For some, there may just be that gut feeling that something should be done soon to secure their home or family before a break-in or worse happens. For others, a break-in has already happened and it’s put them on red alert that a plan to keep their family and belongings secure has to be put in place. So, what are the best home security systems? It may surprise you what has been formulated over the years as the best methods for keeping your home safe.
Sure, a solid security system sounds great, but what if a person can’t afford that during these times? Or what if they have a system but still feel like more security measures are necessary to feel the level of security their family needs? Wouldn’t it be great to just chill with the family at night and not have all of those concerns in the back of our minds?
Well, there are several tips we’ve learned along the way that are brilliant deterrents to intruders with eyes on your home. And those creeps ARE out there! But if you follow these tips, you can have peace of mind as you enjoy your family or your solitude.
We are about to look at six tips to keep your family and belongings safe with or without a security system or to help a burglar fund his hobbies and buy that new boat they are eyeing, whichever way you choose to roll. These tips fall into that, “ahhh, I should’ve thought of that” category and are easy to follow. And remember, we are here to help if you have questions.
Quickly before we dive into these easy to implement tips,
let’s look at the mindset of most intruders….
Burglary For Dummies
With extremely rare exceptions, burglars follow some basic guidelines. They do so for their own protection. Let’s help them to not be caught trying to get into our homes!
===> Their first rule is, “Do the Research”. This means they need to watch YOU, and YOUR house, and observe YOUR habits until they feel comfortable with whatever plan they’ve devised to launch an attack. Sure, not all of them do that. Some just go down the street with a crowbar. But the tips below are effective regardless of the sophistication of the criminal. If what we propose will deter a sophisticated criminal, it will deter an amateur even more easily.
===> Their second rule is, “Get in and out as fast as possible”. They aren’t wanting to hang out until a swat team shows up. They want a quick payday. They’ve studied the best way in and out of your home with, hopefully, no detection. They know which room is best to hit, where people keep keys, how to guess an alarm code (if there is one), and how to accomplish their evil deeds with even close neighbors not seeing or hearing them or knowing they are there.
There are a ton of other rules, but they are contained within these two as we are about to see.
But there are ways for keeping them from targeting you in the first place, and for disappointing their payday plans if they do happen to make it into your home and take some of your stuff. Hmmm? So, what do we set them up to take? Remember, they are there for a quick hit-and-run operation. They aren’t going to spend too much time evaluating the value of an item or looking it up on Amazon. They know the statistics on where to go, what to look for, how to best secure it in their bag, and run stealthily as quickly as possible from your home.
Tips To Help Your Intruders Buy Their New Boat
So, what will help an intruder decide your home is a target in the first place? Answering that question, we start with the first set of tips.
Make sure it is always dark outside your house at night!
Or, if you choose to not help them buy that big boat……
…….. Leave lights on the outside of your home at night! It sounds overly simple, doesn’t it? But research (including interviews with former criminals) has shown convincingly that most criminals attempting any type of break-in at night will avoid a home with lights on outside. I’m sure this takes little explanation, but I’ll give a couple of points taken from those who’ve done their dirty deeds at night.
So, the potential intruder parks in a nearby parking lot. In his (or her, but since most of these losers are men, we’ll just go with the male pronouns for this article) stealthy manner he makes his way through the backside of a subdivision and ends up undetected as he inspects a convenient cul-de-sac where he will be conducting his business.
He notices that 5 of the houses are dark, at least in a few key entry points, but one is lit up enough that he could easily be seen by neighbors or passersby. He has been scouting/casing this cul-de-sac for a couple of weeks, and at certain times all of the houses were dark. But tonight, the house he had been most interested in isn’t dark at all, because the owners read this article earlier today. But it’s a no-brainer for Mr. Loserville. The home he intended to invade is off the shortlist.
It’s really that simple. It costs much less to run low wattage outside lights at night than people normally think. Especially with the LED lights available today. And it’s far cheaper than replacing stolen goods or dealing with an insurance increase. And the worst part is some of what would be taken is irreplaceable like some family heirloom piece of jewelry or rare collectible.
And even worse than that, even with the best insurance available, your family’s security and peace-of-mind has been taken. You can’t buy that. But chances are that a little bit of outside light will keep any of that from happening.
Leave a key in a predictable place, like under a doormat, or under a plant or in a fake rock. Or,
to foil his plans, don’t have a key in those places. If you need to leave a key outside for some reason, secure a spot with a combination lock that can’t be cut by these semi-pro criminals. They almost always have cutters sufficient to cut open a realtor-type lockbox hanging on a doorknob.
Remember, all you have to do is make it a little more difficult. They want to get in and out quickly! They are not wanting to spend any length of time getting into your house. So, get a little quickcrete and build a little concrete housing for a lockbox. It doesn’t have to be an expensive lockbox. The concrete will ensure that the intruder can’t cut it open. He can’t get the cutters around a lockbox that is set in concrete.
