No matter where you live, your age, life stage, the square footage of your floorplan, or type of neighborhood, staying safe at home is a priority for all of us. And you can go out and spend thousands of dollars on security measures or DIY it at all, but the goal is the same: to protect your home, your things, and the people you love.
Home security is not a one-size-fits-all enterprise, nor is it typically a one-purchase-and-you're-done experience.
"Think of home security as though you're putting on layers of clothing to protect your body from harsh weather," Jordan Frankel, executive vice president of Global Security Experts said on Tech Hive. "Protecting your home from burglary is all about the layers. Because burglars determine their targets through risk vs. reward scenarios, the more security measures you put in place to increase the risk and lessen the reward for would-be intruders, the less likely your home will be viewed as an easy target."
Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to upgrade or enhance your security measures, here are eight places to start.
1. Secure the front door
It seems like a no-brainer to lock your front door and make sure it's secure, but, "Roughly 33 percent of burglars enter through the front door," said Safewise. Inspect it to make sure the frame is "strong, the hinges are protected, the wood is not hollow, and, if your door has a mail slot, that someone can't reach through it to unlock the door. If your door doesn't have a peephole or a deadbolt, you should install those immediately to help make the door even more secure."
And if you've just moved in to the house, don't forget to change the locks. Extra keys that may have been floating around prior to you moving in could compromise your safety.
2. Check the windows, too
This is another easy-access spot. Safewise notes that, "As many as 23 percent of home burglaries occur through first-story windows." Check the latches, which can degrade over time and fail to protect the windows from opening.
3. Light it up
A home that's dark will be more inviting to a potential thief than one that is lit up. We love the BeON Home Protection system, which can be used both inside and out.
"At first glance, the BeON Home Protection system looks like a trio of odd-looking smart LED bulbs," said Techlicious. It's actually a "sophisticated early warning system for your home, disguised and doubling as smart bulbs. Once you insert the yellow BeON peg module through the bulb and screw them into a standard A21 (Edison base) lighting fixture, each BeON bulb becomes a listening post that can hear and react to your front door bell ringing or your smoke/CO alarm sounding. When the BeONs hears one of these, the bulbs light up in an automatic or programmed sequence to either make it appear as if you're home to scare off intruders, or light your way to escape potential danger."
According to BeON, "The system picks up on your natural lighting habits so that there's seamlessly no noticeable difference between you being home and away. Since the goal of the system is preventative security, BeON wants the system to act as a deterrent days in advance, rather than as a reactive security system." You can also " train your BeON bulbs to hear your doorbell, and you can set a sequence of which BeON lights go on in reaction."
Uplights can give the home some great curb appeal and make it more safe, and motion-activated floodlights are another great theft deterrent. The added advantage of Mpow Solar-Powered Outdoor Motion Sensing Light is that it's solar powered, so it won't add to your electric bill or stop functioning in a power outage.
Ring's new Floodlight Cam is "the world's first and only HD security camera with built-in floodlights, a siren alarm and two-way audio," they said. "Floodlight Cam streams 1080HD video and comes with two 3K lumens LED floodlights, and it starts recording and turns on the lights as soon as it detects motion."
4. Get to know your neighbors
Establishing friendships in your neighborhood isn't just great for your social life; it can also help keep you safe. Your neighbors may already know your daily habits (what time you come and go), but alerting them to changes like a new job that means you'll be leaving earlier and returning later, cleaning crews or landscapers that might have access to the home or yard, and, especially, vacation plans that will leave your home empty for a period of time, is important. That way they can help keep an eye out and be aware of anything that just seems "off."
5. Get on Nextdoor
Your local Nextdoor community is not only useful for finding a babysitter or a handyman, but it's also a great place to share and learn about security issues like break-ins and car vandalism in your neighborhood. If you know what's going on, you have a better chance of banding together to come up with solutions to get it stopped.
6. Get it on camera
Having security cameras outside your front door may not stop a crime from happening (although it could deter someone who noticed the camera), but it can help you catch them on the backend by providing footage to police or circulating in your neighborhood.
Cnet recommends the SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell as one of the their best smart home devices. "With 1080p resolution, SkyBell's video quality is terrific, and integrations with Alexa, Nest, and IFTTT help it stand out in an increasingly competitive category," they said. "Free online video storage is a major plus, too."
7. Get a security system
Homes without security systems are about three times more likely to be broken into. The Simple Dollar has a thorough list of the best security systems for 2017 broken down by categories like DIY installation, cost, and reliability.
8. Eliminate hiding spots
It makes sense that burglars would target homes where they can't be easily seen. If you have tall shrubs or trees up close to the house, that might be you.