Home Security Tips to Prevent a Burglary


The prevalence of home burglary is something everyone should be aware of. More than two million home burglaries occur every year in the United States. In any given year, one in six homes will be broken into, with an average loss to the resident of nearly $2000.

Whenever a home is unoccupied, whether the resident is away on vacation, or simply at work, it is vulnerable to intrusion. The good news is, burglars are criminals of opportunity. They are looking for homes that are easy to break into, with a minimal chance of getting caught, so every barrier put in their way makes it more likely they will simply move on to another target that requires less time and effort.

By following the tips below, a home can be made much less attractive to a burglar.

Outside The Home

Burglars hate lights – they want targets with lots of dark areas so they will not be seen when breaking in or leaving. Bright exterior lighting is a must, particularly around doorways.

These lights can be set to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn, or be activated by motion sensors. If possible, both options together are best – a set of time-activated lights to illuminate the entire perimeter, and motion-activated lights for each doorway. Be sure all exterior lights are mounted high enough that their bulbs cannot be easily reached and unscrewed.

Trees and bushes around the home should be trimmed and cleared so they do not provide convenient hiding places, or allow access to upper floors by climbing. Tools and ladders that could be used by a burglar should similarly be locked securely in a shed or garage.

Never leave a spare key hidden anywhere outside the home – under the mat, over the door frame, in the flower pot, etc. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor instead. Getting to know neighbors is a great way to prevent burglaries as well. They can watch the home when it’s empty, collect mail, and even park in the driveway, all ways to ensure the home looks occupied when it isn’t.

Doors and windows are the most important barrier against burglary. Make sure they are all in proper working condition, and have the strongest locks available. This includes the garage door, often a favorite entry for criminals. Sliding doors and windows should have bars or dowels laid in their track to prevent opening from the outside. Place very visible decals or signs near all main entryways, warning potential intruders that the property is monitored by an alarm system, neighborhood watch, or a dog.

Inside The Home

As for the outside, interior lights are important. Don’t just leave lights on constantly – use automated timers to turn lights and televisions on throughout the evening to make it appear the house is occupied.

Investing in a home alarm system can bring great peace of mind, as long as it is always armed when the house is empty. An alarm blaring when a door or window is forced open will likely cause an intruder to quickly leave in search of an easier target.

A home safe can also be good protection. Have it professionally installed away from the master bedroom, and use it to store all small valuables and important papers when not at home. Burglars want to break in, grab easily carried valuables, and quickly escape – encountering a safe makes this much harder.

Preparing For The Worst

Despite all preparations, it’s possible a truly determined thief could still gain access to any home. If a burglary does occur, it’s important to be prepared.

Maintain current lists of all valuable possessions, including receipts and serial numbers. Photographs or even videos of these items are helpful too. For certain valuables, identifying information can be engraved on them. All of these steps will make it easier to reclaim property should it be recovered.

There is no way to completely burglar-proof a home against intrusion. The vast majority of burglars, though, are looking for an easy target, a home with lots of shadows to hide in, unlocked or poorly secured doors and windows, and no alarms or attentive neighbors. Don’t be that home.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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