Do you want to secure your life, family and properties but lack ideas? If YES, here are 50 best DIY home security tips and tricks from a master burglar. Security is a big issue for homeowners, as nobody wants to acquire things only to lose them to a smart neighborhood thief.
The awareness that your home is reasonably secure would give you the confidence to go where you wish when you want.
Not only that, but you would guarantee that your dependents are safe no matter the time of day. Apart from having access to a functional police service, there are certain things you can do by yourself to ensure that your house or apartment is safe from burglary.
Therefore, it is very essential that you know the various tips for achieving this. Knowing and implementing such tips will keep burglars, armed bandits and other intruders away from your home. Some of these tips that can be implemented in the United States and anywhere else include;
DIY Home Security Tips and Tricks
Set up a home surveillance system
A home surveillance system is one sure way to keep your house safe from intruders. You may not be able to deter them from the act, but you can always find out what happened while you were away. Again, buglers would typically stay away from a home with a surveillance system if they know it is around.
Having a home surveillance system that comprises both visible and hidden security cameras is another very good security measure. While visible cameras indirectly warn intruders that you are watching every move they make, the hidden ones are best for recording burglary footage, and they help to monitor intruders in cases when the visible cameras are destroyed.
Subscribe to an alarm monitoring service
Alarm monitoring services connect your alarm system to a central monitoring center. If your alarm goes off, the sound is relayed to the monitoring center, which immediately contacts and dispatches the police to your home within a few minutes.
This system is functional if your area has a rapid response police service that responds to call in less than five minutes so as to catch the intruders in the act.
Many people now use guard dogs to protect their homes from intruders. Guard dogs usually need extensive training and socialization to make them hostile towards strangers and friendly towards their owners and other familiar faces. Many dog breeds can make excellent guards.
Examples of some of the acceptable guard dog breeds include the German shepherd, the bullmastiff, the Caucasian shepherd, the Rottweiler, the American Staffordshire terrier, the Airedale terrier, the Doberman pinscher, and the giant schnauzer etc.
So, if you are considering buying a guard dog, go for one of the mentioned breeds. But if you already have one, all you need to do is consult a guard dog training expert to help you train it to become an efficient sentinel.
Install motion sensor lights
This is another great security idea. This is because lights with motion sensors can make it harder for burglars to sneak up on your home unnoticed—and if they do, a light suddenly turning on may dissuade someone who is considering breaking into your home.
These lights also make your yard safer even if you aren’t worried about burglars because you can see where you’re walking if you come home in the dark.
Most burglars scour neighborhoods looking for unoccupied houses or houses whose occupants are away for some time. When you are away, you can use automatic timers to switch off your security lights at the right times. This makes burglars think that someone is in the house.
Install a smart lock
Smart locks let you control who has access to your home while you’re not there. It lets you unlock and lock your door with your phone, give guests temporary access to your house, or give regular visitors (like a dog walker) recurring access. Anyone apart from these people whom you have registered prior would not be able to gain access to your home.
Install a video doorbell
While a smart lock lets you control people that are allowed to enter your home, a video doorbell lets you see who comes to your door. If you have both, you can see who is at your door and then unlock it remotely if you want to let them in.
The video doorbell is also great for keeping an eye on your porch if you have packages delivered while you’re out for the day. There are quite a few good video doorbells in the market now and you can choose the one that aligns with your budget.
Install deadbolt locks
A spring-latch lock is easy prey for burglars who are experts at loiding. Loiding is the method of slipping a plastic credit card against the latch tongue to depress it and unlock the door. A deadbolt defies any such attack.Though they are more expensive than spring latch locks, deadbolt locks are much stronger and therefore provide more protection.
So, you should add at least one-inch thick deadbolt locks to all exterior doors in your home. However, when installing deadbolt locks, ensure that there’s little or no space between the doors and their frames, as such spaces make it easy for intruders to force the door apart.
To reduce the space, use plywood or metal sheets to reinforce the door. It would be a good idea to reinforce the door even further by fitting London bars to the frame, or installing a strong strike plate with full metal enclosures to prevent the door from being kicked in.
