40 Life-Saving Home Security Hacks
Worse yet, vacation time provides an opportunity for thieves to rob your home whenever they please. Thieves even look for telltale signs that you are away for an extended period. These signs include a stuffed mailbox, a growing pile of newspapers on the lawn, and a lawn that needs mowing.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid getting robbed while at work or on vacation. Most of these methods are not that expensive or even free in some cases. These home security hacks can keep away thieves and give you peace of mind.
1) Install Fake Security Cameras
While not the same as having a real security system installed, fake cameras look the same as a real camera to a burglar. You can find a variety of dummy security cameras for the fraction of the price of a real camera.
2) Install Automated Curtains
If you own a smart home or are into new technology, then automated curtains can give your home a security boost. Many automated curtain systems allow you to control them with the touch of a button on your phone using an associated app, making it seem like you are home even when you are not.
3) Use a Dog Bark Alarm
Why use a regular alarm when you can use a dog bark alarm? In addition to performing the same function as a regular alarm, some believe the sound of a barking dog is more of a deterrent to would-be thieves. Best of all, many of these alarms are motion-sensor activated.
4) Leave Out the Laundry
If you are planning on being away from home for a short length of time, leave some old clothes on the clothesline in the back of the house. This makes it look like you are home and could walk out to get the laundry at any minute. Avoid using this tactic for long vacations, or thieves could get wise to your ploy.
5) Make a Secret Compartment
To create an area where you can hide valuables, place empty binders on a bookshelf and hide your valuables behind them. That way, even if a thief breaks in, they will more than likely pass up the binders on your bookshelf. To find out more about this hack, check here.
6) Use Social Media
While away from home on vacation, use social media to make it look like you are still at home. As a matter of fact, you should never state on social media that you are away from home for an extended period. This only sends an open invitation to thieves to break in while you are gone.
7) Leave Your Valuables With the Neighbors
If you have particularly valuable items, then you could consider leaving them with the neighbors. Do this only if you actually trust your neighbors. Another option is to leave your really valuable items in a security deposit box at the bank.
8) Turn the TV On
If you trust your neighbor to go into your home, then give them a spare key and have them occasionally stop by to turn the TV on for a few hours. This might trick thieves into thinking you are at home. Then, before bed, your neighbor could come by and turn the TV off.
9) Break Down Boxes
When buying high-priced items, such as large flat screen TVs, make sure to break the boxes they came in down before throwing them away. A large box from the flat screen TV you bought lets any potential thieves know that there is something of value in your home.
10) Hide Calendar
Thieves often walk around and inspect a property before they actually break in. Leaving a calendar with your vacation dates in full view of the window only lets them know when you will be away. Place calendars where they can’t be seen from the outside of your home.
11) Place a Hold on Your Mail
One nifty option that the post office offers is the ability to hold your mail if you expect to be gone for an extended period. This keeps your mail from piling up in your mailbox, signaling to thieves that you are away. You can place a hold on your mail at the post office or through the USPS Website.
12) Use Smart Plugs
In the same vein as automated curtains, smart plugs allow you to turn small appliances on and off remotely. You can even use a smart plug to turn on your TV instead of relying on your neighbors to do so for you. Smart plugs also allow you to easily turn off your appliances if you forgot before leaving.
13) DIY Cabinet Alarm
Old musical birthday cards can now serve a dual purpose. Instead of throwing them away once your birthday is over, remove the speaker system and attach it to the cabinet door in your bathroom. If a nosy guest opens the door, the music plays, alerting you.
14) Turn on Some Music
If you don’t mind the waste in electricity, then turn on some music before you leave for a trip. You could also have a neighbor or family member turn music on and off while you are gone, or invest in smart plugs so you can turn it on and off yourself from afar.
15) Trim the Hedges
To increase security while you are at home, trim the hedges in front of your windows. This gives thieves less places to hide when trying to break into your home. In addition, properly trimmed hedges allow you to more clearly see any intruders outside your home when you are still there.
16) Inform the Neighborhood Watch
If you have a neighborhood watch in your area, inform them when you expect to be gone on vacation. That way they can keep a lookout for any suspicious activity around your home. Also let your trustworthy neighbors know so that they can be keeping a lookout too.
17) Use Cardboard Cutouts
While it might seem like something straight out of a movie, using cardboard cutouts to cast silhouettes upon your windows while you’re away could be just the security measure you need. You can find cardboard cutouts online or at local retailers.
18) Take Important Documentation With You
If you plan on taking a vacation, take your important documentation with you. That way if your house is broken into, thieves won’t be able to steal them and potentially steal your identity. Some important documents include your birth certificate, social security card, and passport.
19) Leave Out Some Dirty Dishes
Leaving out some mildly dirty dishes might make a thief think you are still at home and spook them enough to make them flee. The main problem with this is that dishes that have any remaining food might start to smell.
