12 essential DIY tips to prevent break-ins

Secure Home
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As more and more of us finally start to take vacations again, it feels a little alien to leave the house empty for so long. Most of us won’t have had a holiday in over a year, so we might be out of practice making sure everything’s secure while we’re away.

It’s essential that you take precautions to deter burglars and protect your home. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of top tips to prevent break-ins, so you can rest assured on your travels. Some changes don’t require any expense at all!    

Top tips to burglar-proof your home

Beware of Dog Sign

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1. Clean your alarm control panel — if your burglar alarm has a control panel where you input a code on entry, make sure you clean the buttons regularly. Over time, dust can build-up on the unused buttons and reveal which digits you use. This means a burglar can have a guess once it’s triggered to disarm it. And check out our picks for the best DIY home security systems

2. Invest in a floodlight with motion sensors — A floodlight with motion sensors makes sneaking up to the property much harder. Once the burglar is aware they’ve been detected, this can make them turn back. The Ring Floodlight Camera and Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Cam offer a combined floodlight security camera if you want the best of both worlds.

3. Consider a smart lock — Smart locks use virtual keys and time-sensitive pass codes for access. It alerts you when the door is unlocked and means you don’t need to worry about misplaced keys again. Here are the best smart locks if you want to upgrade.  

4. Use a guard dog — Whether you do or don’t have a guard dog, you can make its presence eminent. Putting up a ‘Beware the dog’ sign near the door can help, or even well-placed dog bowls. 

5. Secure your sliding patio doors — As well as locking your doors and windows, make sure your patio door is secure too. Patio locks can be fragile compared to the front door, so to reinforce them you can place a long wood block on the floor, between the wall and main door. This can be done on a smaller scale with sliding windows too. 

6. Invest in a key lock box — Whatever you do, don’t hide your spare key under the doormat or under a nearby flowerpot, it’s the first place intruders will look. Instead, buy a dedicated key lock box which will hold your spare key and require a combination for access. The Rudy Run Wall Mount Combination Lock Box is a good option for these.   

7. Install a safe for any valuables — It sounds like common sense, but if you have anything of great value in your home which you want to protect while you’re away, put it in a safe. Thieves will usually only grab what’s easy to take once they’ve broken in.  

8.  Keep your home well lit — Ideally, you don’t want to advertise that you’re away. Using an automatic timer or smart lights to schedule your lights is a great way to do this. Here are the best smart light switches if that’s what you want to use.  

9. Invest in a security mailbox — Your mail can contain lots of private information, including your identity, which is easy to take from an open mailbox. To stop this, invest in a security mailbox. With one of these, you will need a key to gain access to your mail. The Mail Boss Mail Manager Curbside Locking Security Mailbox is a good choice if you want one.

10. Don’t leave anything expensive on show — As well immediately indoors, this includes outdoors too. Hide any bikes or tools in your garden that advertise easy pickings.

11. Don’t share travel plans on social media — Be careful what you share online, especially if it’s available to the public. It advertises to some that you’re not at home.

12. Invest in a security camera — Security cameras will send an alert to your phone when motion is detected, along with the footage, so you can call a neighbor and the authorities for help. Here are the best outdoor security cameras if you want this tech. Looking for something for inside your home? Here are our picks for the best home security cameras.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.