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Home Security 101: Tips to Keep Your Family and Home Safe

Whether you already have a home security system or you’ve never considered one, it’s important to know if your home is at risk. If you don’t think you need a home security system, checking out your public neighborhood crime report may change your mind. shows you all the crime from theft to assault within a mile radius of your home.

Criminals are looking for the easiest target. You don’t have to make your home into an impenetrable fortress – you just need to make it seem as though robbing it would be more trouble than it’s worth. Here are the best tips for keeping your home security up to date and discouraging everything from petty theft to far more serious situations.

Front Door First

The front door is the point of entry for 34 percent of robberies, according to This Old House. Something as simple as a seriously good deadbolt can make all the difference when a thief is scouting a neighborhood and looking for easy targets.

Deadbolts are not too difficult to install yourself, depending on which type of deadbolt you choose. If you’d rather have your lock professionally installed, expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250. Deadbolts range in price widely, so do your research and buy online to save.

Having a security camera system at your front door and even other exterior doors is also a powerful first line of defense against break-ins. Even if the camera isn’t being monitored 24/7, thieves don’t know that, and the camera’s presence alone is a powerful deterrent.

Other Entry Points

Twenty-three percent of break-ins occur through a first story window. Combat this vulnerable point of entry by installing double-paned windows and slash locks.

Also, reinforce sliding glass doors that can be lifted off their tracks and provide yet another wide point of entry. This 20-Gauge Steel Dual Function Adjustable Door Security Bar is less than $30.

Change Up Your Routine

Thieves do their research; they case neighborhoods to look for patterns. Do you always come home right at 5 p.m.? Do you always park in the garage? Are you out of town most weekends? Work on making your routine less predictable, at least from the outside looking in.

If you’re out of town a lot, invest in lighting timers. Many can be controlled wirelessly from your cell phone. Just turning on your porch light at 7 p.m. one night and 8:15 p.m. the next will send a clear message to anyone paying attention that there is probably someone home.

If you park in the street or in your driveway, it’s easy for criminals to know when you’re not home. If you can, park in the garage or around the block once or twice a week to keep them guessing.