20) Place a Hold on Your Newspaper Subscription
A pile of newspapers is a sure sign to a thief that no one is home. Luckily, just like with your mail, you can place a hold on your newspaper subscription. You can also have your neighbors or family pick up your newspaper every day to prevent them from piling up.
21) Use Signs
A large “Beware of Dog” sign is a big deterrent to thieves. Rather than taking the risk of coming across a vicious dog, they will move on to the next house. Pair this tactic with a motion-sensor dog bark alarm and you are all set.
22) Have a Neighbor Park in Your Driveway
If they are willing, have a neighbor park their car in your driveway. Alternatively, if you have an extra vehicle, leave it parked outside the next time you go on a long trip. Another option is to have a family member park their car in your driveway.
23) Hire a Pet Sitter
One way to keep a presence in your home while you are away is to have a neighbor or family member stop by to feed your pets occasionally while you are away. Another option is to hire someone to feed your cat or dog and to check in on them from time to time
24) Leave Your Curtains Open
Leaving the curtains in your home open is one way to make thieves think you are at home. This is assuming the thief is not bold enough to actually look in your home at this time. Then it could backfire as they will soon notice you are not at home.
25) Reinforce the Windows
In order to reinforce windows, which is often a weak point in many homes, add extra security measures to your windows. The easiest way is to install a security bar in each window. The bars extend and lock into place, making it harder to open a window. You can find these online or at local hardware stores.
26) Close the Downstairs Curtains
As opposed to leaving all of the curtains open, just leave the curtains in the upstairs windows open while closing those downstairs. This might give a thief the impression that someone is home, while at the same time keeping them from looking inside the windows on the first level.
27) Hide Identifying Paperwork
If you plan on being away from home on a vacation, make sure to hide any paperwork that could identify who you are. That way, if a thief breaks into your home, they can’t steal your identity while they are at it. Consider keeping important, identifying documents in a safe.
28) Mow the Grass
Before leaving on a long trip, mow the grass. If you are going to be gone long enough, talk to a neighbor or family member to see if they can mow your lawn while you are gone. Make sure to offer to return the favor the next time they are out of town.
29) Use Plant Deterrents
Plant bushes and shrubs that deter thieves underneath the windows of your home. Popular plant deterrents include those with prickly leaves or thorns, such as Holly, rosebushes, or blackberry vines, among others. Also, make sure to keep these plants properly maintained for the best visibility.
30) Hide Smaller Items
Smaller items, such as jewelry are easy to hide. Place them in inconspicuous locations in your home, or better yet, invest in a floor safe to keep them in. Make sure it is one that is heavy and that bolts to the floor to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to just carry it away.
31) Leave a Light On
While pretty obvious, leaving a light on not only might deter a thief, it also makes it easier for others to see someone in and around your home that shouldn’t be there. It also makes it easier to see your way around if you return home after dark.
32) Employ Friends and Family
Having a friend or family member stop by occasionally while you are on vacation can make a thief who is observing the neighborhood think that someone is at home. While they are there, direct your friend or family member to open and close the blinds and maybe even stick around for a while.
33) Install More Lighting
The easiest way to keep thieves away at night when you are home is to make sure you have plenty of lighting. Like cockroaches, thieves prefer dark areas and actively avoid hanging around in the light. If you don’t want your outdoor lights to have to remain on, install motion sensors to turn them on only when someone or something is moving around.
34) Have Someone Pick Up the Mail
If, for some reason, you are not able to put a hold on your mail, have a friend, neighbor, or family member pick it up daily. At the very least they should pick it up every other day. This keeps the mail from piling up in your mailbox, a clear sign that someone isn’t home.
35) Window Locks
Not all windows have locks. To better secure your home, consider adding window locks to your windows. Some of the best and easiest window locks to install include those that clamp the bottom of the window to the sill. For sliding windows, look for bars that sit in the track and have a lock and key for maximum security.
36) Have the Neighbors Put Out the Trash
The trash man runs whether you are home or not, so having the neighbor take out your trash cans on trash day can make it look like you are at home. At the very least having them do this keeps the trash from stacking up if you have any trash in your can before you leave.
37) Upgrade Your Front Door
A favorite access point into your home by thieves is through the front door. Make their job harder by investing in a more robust and secure door. Some steps you can take include using fortified strike plates, installing a long-throw deadbolt, and using long wood screws drilled into the door frame to make the door more secure.
38) Keep Away Keys
In order to prevent easy access and theft of your home, make sure to keep any keys away from the front door. No matter how hard you hide a key, a thief always has a chance of finding it. If you need to keep a key outside, put is in a well-hidden spot at least 50 feet away from your door. Your best bet is to leave a spare with a trusted neighbor.
39) Install a Timer for Your Lights
A light timer is a godsend when it comes to preventing theft. Not only can it turn on the lights of your home at a specific time, you can also set it to come on when it starts to get dark outside. Keep in mind that most timers will leave the lights on for a certain amount of time before shutting them off.