Use interior door hinges
This is a good security tip as intruders can easily remove the hinge pins and gain entrance into your home if your doors have their hinges on the outside. Therefore, it is advised that you reset all your hinges so that they cannot be tampered with from the exterior. This operation may have to cost you, but it is better than you having to lose your valuables.
Display security signs on your yard front
Although yard signs may not prevent desperate burglars from entering your home, they can deter intruders because they pass the message that you have a functional alarm system and that all intruders are monitored. Upon seeing yard signs, most burglars will think twice before entering your home because they will realize that they may be caught.
Keep a vehicle in the driveway
A survey of past burglars showed that many of them would reconsider targeting a home if there was a car visible in the driveway.
Leave a car in the driveway if you can, particularly when you’ll be away for more than a day. If you’re headed out on a trip, consider asking someone to check in on your home once in a while so that a car is seen going and coming from your house.
Beware of loose wires
Research has found out that a lot of burglars gain access into homes through loose hanging wires. These individuals look for such wires first before attempting any other strategy. When a loose wire is found, the wires are disconnected so as to disable all security devices in the building.
Burglars may attempt to cut off your power supply as they are adept at operating in the dark, and you will be disadvantaged.
They can also cut off the wiring connecting your home security or alarm systems. To ensure that you don’t fall a victim, you have to ensure that none of your security wires are left lose and visible to people. Find a way to tuck them all out of sight.
Protect your sliding doors
Sliding glass doors are quite tempting to thieves, especially petty thieves who would not think twice about smashing that glass window to gain access into an apartment or store. So it is generally recommended that you not leave your glass doors and windows bare and unprotected.
You should endeavor to install metal bars behind them, as this will prevent burglars from gaining entrance after smashing the glass. It would also dissuade them from making an attempt that would cost you money for repairs.
Install a security alarm system
This is one of the best measures for protecting your home. A home alarm system will blare off a loud sound to alert you of any potential dangers and to scare burglars away. An alarm system, even when silent, can keep intruders away, as the mere sight of it can deter intruders from making further attempts.
Invest in window stops
One of the easiest ways criminals use in gaining access into homes by forcing windows open. You can make this activity very difficult for them by installing window stops. This is a device that stops a window from opening further after getting to a point.
If you don’t want to purchase a window stop for your sliding windows, you can place a sturdy wooden dowel in the track to make it harder to force them open.
Just make sure that it is cut to the right length. You may have to measure your window ahead of time and then take that information with you to a local hardware store–they’ll likely cut it for you so you don’t have to invest in your own equipment.
Buy a durable safe
We all know of the good old safe, but what a lot of people don’t know is that they need a safe at home to keep all their valuables safe. They only think safes are for people that have a ton of loose case and gold jewelries. But no, a safe is for everyone.
A safe is very valuable because thieves are always in a hurry and usually don’t have the patience to start cranking open a safe box. Safes not only protect you from theft, but also from accidents such as fire or flooding (yes, there are water proof safes).
You can use a normal fireproof safe for jewelry, cash, important documents, and other small valuable items. If you have firearms, you can also invest in a good firearm safe to keep your guns not only away from thieves, but from children.
Always take tools and ladders inside after use
If you live in a secure area, there is a tendency that you would get comfortable with leaving your tools and ladders outside after use because you feel that they are safe. You need to kick this habit if you want to ensure that your home is always secured.
You should be aware that hammers, big screwdrivers, axes, pry bars and so on are potential weapons for burglars. Their mere presence tends to give people ideas. So, whenever you have finished doing your work outside, make sure you put away all your tools, either locked in the garage or inside the house. This is a practical home security measure which we often tend to overlook.
Keep your yard neat especially if you are about to go on a trip
Having an unkempt yard is a clear indication that someone may not have been home for some time, and this kind of houses are usually targets for theft, so you have to keep your landscape neat all the time, and if you are on a lengthy trip, you can get someone to make arrangements to have your grass cut and watered and make sure other basic landscaping needs are addressed.
Again, thick landscaping, like overgrown shrubs and thick trees, are ideal hiding places for burglars; make sure you trim bushes and mow your lawn, and cut off low branches that obscure the view from your window. Planting a few thorny bushes or cacti at the periphery is also a good idea as it can help discourage the ambitious burglar.
