in your home.
  • Talking to a neighbor to check on your home.
  • Having a vehicle in the yard and asking a neighbor to move it periodically.
  • Stopping newspaper and mail deliveries for the duration of your vacation.

It’s also worth asking a trusted friend or relative to housesit while you’re away if you’re concerned.

Monitor Your Curbside Garbage

One thing that a lot of people overlook for home security is their curbside garbage. The things you put on your curb can be an indicator of what’s inside your home.

When putting out your garbage, consider the following:

  • All important documents should be shredded— identity theft can be just as damaging as a burglary.
  • Boxes should be broken down and bound with the labels and imagery facing inward.
  • Old televisions and electronics that have been upgraded should be put out the night before rather than sitting on your curb for days in advance.

This is especially important to consider after the holidays.

Be Smart, Be Safe

Being proactive in your home security measures is the best way to protect your family and your assets. Follow these basic tips to make your home more secure.