Common Home Security Mistakes

by | Aug 9, 2023

Common Home Security Mistakes

You might know all about the best home security devices and which neighborhoods offer low-crime living. But have you tucked an extra house key under a flowerpot? What about leaving the back door unlocked? Unfortunately, bad security habits can thwart even the best of intentions. Catch yourself now on these common home security mistakes. After all, you don’t want your home to be vulnerable or an easy target for burglars.

Are You Making These Security Mistakes?

You might be completely unaware that some of your behaviors are putting your home at risk. Here’s a list of commonly made home security mistakes and how to avoid them.

Keys in Easy-to-Spot Places

Many people are guilty of putting a key under the mat or on the door frame for a friend or family member to grab. But that makes it just as easy for a criminal to access. If you pick a hiding spot that catches someone’s eye, it’s not secure enough. Think like a crook: where would you look for a key if you had to guess? (Don’t pick that spot!)

If you need an extra key in an accessible place, consider using a lockbox that requires a code to open. Alternatively, you could invest in smart locks so you can unlock them remotely when you need to let someone else in when you’re not at home. Or go old school and leave a key with a trusted neighbor.

This advice goes for cars, too. In 11% of car thefts, the key or fob was inside the car. Don’t leave keys anywhere a passerby might see them.

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Unlocked Doors or Windows

Leaving the back door open seems convenient and even harmless, but this is one of the most basic security mistakes. Unlocked doors and windows are an invitation to burglars. They don’t even have to work to access your home!

Instead, be fastidious about always locking your doors and first-floor windows—even when you’re home—to remove the temptation. It’s an easy habit to get into, just like always putting on a seatbelt when you sit in the car. The most common time for burglaries is during the daytime, so don’t think you can be lax just because it’s light outside.

Need a reminder to lock your windows? You can invest in contact sensors that integrate with your smart home security system. If someone tries to mess with your windows, it will trigger a loud alarm. And if you never closed the window in the first place, you’ll be able to see that, too.

Also, door and window locks are not the time to skimp. Heavy-duty locks are well worth the investment.

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Garage Goofs

Burglars case garages because they’re often an easy way to access the house. Do you lock the door from the garage into your house? Many people don’t, comforted by the idea that their garage is closed. But burglars can use devices to reach the emergency release lever on the garage door opener to open it manually. And once they’re inside your garage, they can get into your house.

An easy way to counteract this is using a shield to cover your garage door release cord. Some homeowners even cut this cord short, take off the pull tab, or zip-tie the cord to the door track. Remove access to the cord, and you can remove the opportunity. Close the garage door whenever possible, and lock that entry door just as you would any other door in the house.

Also, remember to keep any garage door remotes and codes safe. Don’t make it as easy as punching in “1-2-3-4” or pressing a button from an unlocked car parked in your driveway.

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No One Home (Clearly)

Plenty of homeowners love to head out for long weekends and even longer vacations. But think about what you’re broadcasting to the world by leaving a dark house behind. Instead, make it look like you never left.

One easy way is to manipulate your lights. Use security devices to turn lights on and off throughout the day—not just at night—to mimic whatever patterns you may have at home. Take advantage of smart technology to operate your lights from afar. At a minimum, use timers on lamps in a few rooms so they automatically turn off and on at seemingly random times. These are but still better than nothing.

Other little touches can make your home look “lived in.” Put your mail and newspaper on hold. Leave a radio or TV on for some ambient noise. Or go the simple route and have a neighbor or house sitter stop by from time to time.

And avoid announcing your comings and goings on social media. Those vacation photos can wait until after you get home.

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Un-Smart Technology

Smart technology has its appeal, to be sure, but you have to be diligent about using it safely. With so many devices connected to important infrastructure in your home, all it takes is one breach for the whole system to put you at risk.

The simplest solution is to avoid smart home technology altogether. At the very least, limit yourself to the fewest devices you could possibly need. There’s no sense in making your home an easy target because of a cheap, off-brand smart toaster.

Use a secure, encrypted Wi-Fi network for smart devices so criminals can’t easily access it. Create strong passwords for your network and devices, and change these passwords regularly. It’s tempting to keep the router’s default credentials, but it’s much safer to change them. Perform routine updates as prompted by your systems and software, as those often have fixes for newly discovered bugs that might leave you vulnerable.

And consider having a backup for the power source to your smart devices. Without power, you’re stuck.

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Flaunting Toys

If you have the latest laptop, TV, gaming system, or other must-have gadget in your front room, consider using blinds or curtains for some privacy. Otherwise, these valuable devices and others are on display for anyone from the street to see.

That goes for other areas around your property, too. Vehicles, bikes, power tools, and more could tempt a thief. Don’t leave your expensive “toys” lying out in the yard, unprotected. Lock everything up, preferably inside a closed outbuilding or garage, when it’s not in use.

And if you recently made a big purchase, try not to leave the box on the curb. You don’t want to advertise what loot a robber might find inside your home. Instead, break down the boxes before putting them in your recycling bin.

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Unattended Packages

Package theft is rampant in this modern age of e-commerce. Your home becomes a porch pirate’s delight when you leave your deliveries sitting by your front door for hours.

Keep an eye on the updates most couriers provide about your package’s arrival so you can remove it from the porch promptly. In addition, a security camera monitoring your front entrance can keep you up to date on the latest activities, malicious and benign. Other options for avid online shoppers include a package lockbox or a locker service. Or have your packages sent to an alternate location, like your office.

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Not Investing in the Right Security Devices

There are more security systems on the market than you can count. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the selection. But some key features are true differentiators in some systems that help them stand apart. The right devices should give you peace of mind.

For example, some people think they can install a cheap doorbell camera and monitor the feed themselves. But who has all day (and night) to do that? It’s easy to miss an alert if you’re in a meeting or sleeping. It’s even easier to get annoyed by all the alerts that end up being false alarms. Instead, consider investing in an AI security camera system backed by live security monitoring.

Most traditional alarm systems like ADT are also not worth your money. Without agents that can see, hear, and interact with suspects on your property, these solutions are little more than the boy who cried wolf. Trusting a system like that is one of the biggest and most common security mistakes out there.

There certainly are some simple, low-cost devices that can boost your home security. Take a layered approach by starting with your live surveillance system and adding devices that solve other problems, like TV light simulators, smart locks, or a sturdy safe.

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Unkempt Yard

Having overgrown bushes, trees, and other landscaping is a criminal’s delight. Plants make for great hiding places. This is one more reason to keep up with the landscaping. Your neighbors will thank you, and you’ll have a better view of your entire yard.

Have you heard of crime prevention through environmental design? This concept, sometimes called CPTED, involves designing your property with the express purpose of thwarting criminals. Landscaping is a critical component of CPTED. Neat, cared-for yards don’t make appealing targets.

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Living in the Shadows

In addition to lighting your home at regular intervals when you’re not at home, it’s important to invest in proper lighting for your home’s exterior. Pockets of darkness are perfect places for criminals to hide.

Invest in motion sensor lights for every entryway to your house. And include your garage and windows in that equation, too. A well-lit property is a safe property.

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Avoid Security Mistakes and Stay Safe

Strong security is as much about what you do wrong as what you do right. These tips will help you prevent common security mistakes, maximize your protection, and get some peace of mind.

For the ultimate peace of mind, entrust your home to the expert guards at Deep Sentinel. No other solution gives you the protection you’ll get from live security camera monitoring plus AI to prevent false alarms. Installing home surveillance cameras is one decision you’ll never regret.

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