How to protect your home from burglars

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The first step in protecting your home from burglars is to apply some basic tips on how to protect your home. There are a number of things that can be done to prevent being an easy target from would be thieves. The simplest way to do this is with a basic security checklist.

Home Security Tips Checklist

The first place to start is the exterior of your home. Burglars do not typically operate with the sophistication that they are shown to have on television. Many burglars do not even carry any tools at all to break-in to your home. You see in most cases the homeowner provides more than enough tools around the outside of their homes for the burglar to use. While you are going through your checklist it is very helpful to try and “think” like a burglar. If you were a burglar what would you do to gain entry into your home?

Inspect the outside of your home


  • Do not leave things lying around the outside of your home that can be easy used to pry, smash or break in to your home.
    • Typical Items include: Bricks, rocks, garden tools, lumber, ladders

SOLUTION: Lock up these items in an outdoor tool shed or in your garage.


  • Look around your yard at night. Does it look as dark as a graveyard? Darkness is the friend to the burglar. They obviously operate best when they are not seen.

SOLUTION: Install motion detector lighting to expose would be thieves

Hiding Places

Look around your yard for places that a burglar could hide in. If you have shrubs growing next to or under your windows these could be the perfect place for them to hide while they work on gaining access to your home. Make sure that you look up. If you have large tree branches that can give entry to your roof or second story these should be trimmed back.

SOLUTION: Trim all of the shrubs in your yard back far enough so that the criminals cannot use them.

Entry Points

Now you must go through your entire house and write down all of the entry points to your home. A security installer would call this a zone list. Write down a description of each entry point. Entry point are anywhere that is big enough for a human to get through. This includes small children. Thieves have been known to use children to gain access. It is easiest if you start at the front door and go around the house clockwise from there.

Make a Security Zone List

Your list should be something like this:

Zone 1 – Front Door
Zone 2 – Front Bedroom Window
Zone 3 – Master Bedroom Window
Zone 4 – Living Room Slider
Zone 5 – Kitchen Window
Zone 6 – Bathroom Window

Keep your description to 3 or 4 words. If you have a newer security system installed you can hand this list to your installer and have him program these description into the control panel. Many installers’ use words that they understand but after they leave you have no idea what they mean. When I was an installer I assigned the names and always used the clockwise method of naming and made my customer aware of it so they could always identify where each zone was.

Identify Potential Problem Areas

Make sure that your entry doors are solid wood and the door latches are in good working order. The screws that attach the strike plate to the door jamb should be at least 2 inches long. Keep in mind that this is the only point that keeps the door from opening so kicking it in can be extremely easy. You can easily install additional security for your doors.

Home Safety while you’re Away

It is best for your home to always appear to be occupied. This is not always easy. Install a timer on inside lights so they will be on at night. Some security systems can actually automate this for you. Make sure that your newspaper delivery is stopped while you are away. Let your neighbors know that you will be out of town. If there is a publicized event such as a funeral that may list your home address then a would be burglar could know about this so take extra precautions.

Lock Up Your Valuables

Thieves are looking for a quick score. They do not want to spend a lot of time in your home so take advantage of this and lock up your valuables. Do not hide them in a dresser drawer or in the freezer. This is a well known spot. In wall safes are an inexpensive alternative and can be installed in a closet behind your hanging clothes. They are easy to install and provide an extra piece of protection.

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