Store Your Garden Decor When Not in Use
Leaving your garden furniture and lawn decoration stuff outside is an invitation for thieves of opportunity. When you don’t need your yard and garden stuff, store it in your garage and lock it up. Even if the stuff doesn’t get stolen right away, it might just send a signal that you’re careless, or that you have lots of valuable stuff, and thus motivating burglars to try and break into your home.
Install a peephole on your door
A peephole is a way to know callers before you open the door. It may seem old fashioned, but it would help you a lot security wise. Thwart daring daylight intruders by simply looking through the peephole before opening the door.
Make sure that the person is an acquaintance or legit (postman/courier you were expecting), and only then open the door. If you want something more advanced, you can install a video door phone. This lets you see who is at your door even when you’re in some other part of the house.
Keep at least one light on
Though you think that this security tip might not be cost effective, but it is still worth every penny. Keeping a light on when you are not at home can have two results; it lets your neighbors think that you’re at home, and it can fool intruders into thinking somebody is home even when you’re away. It’s a simple thing to do but one of the most important home security tips and tricks you can follow.
One the alternative, you can install a lights timer in your home that can turn on your lights automatically at a certain time every evening. It is especially suitable for you if you come back home late every day or you are going to be away from home for long periods.
Don’t share your whereabouts
A lot of people cannot wait to tell friends on social media what new place they are going to and what amazing things they hope to see, but this may not be the best for you security wise. This is a way of informing everyone that you’re not at home; while this may be fine during the day, it’s imperative you avoid doing it at night.
If you’re going away for a few days, never disclose that on social media. It is much easier than you think for burglars to find your place, so broadcasting your updates on the social media is equal to inviting the burglars to your home.
Keep an inventory of your valuables
Draw up a list of all your valuable stuff including equipment, high-end gadgets, jewelry, and cash. Keep soft and hard copies – at least one or two at other locations – with your mom or friend, so that in the event of a break-in, you can check your list and know exactly what is missing. This makes it easy to trace the stolen items.
Install Security Screen Doors
These are mesh doors made of high tensile steel mesh, with aluminum frames. By installing these on your doors and windows you cannot only secure your home from intruders and prowlers, but also keep out insects and pests, and prevent your beloved pets from jumping out to chase after other animals or people, as well as keep children safe inside.
Additionally, it affords excellent ventilation, and they don’t hamper your visibility but make it difficult for people to look inside, granting privacy. On top of it all, they can block harmful UV rays from entering your home – helping you get lower energy bills.
Use multiple locks on doors
Using one of those chain locks that needs a key, plus a deadbolt, on top of the main door lock, will make any door that much safer. Same goes for windows with multiple locks. Multiple locks, means a harder job for the burglar. All outside doors and locks should equally have at least two sets of locking devices.
Change to solid wood or metal doors
Burglars find it very easy to break through doors made of plywood or hollow wood. Therefore, you should improve your home security by installing doors made of metal or solid wood at all entrances. This is one of those tips that can prove to be expensive, but if your area is prone to burglary, it may be in your best interest to save for this. Money spent to provide you and your family proper security is money well spent.
Install a glass breakage detector
Since patio doors are made of safety glass, burglars can go right through the glass without getting hurt. But, they will think twice about that technique if they see a glass breakage detector on your door. A glass breakage detector can sense the frequency of breaking glass.
So, if a burglar smashes a glass door or window while attempting to enter your home, this detector triggers your alarm immediately.
Glass break sensors come in versions that detect flexing of the glass and vibrations or versions that use acoustic detection. The down side to detecting the glass itself is that you need a sensor on each pane of glass. For sliding doors, that means two sensors, same for most modern windows.
The acoustic ones can generally cover a whole room, so that cuts down on your cost. As long as you get them on the doors and windows most likely to be a target, the burglar will see the sensor before trying to break in. This is another good security tip that can serve you really well.
Take care of mails while you are away
An overflowing mailbox is one thing that indicates that the owners of a house are not around. If you head out of town for a few days, have the post office hold your mails or ask a family member or friend to check your mail regularly while you’re gone.
