Burglar breaking into a house window with a crowbar

While decorating and entertaining may be the fun part of homeownership, you should remember that break-ins remain the number one property crime across America. In fact, a break-in occurs every 26 seconds at an average cost of around $2,800 to the homeowner.

Whether your home is urban to rural, it’s price is average to expensive, or it’s night or day, you should never underestimate the importance and value in keeping your home as secure as possible. Let’s look at six tips to help you get there.

1. Let There Be Light

Darkened areas around your property, particularly close to entry and exit points, give thieves and snoops the perfect camouflage of darkness.

Most homeowners avoid outdoor security lighting because they think it will run their electric bill up, require professional installation, and/or have a monthly subscription cost.

There are plenty of options for professionally installed, designed, and monitored systems that utilize sensors, alarms, and a control panel. Some simply emit noise and lights to ‘frighten’ intruders away. Others are integrated via WiFi or a landline, which automatically notifies the security company and/or authorities when tripped. However, with the latter, there’s often a monthly service fee.

The good news is that there are plenty of DIY low-tech options that you can install yourself and self-monitor if cost is an issue. The lights should be placed in dark corners and common pathways. You can use a standard flood light that switches off and on via a timer or as you need it. You can use a motion-sensor light that goes on and off when it senses large movements. Of course, if you want to avoid a higher electric bill, simply opt for a solar-powered unit.

2. Lock Down Your Technology Entry Points

Your WiFi network can be a doorway to everything from your financials and personal info to your home security system. Avoid leaving yourself vulnerable with these tips:

• Secure your WiFi router.

• Don’t name your WiFi network something that’s easily recognizable.

• Hide your network and create strong passwords that you change periodically.

• Make sure that you have a firewall, anti-malware, and anti-virus protection.

• Enable WPA or WPA2 encryption.

• Use a parental control app to ensure children aren’t inadvertently giving away sensitive information online about your home’s safety features.

3. Don’t Create A Blind

No, not the blinds you hang inside. Hunters often sit behind something called a blind. It’s often natural materials that are arranged as to hide the presence of the hunter from his/her prey. Don’t create blinds for trespassers to use against you, such as:

• Tall shrubbery.

• Low tree branches leading to second story windows.

• Unsecured outdoor buildings, gates, garage doors, and such.

If you have an area that simply can’t be avoided as a blind spot, then post a security sign or sticker warning in the area. Even if you don’t have a security system, it may make the thief think twice.

4. Change Your Locks As Needed

Most homeowners don’t realize how often it’s necessary to change the locks on a home:

• It’s a new purchase.

• You removed your home from the market after it was listed with a realtor.

• You had a previous break-in.

• A key was lost (even if you have plenty of duplicates.)

• You split ways with anyone who lived in, frequented, or worked in your home.

• Post-renovations that used contractors indoors.

• You fell out with your safety swap person that has your emergency set of keys.

• Your lock is broken, damaged, or outdated.

5. Use Home Automation

The market has a plethora of nifty tech devices that can easily be synced to your phone from remote control. With the touch of an app, you can turn lighting on as you’re about to come home or schedule it to come on when you’re away for an extended period of time. Link with a smart doorbell to monitor and even communicate with people on your porch when you aren’t there. Control alarms, cameras, sensors, garage doors and openers, AC, electronics, and door and window locks from afar.

6. Don’t Invite Temptation

All of the above tips are about ensuring your home isn’t the right spot, but there’s another facet that many homeowners overlook as a safety and security feature – temptation.

Henry Ward Beecher said: “All men are tempted. There is no man that lives that can’t be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot.”

While break-ins occur with and without the offer of temptation, why add to your risk? Tips to remove temptation:

• Obstruct window views from the road with curtains, tinting, or blinds.

• Properly store tools, lawn equipment, and other valuables after use.

• Don’t post your schedule or brag-purchases on social media.

• Disguise when you’re away from home.

• Don’t allow solicitors inside your home.

• Don’t place valuables near your doors or windows.

• Place the packaging for high-value purchases inside of blackout trash bags, not simply loose in the bin.

In closing, all the above tips are so very easy to apply, but they have a hard and fast impact on your home’s safety and security. How many will you be implementing?