He could only get in if he knew the combination.
Do not buy any type of outdoor security equipment! It could delay the intruder’s big boat purchase.
Or, to not participate in his boat purchase, consider acquiring a simple piece of outside security equipment. Or more if your budget can handle more. This would further deter a person wanting to violate your family and your home.
Remember, the first tip (keeping outdoor lights on) will keep most of these butt heads at bay. But an added level of protection from an intruder ever even trying to enter your home is to have a couple of outdoor cameras. They don’t have to be the expensive ones, nor do you need a monthly contract with anyone.
There are great products that do have monthly fees, but especially when trying to do this on a budget, the DIY, affordable cameras with no monthly fees will
definitely do the job. (And shhhh! ….one possible nuance to this tip is to buy a couple of simulated or decoy cameras…. (you’ll also see many other cameras and lighting options at that link) It’s one more thing these scumbags don’t want to risk: being caught on camera)
Check out some of the reviews on smart floodlight cameras and spotlights that are both motion-activated that will send the fine fella running with one hand cupping his backside and the other trying to block the bright light that has suddenly blinded his sorry butt! Meanwhile, the onboard camera was activated just as the lights were by the motion detector and it is all crystal clear, in high resolution for you to review and/or to submit to the local authorities if needed. One thing is for sure, your home is no longer on his radar.
Get a dog, preferably at least a medium-size one who will bark when anyone approaches your home or yard. The same interviews with former burglars and intruders that confirmed that outside lights were a great deterrent, also indicated that a noisy and potentially threatening dog was also an item to help an intruder narrow down on the list of homes he may attempt to invade. Plus, dogs are just great anyway! No need to elaborate on this tip. I think we are already familiar with the benefits of having a watchdog.
By the way, those who are concerned with having cameras with motion detectors and a dog who might set it off, worry no more! Most of the systems we review are smart products that can distinguish between an animal and a human. See our reviews on The Best Indoor Security Cameras and the one on the SimCam AI Smart Cameras. These are great products that are reasonably priced.
Tips In the Event An Intruder Does Breach Your Walls
Since I believe we are all on the same page at this point and not wanting to buy this hardly-working gentleman a new boat, we’ll just continue in that vein. This second set of tips will help you to always be prepared in case a jerk-wad burglar does get into your home. Let’s be proactive!
Here are things TO DO to be prepared for the unfortunate event that a scum-sucking leach of a creature was to make it inside your home:
Buy at least a minimal do-it-yourself (DIY) indoor security system.
So, you forgot to turn on the outside lights before going out to dinner, and for whatever reason, this guy makes it inside. But thank the heavens above, you had invested in a minimal security system including sensors on doors and windows and a motion detector for the main part of the house.
All of the components are connected (usually wirelessly via WiFi, but wired is available too) to a 100dB alarm (or approx.) that will blare out bringing attention to your home and will also fill his pants with crab food. When that happens they do not look to grab anything except their own things (well, and in this case, his butt) to minimize any possible evidence left behind (Hopefully for him nothing leaks out! That would be DNA evidence that some sorry soul would have to evaluate in a lab downtown!)
Remember, he doesn’t want to do anything but get in and out, unseen and unheard. But now, he’s been heard. At least he will do nothing but assume so, and will likely be correct. Plus, he has soiled, black DUNGarees to wash, and a driver’s seat to disinfect! (Gag) He won’t wait to see how long it takes for the local authorities to show up on the scene.
Do not leave an alarm keypad in a place where a potential intruder can watch you disarm your alarm. And, yes, many of them do stake these things out.
One idea is to place a dummy keypad by the entry door and the real one in a less conspicuous place. You should always punch in some fake digits on the decoy pad before leaving or when entering the home. People put them by the main door because there are only a few seconds to arm or disarm a system before the alarm is triggered. But it’s plenty long enough to walk into a room or a spot not visible from a window.
Also, most systems will allow you to set the time to whatever works for you. So, walk in, punch in fake numbers on the artificial pad, go to “the bathroom” and turn your system off. Or, turn it off from your key fob if one came with your alarm system.
Talk about a frustrated intruder (poor thing!) who thinks he is brilliant in cracking the code only to find the code he has ain’t it! (Always use the same wrong code on the fake pad to keep it all looking legit in case he’s watching)
One other piece of info to be aware of is that many intruders use a simple system to crack your code. The first digit on the keypad is always the dirtiest one, the second is second dirtiest, and so on. It isn’t a perfect system for them, but it has proven to be extremely effective. So, keep the real keypad clean. Wipe it down on a regular basis.