If you have a newspaper delivered each day, you should also tell them to hold the newspaper deliveries so you don’t have a stack of unopened newspapers on your porch telling thieves your home is empty.
Set up indoor and outdoor cameras
Outdoor cameras can help discourage break-ins, but t is also recommended to install cameras inside your home—especially if you want to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
Some indoor cameras are really good and versatile as they come with motion detection, two-way audio, and a siren to scare off unwanted visitors. You can also get text, email, and phone call notifications if sensors are triggered. If you are able to splurge, you can look out for some of these.
You may be thinking that this will cost you a great deal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can easily install D-I-Y security cams to cover all doors leading out of the house, garage, windows and basement entrance. Just the sight of the cameras will scare away most intruders, and go a long way in securing your property.
Invest in smart lightbulbs
Installing a few smart lightbulbs means you can turn your lights on and off when you’re away from home or program them to a set schedule. This is a very easy way to make your home look occupied.
Control your appliances with a smart plug
A smart plug works kind of like a mechanical timer but with more features. You can control it remotely while you’re out of the house, or you can sync it with Amazon Alexa and control it with your voice. You can use it to turn your TV or music on and off so it seems like someone is hanging out at home.
And on top of using it to make your home appear occupied, you can also use it to save energy and keep your house safe from fires. We suggest using a smart plug with space heaters, curling irons, lamps, and window air conditioners. That way if you forget to turn one off before leaving your home, you can turn it off remotely and eliminate fire hazards and energy waste.
Keep your car keys close to you
When you sleep, it is advised that you put the keys under your pillow or on your bedside table or nightstand, so that you can hit the alarm to make some noise and scare the burglar, or if needed, beat a hasty retreat, or go get help.
Keep Curtains and Blinds closed
If your house is right on a public street or alley, this becomes especially important. Keep the curtains or blinds down so that prowlers who are scoping out places to hit won’t know if there’s anything worth getting their hands on the inside.
This does a couple of things. First, it makes it hard to determine if there is anything worth stealing inside. Second, it makes it hard to determine if the home is unoccupied. You don’t have to do this for all windows all of the time, just make sure that you always close the windows when you leave the house.
Keep your documents in a bank locker
People seem to shy away from getting themselves a bank deposit box, but this is very necessary. The documents that can be kept here include wills, important contracts, agreements, papers relating to your house – even passports if you’re not a frequent international traveler.
This way even if a burglar does take off with some of your stuff, your important documents will be safe. Mind that your identity information is also valuable. If you have social security cards, bank and credit cards or other sensitive documents at home, make sure they are placed in a secure place.
You can also invest in a quality document scanner that makes the job go quickly and digitizes anything that you want to secure. Then, make sure you encrypt your computer’s hard drive or at least the folder that you store your documents in just in case they grab your PC.
Put package boxes away immediately
Leaving used package boxes on your porch delivers the message to criminals that you have valuable things in your house. An improvised home security idea you can adopt is to tear down the boxes or haul them to the dump right away.
Use a decoy
While trying to secure your home, it would be fun to have some decoys placed around to fool the intending burglar. You can consider using a cheap safe as a decoy and having another safe somewhere more secure. Throw some cheap jewelry and papers in it so that the thief thinks he has something, and he’ll likely stop looking for your other valuables.
The bedroom is the first place that thieves will check for money, instead of making it that easy for them, consider a more obscure location like your kid’s rooms as they often get passed over completely.
You can also consider the pocket of a particular suit or pair of pants, an empty container in the pantry, a hollowed out smoke detector, a lock box hidden in a basement or attic, a canister buried in a potted plant, again, more effective if you have more than one, make a false bottom in a drawer that is not in your master bedroom or office, cut some pages out of a book in your library and store some money or jewelry there, etc.
Shred documents with important information
It is very easy for a burglar to dig out sensitive credit card information out of your trash can on trash day than it is to break into your house. After you have taken the information you need from documents and have safely stored them away, you should shred everything that you don’t have to have hard copies of to reduce your vulnerability to identity theft.
Make sure you get a cross-cut shredder that can do at least 5 sheets at a time so that envelopes with account statements can go right in without a lot of fuss to unfold them and feed them in slowly.
