12 Easy Ways to Improve Your Home's Security

Investing in a high-end security system isn’t the only way to feel safe in your home. Keep burglars at bay with these simple, inexpensive tips.

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You’ve Got (a lot of) Mail

An overfilled mailbox is a signal that you’re away. Ask a friend to empty your box and keep your porch clear of mail and fliers.

Decal Decoy

Thieves look for an easy mark; making your home look tough to crack will encourage them to move on. You can easily put up security system decals — a clear deterrent — even if you don't have a system.

Home Automation Tricks

Putting some smart light bulbs in street-facing lamps or installing smart curtains lets you control them all via app while you’re away. DIY home automation is affordable and easy to install. Put them on a random schedule to make it look like someone's always home.

Give Shrubs a Trim

Overgrown foliage tells thieves they’ll have less chance of being seen while they work, and also that you may not frequently be around. Cut back those branches so it’s not so easy for burglars to hide.

Light Things Up

Exterior motion sensor lights make it hard for a crook to avoid being spotted. Plus, when the lights suddenly come on, they may think someone is watching — and skedaddle.

Lock Down

Often a crook isn’t even breaking in, just taking advantage of a door left unlocked. Smart locks that automatically lock behind themselves, mean that’s never an option.

Keep an Eye on Things

Thanks to relatively inexpensive DIY systems, you can install a security camera outside (or inside) that lets burglars know you’re watching their every move.

Don’t Advertise

Tempting as it is to broadcast your vacation to Hawaii in real time, that’s also a sure way to tell the world (or anyone who’s planning a break-in) you’re away from home. Resist, and post about the trip once you’ve returned.

Install Window Stops

These prevent windows from being opened more than six inches — perfect for ventilation, but not for a criminal who wants to slip inside.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

They can look out for your house and make sure nothing appears awry while you're away.

Fill Your Trash

Thieves have been known to watch on trash days, to see which houses aren’t putting anything out (because it means the occupants are likely away). Asking a neighbor to occasionally put out your trash ensures that no one will notice the garbage has been missing.

Get a Fake Fido

A "Beware of Dog" sign or a bowl and chain by your back door can be enough to scare off the bad (even if you don't really have a pooch).