Does your DIY home security look like something out of ‘Home Alone?’ Hold your horses, MacGyver. These are the biggest home security mistakes you’re making.
Home is our haven. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. In 2016, 486,006 burglaries happened in the United States during daylight hours alone. That doesn’t include the 278,600 that year that occurred after the sunset.
It forces us to open our eyes and realize our “fortress” is only safe when we secure it. But can you defend against external threats through DIY home security? The answer to that question is “yes!”
But only if you do it correctly.
But before you go to the store, buy and install a few simple locks, do your research. Below we cover 10 common mistakes that can threaten your home’s security despite your good intentions.
Surely no one will notice if you hide a spare key under the flower pot or garden gnome outside, right?
Security 101 is never assuming stray eyes never spot your activity. The truth is 65% of burglaries taking place in residential homes happen during the day, and they typically aren’t random hits. These thieves will scout out a home before the break-in, which includes monitoring your daily habits.
Those who store their key outside and are seen using it to get indoors provide an easy and tempting way to break in. This is especially true regarding your doormat, as this is one of the most common “hiding places” for keys of entry.
So common, in fact, that it’s one of the first places burglars check!
If you have a two-story home, even if that second story is merely an attic with windows, the last thing you want to do is store a ladder outdoors. It’s a common mistake. Understandably so, as most of us aren’t burglars, nor do we think like one.
But to the eyes of the ill intent, a ladder is an easy shortcut into your home. Whether you leave the window open or they break the glass to get in, they can sneak inside without ever breaching the front door.
Not all locks are created equal. Yet many people opt the DIY route for home security in order to save money. This includes buying cheaper options when investing in locks for their doors and windows.
This is not the place to shave off a few dollars. Many burglars are professionals. They know how to break or pick standard locks. If you’re going to install these as security measures, make it difficult.
Buy high-quality locking systems that are harder to crack.
A great security system only works if you keep it secure. Before you install your alarm system, think about the placement of your keypad. Is it viewable from windows or sliding glass doors?
If so, it’s in the wrong place. Peeping eyes can spy through the glass and identify the code as you type it in.
But wait, wouldn’t you notice someone peering through your window? Not necessarily. Remember, many burglars are “professionals” of their trade.
All it takes is a quality pair of binoculars and a good vantage point to see inside your window without you ever noticing it.
Do you have a guard dog? While this is a great deterrent, it isn’t a solid security system. If you depend solely on Fido to defend your home in a break-in, you’re leaving serious gaps in your security.
After all, not all burglars are afraid of dogs. Beyond that, leaving your home unlocked and unsecured can end up putting man’s best friend at risk along with your belongings.
Should someone decide your home is worth breaking into, they will likely plan ahead for every scenario, including disposing of your dog as a threat.
Fake security cameras have been a cheap and tempting option for many homeowners who didn’t want to invest in buying, installing, and maintaining an active security system.
However, they aren’t as effective as you may think. Experienced criminals can spot a dummy camera or fake security systems, such as red “active” lights on the front of the device or a suspicious lack of wires.
A dark yard is ripe for hiding within. If you don’t have outdoor lights illuminating your yard in the front and the back, burglars will feel more comfortable getting up close to and inside your home.
This includes light placement. consider the shadows cast as you turn on your outdoor lights, especially those cast by trees, clusters of bushes, and other large items on your property.
Aim to keep few, if any, areas of your yard hidden at night, especially close to the exterior of your home.
As we mentioned previously, your second story can prove to be the perfect entry point for a criminal. Whether you have a ladder outside or not, don’t leave your upstairs windows vulnerable.
Purchase high-quality locks to secure them, and make sure any alarm system you install also senses activity upstairs.
A security system only works if everything is functional. This includes cleaning and checking your cameras to make sure everything is operational.
You should have your security checked annually, at the very least. Check your cameras and make sure the video feed is recording properly. Also, keep in mind your lenses get dirty when they’re exposed to an outdoor environment.
Make sure the view is clear and no batteries need replacing.
Finally, do yourself a favor when installing outdoor lighting by using motion sensitive lights. Static lighting not only expends more energy, but it also causes deeper, more dramatic shadows.
When you install motion sensitive lighting, they only light up when activity occurs within range. Not only can this make a burglar second-guess their actions, but it also provides optimal lighting. You’ll see what’s going on without shadows cast by other lights interfering.
Plus, it’ll save you money on your monthly electric bill!
When it comes to DIY home security, you shouldn’t just stop at preventing physical intrusions. It’s also important to consider your digital security, especially when so much private information is stored on our computers and other technology.
Learn how to lock down your digital presence and protect your privacy, as well as your data. Our guide to improving your online security and privacy will show you how.