Homeowner complacency is often to blame for the break-ins or the house fires you hear about on the local news, and yet we just as often develop a “that could never happen to me” mindset regarding home security. 

In 2015, over 1.5 million burglaries occurred in the US, and home invasion is only part of the danger; extreme weather, like heavy snow or rain, can also jeopardize the safety of your home. Accidents happen to everyone, but you can reduce your risk by carrying out simple renovations and housekeeping practices.

Install Outdoor Lighting

house with outdoor lighting at nightOne of the most effective ways to dissuade would-be burglars is to keep the exterior of your home well-lit at night. If you are worried about disturbing your neighbors, you may want to consider installing outdoor lighting with infrared motion sensors so the lights don’t stay on all night.

Put Up Signs

Whether or not you have a home security system (and we recommend you do), posting security company signs or window stickers near entryways may deter burglars from breaking in. A “Beware of Dog” sign or two wouldn’t hurt, either.

Secure Windows and Doors

It’s a good idea to routinely check and upgrade the sturdiness of your doors, windows, and locks. All doors should have a grade one or grade two deadbolt lock, which are easy to install and can be purchased at most home stores. 

Because sliding-glass doors are a common point of entry for thieves, you’ll want to reinforce them by placing a wood dowel or an adjustable safety bar in the floor track. Be sure that all windows are closed and locked and that all window air conditioning units are secure. If not, use an air conditioner bracket, sliding window lock, or corner braces.

Remove the Hidden Key

It’s a common practice to stash a spare key under the doormat—and crooks know this, too. Keep the spare in a locked car or in an outdoor safe instead.

Clean Your Gutters

When functioning correctly, gutters and downspouts direct the flow of rainwater away from your home, protecting your roof, walls, foundation, and lawn. Gutters clogged with leaves and sticks can cause leaks, water damage, and mold growth inside your home and can attract pests and rodents. 

If your house is surrounded by oak trees, you’ll want to clean the gutters twice a year—typically in the fall and spring. If you have pine trees, you should clean the gutters quarterly, as pines tend to shed more debris.

Trim Tree Limbs and Shrubbery

Maintaining your landscaping will not only boost your curb appeal but could also prevent significant damage to your home. Cut back weighty tree limbs that overhang your roof because they can break during rainstorms or after a heavy snow. 

As an additional precaution, keep any bushes or shrubs trimmed since overgrown shrubbery affords potential hiding places that make your home more attractive to burglars. In particular, maintain or remove any plants around the air conditioning unit. The unit needs airflow to operate properly; when the airflow is blocked, the machinery works harder, generating heat that could spark a fire.

Fence-in the Yard

man working on a wooden fence with a drillA fence will add another layer of security to your home and may help discourage break-ins. Hauling common stolen items, like televisions, over a fence isn’t exactly like taking candy from a baby.

Maybe you can’t change fate, but we think it’s best not to tempt fate, either. Securing your home is a worthwhile investment that can prevent the unthinkable from happening, and many home security measures, like the ones listed here, are easy to take care of yourself.