Your home is not only your biggest asset, but it’s also where you spend the bulk of your time. However, there are countless ways in which your home isn’t as safe as you think. The FBI reports that an estimated 7,919,035 property crimes took place in the United States in 2016, and millions of other homes were damaged by fire, flood, and natural disasters.
While you can’t watch your house 24 hours a day, there are numerous ways you can make it safer in no time. These 15 ways to protect your home will keep your safe, and—better yet—give you peace of mind. And when you’re ready to make your house safer from the inside out, find out where the deadliest items in your home could be lurking.
Lock Your Doors and Windows
It may seem like a no-brainer, but locking your doors and windows is a major deterrent for those who might want to break into your home. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nearly a third of burglars enter homes through unlocked windows or doors. And when you’re out of the house, make sure you’re practicing these safe driving tips to slash your accident risk, too.
Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Sensors
There are approximately 430 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States each year and more than 3,000 deaths from fires. To avoid being part of these scary statistics, make sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, test them monthly, and replace their batteries twice a year.
Get Leak Sensors
Water damage to homes, whether from flooding or burst pipes, costs billions each year to repair. Fortunately, inexpensive water sensors placed in basements, bathrooms, and under sinks can help alert you to water conditions that could damage your home and possessions.
Swap Out Doors With Large Windows
If you’ve got a big window on your front door, you’re giving burglars easy access to your home. To keep your home safer, opt for doors with small windows far from the doorknob, or, better yet, choose a solid-core door with a peephole.
Put Up Alarm System Stickers
Want to keep others with ill intentions off your property? Put up some alarm system decals and yard signs. Even if you don’t have an actual alarm system, the possibility that you might presents enough of a potential hassle for a burglar to choose a different target.
Hide Big-Ticket Items
Having big ticket items, like a fancy grill, car, or expensive bike outside your home makes it seem likely that you’d have even better stuff inside. Keep your expensive possessions hidden away in a garage or shed whenever possible and wait until trash day to throw away the boxes for expensive purchases. Items like these luxury bicycles definitely deserve a warm, safe spot in the garage.
Install Motion Sensor Lights
Nobody wants their bad deeds seen, so shining a bright light on would-be burglars can be an effective deterrent. Install motion sensor lighting to illuminate the darker parts of your property and you’ll scare off anyone who wants to go unnoticed.
Secure Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioners can present a major security threat if they’re not properly installed. Instead of simply using your window to keep the air conditioner in, make sure it’s securely fastened to your window frame or siding below. This will prevent someone from pushing it in and gaining access to your home.
Get a Glass Break Detector
Glass break detectors are an inexpensive way to secure your space. Not only will they let you know if someone is trying to smash a window to gain access to your home, they can also alert you to high winds and other weather conditions that could break a pane.
Making your home look lived in is one of the best ways to keep ne’er-do-wells out. Most burglars don’t want to have to fight someone to get their property; they’d rather just get in and out. Adding timers that turn on lights or appliances can make it appear as though someone is home, making your house look less attractive to burglars. Appliance timers aren’t the only home essential to put on your shopping list—these items that every man over 40 should have in his home are all must-haves.
Keep Your Hedges Low
While tall hedges can help keep your home from being cased, they also give burglars opportunities to go unnoticed. Keep the hedges around your house low so that intruders can’t gain access without arousing suspicion.
Get Friendly With Your Neighbors
Your neighbors are among your best assets when it comes to protecting your property. Having a friendly rapport with your neighbors means they’re more likely to keep an eye out for suspicious activity at your home.
Wait to Post Your Vacation Photos
It can be exciting to share your vacation photos on social media, but delay doing so whenever possible. When you post photos to your social media accounts or check in away from home, you’re essentially announcing that your home is unoccupied, making it a prime target for burglars.
Learn How to Use a Weapon
There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a crime, but being prepared if someone breaks in is essential, too. If you’re going to keep weapons in your house, whether that’s a can of pepper spray or a gun, make sure you know how to properly use them or you risk having them turned on you.
Get a Dog
Your dog is more than just man’s best friend–he’s also your best asset when it comes to protecting your home. Most burglars don’t want to tussle with an animal if they gain entrance to a home, so having a dog, a doorbell that sets off a barking dog sound, or just “Beware of Dog” signs can help keep your property safe. Even if you think you’re in touch with your pooch, the 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Dog might just prove you wrong.