Protecting your family and your property are often top concerns when you’re a homeowner. The good news is that there are some simple measures you can take to help boost your home’s security and reduce your risk for a break-in or theft. Here are a few easy tips that can help improve your safety, and your overall peace of mind:
1. Landscape for Security
Landscaping may help beautify your home, but it may also help play a role in warding off intruders. According to Angie’s List, planting thorny bushes under windows, for example, may discourage an attempt to gain access into your home. Shrubbery near windows and doors should be kept trimmed, as overgrown plants can offer a hiding place for burglars, Angie’s List says. And, installing landscape lighting, including motion-activated lights, on your property may also serve as a deterrent.
2. Deter Package Thieves
Online shopping has its advantages, but deliveries on doorsteps may be a temptation for thieves. Consumer Reports suggests working with delivery companies on security, requesting a text when a delivery is made, requiring a signature, or simply asking that packages be left in a less-prominent location. Another option, according to Consumer Reports, is installing security cameras around your home to monitor activity.
3. Keep Valuables Hidden
If a passerby can see inside your home, and get an instant inventory of your valuables, then a criminal can, too, warns the Insurance Information Institute (III). The organization suggests rearranging your furnishings so they’re less visible from a door or street-side window. That also goes for garage openers and car keys, which, in many homes, frequently sit on a shelf or hang from a hook near an entry. Consumer Reports recommends storing these inside a cabinet or a drawer to keep them hidden from view.
4. Reinforce Entry Points
The III suggests having exterior doors that are either metal or solid wood, and are at least 1 3/4 inches thick. Windows can be protected with locks or burglar-resistant glass. If your home has sliding glass windows or doors, reinforce them with a metal bar, the III says. A security alarm is also helpful, of course. The III recommends one that rings an outside service when the system is breached.
5. Practice Safe Behaviors
Your personal habits can also play a role in home security. The Ill encourages homeowners to routinely lock doors and windows and arm the alarm system when exiting your home. If you’ll be gone awhile, the III suggests giving the appearance that your home is occupied: Leave blinds in their usual positions, make a plan to defer mail and other deliveries, and use light timers in various areas of the home (smart home devices can help with this task). Another tip from the III: Remove house keys when leaving keys with a parking attendant. That’s because tech-savvy thieves can duplicate your house key simply by taking a picture of it.
Common-sense practices like these can help prevent your home from being an easy target, and can go a long way in keeping your family, home, and your belongings out of harm’s way.
This article originally appeared on The Allstate Blog.