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12 Easy Ways to Secure Your Home Against Bad Guys

We take a look at 12 simple things you can do to better secure your home from bad guys looking to steal your stuff or worse...

    While our homes might seem like the safest location, in reality, they can be just as vulnerable to bad guys as the outside world.

    But there’s got to be ways to better protect our abodes, right?

    Home Defense Glock G19 Light
    Protecting the home isn’t just about guns…

    A lot of people have the notion that if they want to properly secure their home from invasion, they need to hire an expensive security company for the latest security system.

    While that’s certainly useful, it’s not the only option. A wide number of other precautions exist to better secure your home – and most are pretty simple and easy to implement!

    Secure your home from this.

    If you want to improve the security of your home, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve gathered some tips, techniques, and products to help you make your home a bit safer.   

    So, let’s jump right in.

    12 Ways to Better Secure Your Home

    1. Deadbolts

    The first item on the list comes with a good reason. If your external doors have nothing other than a doorknob, you have no door security. So, get a deadbolt.

    That old credit card trick will work 8 out of 10 times on doors with no deadbolt.

    I should know. I’m a locksmith! (Please, hold your applause.)

    I can’t tell you how many times I go out into the field for a job only to discover time and time again how many houses, apartments, and condos do not have a simple deadbolt.

    It absolutely blows my mind.

    To achieve a base level of security, you need deadbolts on all exterior doors.

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    These harden your doors against credit card/swipe attacks, add an extra layer of resistance against the door being kicked in, and give a lockpicker yet another task he must do before he gains access.

    If you’re looking at adding deadbolts to your doors, the quickest option is to hire a locksmith. He or she can bore the holes and install the deadbolts.

    But if you prefer a DIY project, Dewalt makes a jig that easily lines up the holes.

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    2. Rekey the Locks

    If you’ve just moved into a new apartment, condo, or home rental, you likely won’t have any control over rekeying the locks — though it never hurts to ask the landlord.

    However, if you bought a new-to-you house, rekey the locks.

    By that, I mean hire a locksmith to make a new key for every external door lock on the house.

    Secure Home Rekey Lock
    A locksmith can rekey your locks for you.

    You never know who previous owners gave keys to.

    What you do know is that you don’t want random people gaining access to your place.

    Also, don’t try to rekey the locks yourself.

    Locksmiths have all the tools needed to do the job.

    It’s a bit of a learning curve and incredibly frustrating without the right tools.

    Bite the bullet and hire a locksmith on this one.

    Pro tip: bring the locks to the lock shop for the rekeying process. Usually, you’ll get a much cheaper deal and avoid a service trip fee.

    3. Don’t Hide a Spare Key in Obvious Places

    The number one place people hide a key is under the welcome mat.

    Every thief on the planet knows that.

    There’s no problem with hiding a spare key somewhere on your property — though I believe within the bowels of your vehicle is a safer place.

    Carjacking Combat Park
    You can always stow a spare key in your car.

    But, if you’re going to hide one, make sure to hide it in a less obvious place.

    I visited a house once with a single solar-powered light staked alongside the driveway. Where on earth do you buy just one solar-powered light, and why only stake one down?

    The answer…there was a spare key inside.

    If you’re going to hide a key outside, be creative. Also, retrieve it secretly so that prying eyes don’t make any unnecessary discoveries.

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    4. Install Safety Latches

    While advertised as a childproof door lock, safety latches function as a fantastic way to improve your door’s resistance against forced entry.

    Secure Home Safety Latches
    Safety latch

    Just slide the latch over, and you’ve now added 800 pounds of resistance to the door. This means it’s going to take several large men with probably a battering ram to break down your door.

    The only catch here is they can’t be used on every door of the house while you’re gone.

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    They’re best for once you’re already in the home (e.g., going to sleep at night).

    If you run errands during the day yet want to secure your house, I recommend investing in a night latch. These can be accessed externally.

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    5. Replace and Avoid Crappy Locks

    My favorite type of lockout calls are houses with Kwikset locks.

    Provided it’s not a Kwikset Smartkey, I can pick my way into these doors within 5 to 10 minutes. (SmartKey can’t be picked.)

    So, avoid older Kwikset locks.

    In general, any older lock that looks beat to pieces, rusty, or well-weathered needs replacing.

    Secure Home Rekey
    If it looks rough, replace it.

    The internal hardware is likely ground to nubs, which makes picking the lock that much easier.

    Schlage is a step up from Kwikset quality-wise. Truth be told, I have a significantly harder time picking these.

    However, they’re still considered a beginner’s lock for pickers.

    how lock picking works
    How lock picking works.

    If you want something tougher to pick open, invest in Schlage Primus, ASSA Abloy, or an MX keyway. You’ll pay a lot more for these, but they’re harder to pick.

    What about Medeco?

    While these are really hard to pick (though not impossible), the price of these is insane. In short, more cost-effective methods exist.

    6. Install Anti-Shatter Window Film

    Anti-Shatter Windows Films are easily one of the coolest DIY products for hardening your home against baddies.

    All you do is cut this film to size and put the sticky side on the indoor side of your windows.

    Window Film
    Window film attaches to your window.

    Voila! You’ve now made your window shatter-resistant and a much longer and louder process for baddies to break into your windows.

