With over 2 million burglaries committed each year in America, there’s no wonder that more and more people are starting to take precautionary steps to ensure their house doesn’t become the target of burglars.

It is true that crime rates (of any kind) are lower in states that have lighter gun laws, as criminals are well aware of the fact that they may end up staring down the barrel of a gun. Even so, some tempt fate and unless you really want to play the odds and see if you draw the short stick, it’s best to take some measures to prevent criminals targeting your home.

Here are some easy and cheap ways to do this:

1.Get a dog


And when I say dog, I’m talking a big, load one. One that has some bite to match the bark. Dogs’ sense when someone else is about and will bark to notify its master. One thing burglars don’t want is to draw attention to themselves, so when a dog starts barking and people begin looking, he will move away fast.

Not to mention that hardly any burglar wants to end up on the wrong end of a dogs teeth.

2. Lock your doors and windows


You would think is common sense. You would be wrong. Over a third of all burglaries are “unlawful entry” rather than “forced entry.” Which means that the criminal didn’t have to force his way in, he just opened the door/window. So before you leave home, make sure that all the entry points are secured.

Even better invest in some better deadbolts and locks to ensure that even if some does try to break in, they’ll have a hard time doing it.

3. Putting up signs


Now, alarm systems tend to be expensive and on top of the installation cost, you have a monthly fee as well. If you can afford it, by all means do get one, as it will greatly boost your home’s security. If you can’t, don’t despair, there are solutions.

If you have neighbors that have alarm systems you might have noticed signs outside they house that states something like: “Protected by ABC alarm”. This sign would be enough to detour potential burglars. So if one of your neighbors (or other people you know) that has a security system moves away, ask them if you can’t have the sign, they’ll not need it any way.

Better yet check with the local printing and custom gift shop in your area if they can’t replicate the sign.

If you can’t get an alarm sign, try putting up others that send a clear message that you’re armed and not afraid to use lethal force. One thing few criminals want is to end up in a shootout with a homeowner.

4. Shrubbery


Most people advise that you remove all shrubbery from under your windows as it may provide cover for burglars. This is somewhat true, if the shrubs are decorative, but there are shrubs that can actually prove a problem for criminals.

Planting thorny shrubs below the windows will be a great way to stop criminals from trying to get through. You have a wide variety of option that include: Rose bushes, hawthorn, blackthorn, fire bush, fuchsia, barberry, and holly. Opting for shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn or barberry will even provide additional benefits as they are used in cooking and traditional medicine.

5. Car in the driveway


Most burglars break in when you’re not at home, so creating the illusion that some actually is, will make criminal rethink their intended target. This can be easily done by leaving your old car in the drive way, when you go to work or on vacation. Or, if one family member isn’t using their car, make sure it’s outside, rather than hiding it in the garage.

6. Patio door


This must be the weakest part of any home security. Why? Because in most cases is just one big glass sliding door waiting to be broken. The safest route here is changing the door altogether with a wooden door with a small glass window at eye level.

If you don’t want to do that there’s also the option of installing sheet metal screws in the upper track and putting a piece of wood in the lower one. The screws in the upper track need to be above the door, so that the door can still move. By being above, they prevent the door from being lifted off the track. A piece of wood in the lower track stops the door from opening, even if they manage to jimmy the lock.

Of course there are many other methods of securing your home such as putting bars on the windows, but some of them may not be permitted by local zoning and other codes. Nevertheless, just applying these simple 6 tips will significantly decrease the chance of becoming a target.

What other methods of securing your home do you know of? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  1. I have dowels in the tracks of my sliding windows ! ALL of them!! I have two lengths! One that fits just tight enough to not allow more than 1/4 ” movement, & one that allows approximately 5 ” opening! This allows air circulation but not enough space to reach in & remove the dowel!! I also have small screw on clasps at the top , inside edge of the slider that keeps it from being lifted, much like the screw you mentioned!

