A home burglary happens about every 15 seconds in the U.S. Protect your valuables as well as your loved ones by improving your home’s safety measures. Simple ways like installing heavy-duty locks and storing items in hard-to-find places can decrease the chances of your house being burgled and increase your peace of mind.

To avoid being a victim of a property crime, you need to think like a criminal and identify the vulnerable parts of your home. Drawers and closets are the first things they look into, so hide jewelry and cash somewhere safer. They also look for electronics, important papers, checkbooks, and other expensive items.

Follow these tips on how else you can update your home’s security:

  • Install secure locks.You can install a durable strike plate with 3-inch screws that go through the wall stud. You can also consider a more securemortise lock; it can’t be opened by breaking a glass panel and turning a knob. Its central locking mechanism is also usually linked to two bolts that go through the door jamb top and bottom. Finally, consider putting locks on your windows for added measure.
  • Secure the garage. The garage is a popular entry point for criminals. This is because they can still take the items of value still stored there if they can’t access your home. Make sure to keep your garage opener in the house and have them locked in both interior and exterior.If you use a security code, never share it with anyone. Moreover,check if your garage door needs replacement or repair, especially if it has issues like loud noises, closes too slow or too fast, or if it shifts to one side. Always conduct preventative maintenance to avoid additional damage.
  • Have adequate lighting. You can use bulbs that randomly turn on or operate on a time switch. You can also use PIR-operated flood lighting outside the house. It detects body heat so potential burglars will be deterred when they attempt to break in. Landscaping lighting is also a good option.
  • Install an alarm system. Install a good alarm system, or even attach fake boxes to the walls to give the impression that you have one. Get ones that are solar-powered and have flashing lights to make it seem that they’re working. Wired or wireless security systems are great crime deterrents.
  • Invest in a high-quality safe.Experts highly discourage homeowners from hiding valuables in a portable safe as a burglar can take it and open it later. A floor- or wall-mounted safe is a better option as it’s attached to the heavy structure of the wall, so criminals won’t access the mounting bolts.
  • Use hedges or shrubs as barriers. Hedges, including hawthorn, japonica, or gorse, can be more effective than high walls, as they have thorns that would be difficult to cut through. You can also grow thorny roses, just be extra careful in cutting or trimming them.
  • Lock everything up. Garden tools, ladders, or chairs need to be put inside your garage as they can be used to gain access to your home. Also, have a safe place for receiving your packages or other online orders as thieves might take advantage of left parcels outside the house and take them.
  • Hide money and other valuables. Don’t make yourself a target by displaying things that can attract criminals. Keep your car in the garage, keep the windows down and be as inconspicuous as possible. If it doesn’t look like criminals will get much from you, they’ll be deterred and move away.
  • Limit access to your property. Consider having a guard dog to serve as an additional deterrent. Burglars tend to avoid houses with noisy dogs. You can also grease down pipes to prevent anyone from climbing, and you can keep your old, squeaky gates to serve as a warning that someone is coming.
  • Use automatic curtain pullers. You can trick burglars into thinking that someone is always home by remotely controlling your curtains at random times.If they suspect that there’s someone inside, they’ll deem breaking in riskier and avoid targetting your house. Automatic curtain pullers can also prevent prying eyes by programming them to automatically close, ensuring that your windows are covered especially during the night.

These simple tips will help protect your home from burglars. A security system is always a good idea, but being extra cautious and knowing simple but effective safety measures are a big help. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid displaying valuables that may tempt a criminal.