But if you are using a fake keypad too, never wipe the fake one down. He’s watched you and now the dirt accumulation makes him ready to do a victory lap for his own brilliance because what he deciphered you punching into the pad is also confirmed by his clever dark criminal knowledge.
But he tried, and he tried, and he tried, he can’t get no…..
…..cooperation with the flippin’ alarm. (A little shout out to Mick there!)
Now, the only dirt accumulation he’s concerned about as the alarm blares in his ears is….. you got it: it’s the man-mud piling up in the back his fancy black, silky Fruit-of-the-Looms! Once again, cupped hand in back unsuccessfully trying to stop the leakage…. other hand trying to do everything else!
Poor fella! I know one house he won’t be trying to break into any time soon. Keep in mind, once an intruder has succeeded or attempted to break into your home, he is aware that you will be on the watch for a long time to come.
Don’t keep valuables in the Master Bedroom. Well, you may have to keep one or two, but keep the rest somewhere else. The first and usually only target room of an intruder is the Master Bedroom.
- Keep valuable jewelry in an unlikely place, like the top of a closet in a toddler’s room. Still hidden of course, but they will not look there anyway.
- Keep cash in another room. Some people use fake Coka-Cola or other soda can that has a compartment. Don’t put it in your mattress IN YOU ROOM!! How common is the term “mattress money”? Pretty common term. Everybody knows that one.
- Anything of yours you don’t want a burglar to own, keep in another room.
An intruder will typically go straightway to the Master Bedroom, search for jewelry and cash in the obvious places, including a safe and a large jewelry box. He sees a safe in the master closet, and it’s not bolted down. It’s heavy, but light enough to throw in his black bag and move on. Jackpot! Then he goes to the jewelry box and quickly sees a lot of shiny stuff. Cha-ching! He’s feeling good now.
“I’m almost out of here now. Hahaha!” (wicked laugh) “I bypassed their lame security, found the mother load as predicted, and I can get out quickly with these idiots PAYING me! I can pick the lock on this stupid safe once I am at my safe haven!” (he snickers at his own cheesy burglar humor)
Oh crud! What? He got the wrong stuff!!!
See, the real safe was bolted down in an inconspicuous place. The slime bucket intruder couldn’t have taken it! He took a decoy and never thought that there would be another. And all that jewelry he took? Same thing! It’s noting but fake stuff. It looks good at the moment and he swipes it up by the handful, but it’s virtually worthless. It’s jewelry that is probably casually wearable, but it’s not the real stuff. The real jewelry was in another room, not in a fancy jewelry box, but out of sight in a baby monitor box in the top of the closet in a baby’s room, or in the dryer, or maybe in a fake cheerios box in the pantry (just made a lot of that up because it’s easy to think of great places).
Really, not much else matters except that those valuables aren’t in the master bedroom nor in plain sight. And it’s a good idea to have a few shiny decoys like we just observed. Intruders want to get in and out. Let’s help them do just that!
While You Were Sleeping – General Tips
Keep your phone, wallet, purse, and keys on the nightstand right by where you sleep.
First, if someone were to get into your house at night, the last thing you want is for them to have access to your wallet, keys, and phone because you’ve formed a bad habit and have been leaving them on the kitchen counter or somewhere else in the house.
Second, when you wake up hearing those strange noises and you’re certain someone is inside, you immediately reach for your phone, but it isn’t there. That dude in black has it! “Oh wait! I’ll grab my keys and hit the panic button so my car alarm will go off. Crap! The keys were with my phone!” He plans to drive away in your car since he has so much of your stuff to get to his place. He’ll ditch the car before you have a chance to notify the authorities, and any cash you had will probably not be left in your mailbox. Also, he may get your identity and keep reeking havoc on you if that possibility doesn’t register with you in time. In fact, he could use your cards online stealthily immediately after leaving your house.
It’s just so much better to have those things by your bed and a couple of lights on outside.
Certainly, there are many facets to protecting a home, and some things work better than others. Nothing can be 100% guaranteed, but implementing the tips above have been proven over and over again to keep intruders out and your family safe. A simple light in the front and a light in the back may be all you ever need and it is a cheap place to start. Then a minimal DIY security system that can be very affordable will add another layer of protection and info gathering for authorities in the event a break-in occurs. Check out our SimpliSafe Alarm System Review or our Ring Security System Review.
Both SimpliSafe and Ring offer affordable DIY systems that cover all of the bases and are two of the top-rated home security companies on the market.
And lastly, just as most people are unable to go to bed without brushing their teeth or some other going-to-bed habits, establishing some sensible habits such as keeping your phone wallet and other related items by the bed will add another layer of protection and even an alarm if you have an automobile with panic mode.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you would drop us a note in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas, general feedback, or even products that you know of that may help readers as they build their home security. Thanks for reading! 🙂