Home Security Tips You Probably Didn’t Know

By Alan Urban

Whether you’re an experienced home defense guru or a complete amateur, the best way to prepare against a burglary or home invasion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. But no matter how watchful you are, sometimes you have to sleep, and some thieves know how to get around the standard home security measures.
In case that happens, there are many unusual methods to protect your family and valuables–methods that don’t involve moving out of your 3-bedroom house and into a fortified castle.

1. Use Dowell Rods in Sliding Glass Door Tracks

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a home that doesn’t feature an aesthetically pleasing sliding glass door. They provide a great view and allow natural light to flood the house.
However, they’re not very secure. A well-prepared and knowledgeable burglar has ways of getting around the average sliding glass door. And if the door is improperly installed, they can easily lift it off the tracks, so be sure to check your sliding glass doors for baseline security.

The best way to secure a sliding glass door is to put a dowel rod or something similar on the tracks and lodge it between the door and the wall. If a burglar manages to unlock the sliding door, they still won’t be able to slide it open if a dowel rod is in the way.

2. Move Your Alarm Keypad

Installing a home security system is a fantastic way to deter potential burglars, but it’s not fool-proof. Most alarm pads are placed by common entrances, such as the front door or back door. This is done because it’s convenient and because you’re only allowed a brief amount of time before the alarm goes off and the authorities question you for living in your own home.

Because the front and back doors are such common places for a keypad, burglars know exactly where to look. An observant thief will scope out the place and watch the numbers you enter into the keypad. A would-be burglar can also glance through the window to see if you engaged the alarm system before leaving the house.
Be mindful of who might be able to view your keypad when you arm or disarm it, and move it somewhere out of sight. Or at least block the keypad when using it. Another option is to have multiple keypads, one by an entrance and one in the master bedroom in case of a suspected break-in when you need to act fast.

3. Use a Key Lock Box

Everybody knows someone who keeps their spare key in an extremely commonplace—under the mat, in the mailbox, under a potted plant, or in a fake rock, just to name a few. Don’t be that person. If you want to leave yourself a set of spare keys somewhere, install a key lockbox somewhere on your property–the kind realtors use.

Backup keys will be just a simple combination away, and only you will have access to them. Just like with your security system keypad, make sure nobody can see you enter the combination.

4. Use Mother Nature’s Help

Mother Nature has had eons of time to develop the perfect home defense system: thorns. Consider planting bushes, vines, or trees in areas you don’t want strangers access. For example, you could plant a thorny shrub underneath the windows of your bedrooms so no one can climb through them without getting torn up.
Some great examples of thorny bushes, vines, and trees are:

Many mesquite varieties

Honey Locust

Pyracantha (firethorn bush)

Climbing roses

Cats claw acacia

Oregon grape holly

5. Don’t Hide Valuables in the Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is one of the first places burglars look after entering a house. Master bedrooms are typically easy to access, which is part of the charm for burglars.

Take a quick inventory of what you keep in your master bedroom. Is there jewelry, electronics, cash, or credit cards? Anything of value that can easily be moved should be relocated to somewhere unexpected.

And what’s more unexpected than jewelry in the laundry room? Or an emergency fund stashed in your toddler’s bedroom? Few criminals would think to check for valuables in these places. Doing the unexpected can save you in the long run.
Avoid the more common hiding spots such as in CD or DVD cases, under mattresses, behind pictures, or in lightweight safes that can be easily be carried away. Some burglars might not give up until they find something valuable. In case of that, you could keep fake jewelry in a jewelry case by your bed. This would serve as a great decoy for any burglars.

Speaking of decoys…

6. Get a Decoy Safe

To start with, never store your valuables in a safe that is not high quality and hasn’t been bolted down. But if you really want to foil criminals, from clumsy robbers to Ocean’s-11-caliber operators, buy a small decoy safe to throw burglars off the scent as to where the real goods are.

Because burglars want to get in and out as fast as possible, they’ll be much more likely to run off with a decoy safe full of fake valuables and discontinue their search. Be sure to put the decoy safe somewhere easy to find and the real safe somewhere very difficult to find.

7. Keep Your Car Keys With You

Keep your keys on you during the day and by your bed while you sleep. Most car key fobs have a panic button nowadays. If you hear or see a burglar trying to get into your house, press the panic button. The last thing a burglar wants is to rob a noisy house that draws unwanted attention.
Better yet, also keep a garage door opener nearby. If you open the garage, it will make it easier for the neighbors to hear your car alarm. Just make sure the door leading into the house is locked.