The 5 Top Security Risks Most Homeowners Overlook

Written by | Updated May 23, 2017

Picture coming home from a quick run to the store and seeing your front door open. Your gut drops as you immediately regret your decision to leave the door unlocked and realize a burglar has been in your home. Or imagine hearing someone rummaging through your shed late at night and not being able to see who it is—or what they might do next.

These scenarios actually happened and led to frantic 911 calls that I responded to as a police officer. Both situations might have been avoided, or at least minimized, had the homeowners taken proactive home security measures.

We know you wouldn’t intentionally put your family or home in danger, but you might do so without knowing it. Our goal is to familiarize you with commonly overlooked security risks—and how to correct them. With this knowledge, you can better protect your property from burglars and other criminals, all while making your home a safer place for your family.

Surprising Security Risk #1: Not Closing the Curtains

Unfortunately, something as simple as leaving your curtains open could put you at risk for a burglary because criminals are known to peer through windows and look for things to steal. If you live alone, open curtains advertise this fact, which could make you vulnerable to other crimes, too.

SafeWise Security Solution:

Always keep curtains closed when you’re not home and use caution leaving them open when you’re inside. It’s also a good idea to draw them at night because interior lights make it especially easy for burglars to see indoors.

Closing your curtains is made even easier with home automation devices like Loxone Blinds that allow you to control them right from your smartphone. This way, if you’re all snuggled up in bed and remember that you forgot to close the living room shades, you can do so without getting up.
Take additional precaution by storing your money, prescription drugs, and other burglar wish list items out of sight. And use a SafeWise-recommended safe to secure things like your expensive jewelry, guns, and other valuables.

Surprising Security Risk #2: No Security Camera at the Front Door

You may not realize that many burglars break in through the front door. But, faced with security cameras, burglars and other wrongdoers are apt to think twice. In fact, there’s evidence that security cameras deter about 60% of burglars.1

SafeWise Security Solution:

Buy a standalone outdoor security camera like Phylink Bullet HD or choose one that integrates with your home security system. Either way, we suggest choosing a security camera that can be monitored via an app so you always know who is at your doorstep.

Consult our Home Security Cameras Buyers Guide for information about camera types, common features, and top-recommended brands. Then, consider further bulking up your home’s entrance by installing a high-security front door and smart doorbell.

Surprising Security Risk #3: Leaving Doors Unlocked

Even if your neighborhood is considered safe, leaving your door unlocked puts your home and family in jeopardy. Before going to the trouble of breaking in, burglars will often check if your home’s doors are unlocked. They may also search for that spare key you’ve “hidden” under the doormat or in the planter.

SafeWise Security Solution:

Keep your home’s doors locked at all times—even when you’re inside—and don’t leave a spare key in an obvious location. If you’re worried about your family getting locked out or just want to make locking and unlocking the door less of a hassle, consider buying an electronic keyless lock like the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock. This Bluetooth-enabled device allows you to lock and unlock the door right from your smartphone and comes with electronic keys to give visitors temporary access to your home.

Surprising Security Risk #4: Not Having a Home Security System

Some burglars case neighborhoods looking for the easiest homes to break into. If you don’t have a home security system, your house may be more attractive to criminals because they think there’s less chance they’ll get caught.

SafeWise Security Solution:

We recommend getting a home security system to help reduce the risk of a break-in and better protect your family and belongings. As an added benefit, some home security systems also alert you to fire, carbon monoxide, and other potential hazards.

Learn how to choose the best home security system for your budget and needs and then explore your options. Once you get a home security system, don’t forget to post the yard signs that came with it to warn burglars your home is protected.

Security Risk #5: No Outdoor Lighting

Burglars don’t want to be seen, so it’s not surprising that over 20% of all residential burglaries occur at night.2 That makes a dark entryway and yard a security risk—not to mention a safety hazard for your family.

SafeWise Security Solution:

Fix this security risk by turning your porch light on and illuminating your yard with motion-activated lights like the MAXSA Innovations Motion-Activated LED Outdoor Light. This security spotlight can detect motion up to forty feet away in a 180-degree space.

Be sure to install motion-activated lighting on sheds or other outbuildings as well, as they often store tools that burglars want. Our detailed review of the top motion sensor lights under $100 can help you find a quality light that doesn’t cost a fortune. 

More Ways to Secure Your Home

In addition to implementing the five security solutions we outlined above, don’t make the mistake of thinking crime won’t happen to you or your family. While some communities are safer than others, it’s important to remember that crime happens in every neighborhood. Don’t assume your home and family are safe.

Keep these tips in mind to help make your home a safer place.

  • Stay aware of local crime by joining or starting a Neighborhood Watch.
  • Keep up to date on crime in your community with a crime tracking tool like CrimeReports.
  • Burglar proof your backyard by securing ladders, bricks, hammers, and any other items a criminal may use to break into your home.
  • Report any suspicious person or activity to your local law enforcement agency.
  • Get to know your neighbors so you can look out for one another.
  • Secure your house before vacation by stopping newspaper and mail delivery and setting lights on timers.
  • Don’t leave your garage or shed doors open for criminals to see lawn equipment, bikes, tools, and other valuables.
  • Trim the shrubs around the perimeter of your home so a burglar can’t hide behind them while breaking in.

We hope you never become a victim of a burglary, but the fact is that one occurs every twenty seconds in the United States.3 Take our suggestions to help minimize these top security risks, and then use our comprehensive home security checklist to assess any of your home’s other possible security weaknesses.

1. SafeWise, “10 Surprising Home Burglary Stats and Facts
2. FBI: UCR, “Table 23
3. FBI: UCR, “Crime Clock

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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