    In the case of lifting windows, that dowel would fit on top of the lower sash!! stopping all movement!

  2. I am stuck in Manhattan. At 90 I am not about to move god kn owns where, plus I don’t own a car and don’t want one.
    So I will face things here. I have reasonably OK locks. The only way in through my windows would be via a rope from the roof. (I am 2 floors down a high rise apt house).
    Qustion: I hav some stuff stashed about and in a bank safe. Should I get a home safe? (I didn’t see mention of safes in your article, but I’ve seen mention elsewhere.) There’s no good place to hide it, so I think its usefulness is limited. (I imagine it useful if there is a violent entry, but what use would it be if a weapon is on me and it’s my life or my safe? – I have no weapon and think it would be foolish for me to have one. I Am hardly very fast not strong, though I am healthy.)

    1. I have heard of taking off the entry door facings and installing solid wood from there to the building stud, then replacing the facing. This makes it almost impossible to kick the door in if you also install a long (2inch) deadbolt in the door. I would also install a second deadbolt if I were you. Did you know that in most homes there is only an air space between the facing and stud….making a swift kick an easy way to enter? This is a relatively cheap fix to feeling more secure

    2. Ralph Grey: Home Depot sells a simple metal slide bar (about 1/2″ diameter) with a knob that slides into one of two notched slots – one slot when locked, one when open – for about $5 bucks. No key. Old fashioned. Two of these, one high, one low, defeats entry through traditional keyed dead bolts. The plate is attached to the door frame with 5″ long screws (4 of them) to go into the door frame and beyond into the framing studs.
      Vibration picks can easily open most locked doors from the outside, both door knobs and dead bolts.
      *(it is said that locks are to keep good “honest” guys out, not the bad guys)
      So, you don’t have to answer the door, as some one that you know can call you from the other side of the door on their cell phone. Put a sign on your door warning bad guys that your home is protected by Smith and Wesson. Your windows seem to be secure from other than specialized “cat burglars” who would only try to steal very valuable art work (worth millions)… Assuming that is not the case, then you would be safe from intrusions. Another weapon would be a nice 12″ very sharp butcher’s knife attached to the door via magnetic strip, so that it is handy for right handed people, or to the door frame or wall on the left for left handed people.

  3. I don’t know the code pattern for electric garage doors, but a scanner should be able to capture your code and let a thief make entry.. Suggest you consult a digital programmer or electronic engineer to either make your code non-standard or require two codes with up to a10-second-to- reply pattern. When I build, that will be one of my specifications.

  4. Security film applied on inside of windows to prevent breakage, available through Amazon and other vendors. Also, “Katie Bar the Door” bars, actual wooden or metal bars that cross the entire door and molding, like we see in old Western movies. A family member showed me videos on Youtube teaching anybody how to refigure deadbolt keys, to access any dead bolt. We must be aware and vigilent.

    1. To BLF: Actually, the film just holds the broken glass together, and doesn’t prevent breakage. However, Lexan plastic and other transparent materials can replace the glass and be very strong against bricks, rocks, etc.
      I particularly like the bars that go across the complete door, just like in the castles that resisted the ramming logs on wheels. Another bar is one that secures into a hole in the floor with a vertical bar. Another bar that attempts to prevent ram bars is to place a solid flat steel bar *(about 1″ to 2″ wide, 1/8″ thick) horizontally across the door about 10″ from the top and about 10″ from the bottom on outside of the door, and drill holes to bolt through to an angle iron on the inside of the door, top and bottom – using carriage bolts, so there is no grip from the outside… This can be made very decorative too…
      The Bar you mentioned in your comment could be a pair of 3+ foot long 2×4’s, one high, one low that rest on the angle iron on the inside of the door. Of course you must attach the side “L” brackets into the support door studs on each side of the door with some long lag screws… (about 3/8″ diameter, 4″ long). Nice… Thanks.

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