Label your valuables
Do you know that most valuables that are stolen from homes are usually sold off for cash? In order to make it difficult for your valuables to be pawned for a few pennies, you should have your name etched on your valuables. You can equally etch your driver’s license number on your valuable equipment and then take pictures.
By doing that, you make the valuables hard to turn into cash for the thief, and you may keep him from taking them in the first place. And, you don’t put yourself at risk of identity theft by giving away other personally identifiable information like your social security number, birth date, etc.
Get some home defense weapons
Attack is the best form of defense. You can defend yourself in various ways. If you are afraid of guns or object to them on other grounds, then pepper spray or stun guns are effective as well. These tools are effective at incapacitating people and they are non-lethal.
Whether you choose a home defense shotgun, a handgun, mace, pepper spray, or a stun gun, these provide some defense in case a burglar ignores your warnings about the police and continues to advance and jeopardize you and your family.
Never leave your garage door opener visible in your car
If you keep your garage door opener in a visible place in your car, like the visor, it can easily attract thieves to break into your car. Not only can a thief steal valuables from your car, but they can get your address off of your car registration and go to your house to clean out your valuables there, too. It’s not a bad idea to take this a step further by buying a remote that hangs on your keychain so that it can’t be stolen from your car.
Use your garage
A lot of people now use their garage for storing garbage and instead prefer to park outside. This is not safe security wise. Park in the garage instead of using it to store your junk that you don’t need. That way, a burglar can’t easily pattern when you are away from your home and plan when to break in.
Install security film on your glass windows and doors
A laminate can also be used on your glass windows and doors to make it harder for a criminal to get into your house. The common protective film for windows is relatively undetectable and strong enough to withstand impact from a baseball bat.
Strapping a laminate to your glass doors and windows adds noise and time to the break-in, making the burglar think twice about continuing the attempt and giving you time to defend your home. Retailers of window bars have released a lot of low-key looking bars that blend in quite well into the look of your home. Security film can be installed yourself, or you can hire a professional to do the installation.
Reinforce your doors
You can equally reinforce your door to make them less prone to easy breakage. It will make a brute force attack on your door much more difficult if you get a door reinforcer. They cost about $20 and add extra strength around the door knob and dead bolt area.
That will make the door more difficult to break. Just don’t neglect to make sure you have 3″ or longer screws anchoring your strike plate to the door frame.
Lock doors and windows
This may look like a very simple and even obvious option, but it would shock you to know that a lot of people usually do not do this.
You have to take care to lock up your home, even if you go out only for a short time. Many burglars just walk in through an unlocked door or window thus making it very easy for them. In fact, someone has reported coming home at the end of the day to find a homeless person in her home because the doors were not locked.
Change all the locks when you move into a new house
This is one very important security tip that is easily ignored by people. If you move into a new house and do not change all the locks and tumblers, there is a tendency that the keys to the house may have been given to other people who may not be known to you, and your apartment is left at their mercy. There is even a tendency that you would get burgled by the previous owners.
Verify house cleaners before hiring them
Before turning your house key over to a professional house cleaner for several hours, make sure the person is honest and reputable as well as hardworking. Check all references thoroughly. If the house cleaner is from a firm, call your local Better Business Bureau to check on the firm’s reputation.
In the same vein, you should ask for credentials from any sales-person who requests entry to your home. Ask that their ID be pushed under the door. Many professional burglars use this cover to check out homes. If you’re doubtful, check with the person’s office before letting him or her in.
Bury your spare keys
Instead of keeping a spare key in a mailbox, under the doormat, or on a nail behind the garage, wrap the key in foil — or put it in a 35mm film can — and bury it where you can easily find it if you need it.
Startup a neighbourhood watch
Form or join a neighborhood watch group. Such groups are effective crime deterrents, because they encourage residents to be vigilant and to call the police whenever they see something amiss. They also provide information about crime in your neighborhood and work with police to improve response times.
Guard your details
Do not list your full name on your mailbox or your entry in the telephone book. Use only your initial and your last name. You should learn to guard your details jealously because anyone with your full names can find out a lot about you.
In conclusion, if security concerns are causing you to lose some sleep, apply these tips, and your home will be safe and secure.