    Several different thicknesses of film are available on the market, with most manufacturers producing 4mm, 8mm, and 12mm thicknesses.

    The thicker the film, the harder it is to break into your place.

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    7. Install a Security Strike

    If you look at statistics, the great majority of home break-ins have nothing to do with the lock being picked.

    They’re almost always caused by a door or window being kicked in, broken, or walked through.

    On top of that, 85% of burglaries are performed by amateurs.

    Burglary Gif

    You’ve likely heard of people drilling two gigantic screws into the strike plate of their lock drilling into the adjacent stud. But all this does is drill into the door frame.

    So, when someone kicks in your door, all they have to do is put enough force against the door to break out a half-inch of wood from the door frame.

    If they can do that — which is easy — they can walk right into your house.

    But there’s a better way to deal with door kicks…install security strikes.

    Secure Home Striker Plate
    Striker plate

    For about $10, you can pick up a security strike. These measure larger than the stock model that came with your lock, and they offer four to six screw holes instead of two.

    This means you can put four to six gigantic screws through your strike plate and into the door’s stud, making your door more difficult to kick in.

    Secure Home Striker Plate
    You get more screws which offer a little more protection.

    You need a chisel and a hammer to get this done, but it’s a job that can be accomplished in about 15 minutes.

    With numerous gigantic screws, much more force is required, but the force can be absorbed over a wider surface area as well.

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    8. Don’t Show Others Your Keys

    Good grief, ya’ll. Please quit posting pictures of your keys to social media or just leaving them lying around where others can see them.

    If you’ve just posted the keys to your new house on Facebook, you’ve just told the entire world what kind of locks you have on your doors, what kind of keyway they use, and the key cuts.

    Once cut, baddies can decipher key cuts even from pictures.

    This is, in essence, like telling the entire world the password to your bank account.

    “Here’s a location with my valuable assets inside! And here’s the key!”

    Don’t do that.

    Also, don’t leave your keys just lying about the place. A baddie can easily learn how to decipher house key cuts just by looking at them.

    9. Use Door Bars

    Let’s say you’re in a situation where you’re renting, and your landlord won’t let you install deadbolts to the house. Or you’re a single girl who’s finally moved out to her first place.

    In the first situation, you’re looking for a means to further improve your door security while you’re in the house. In the second situation, you may be looking for a last resort method to further secure your bedroom door at night.

    In either case, a door bar can be a great investment.

    Secure Home DoorBar
    Door Bar

    These typically come in around $20 and function in the same way that chairs wedged under doorknobs in cartoons do.

    When wedged under the doorknob, prevent the door from being kicked open…well, without a significant amount of force.

    Home Defense Phone 911
    Door bars can buy you time to call 911.

    At the very least, it will take a bad guy a very long time and a lot of noise to get in.

    This gives you more time to call 911, grab a weapon, and consider your options.

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    10. Buy and Install Window Locks

    Most newer windows come with a lock already installed, but every once in a while, I’ll find windows without locks.

    While wedging a wooden dowel at the top of the window to keep it from opening works, I prefer something a bit more robust.

    A window lock makes this a bit tougher.

    You can easily find window locks online that clamp into place, keeping your window from opening.

    They also work as a great childproofing device while offering a cheap and effective means of protecting your home from intrusion.

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    11. Stick on Some Window Vibration Sensors

    If you want everybody on your street to know when a bad guy throws a rock through your window, you want window vibration sensors.

    These sticky little guys sit on the inside of your window in a discrete location (typically a corner) and give out a shrill alarm when they detect banging on the window.

    If you’re away from home, the baddie may think he’s tripped an alarm. On the other hand, if you’re at home, you now have an early alert system to get you on your toes and ready for action.

    Either way, it’s a win, and considering that these are relatively cheap online, there’s no reason not to consider them.

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    12. Install Motion Activated Lights

    Baddies like working in the dark where there’s less risk of being discovered.

    But installing motion-activated lights above the external doors creates more opportunities for bad guys to be caught.

    Personally, I’m a fan of the LED solar-powered models.

    Cloud Defensive Rein Barn with Light
    Lights tend to deter bad guys.

    These are self-contained units, so you don’t have to do any wiring yourself.

    Just find a good place to screw the unit in, and you’re golden.

    When something trips the sensor, a bright LED light will flood the area, scaring the baddie and giving you the ability to see what’s up should you be nearby.

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    A lot of DIY options exist that you can use to improve your home security. Remember that layers of security are always the best option when it comes to securing anything.

    Home Alone
    Home Alone was a great study in multi-layered security.

    If you only have one obstacle keeping the baddie away from his prize, once he gets past that, you’re screwed. But numerous hurdles better ensure that the baddie can’t reach his goal.

    Home Defense AR-15
    Let your weapon be your last resort.

    While I don’t believe that you have to make your home a veritable Fort Knox to be safe, I do think there’s wisdom in doing what you can to improve your home security.  

    For more ways to protect your home, check out the Brownells Daily Defense videos below.

    Are there other easy DIY home security fixes you recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Looking to add a firearm to your home defense plan? Check out our article on the Best Home Defense Gun.

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    15 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      I would add that a dog that barks is a good deterrent, thieves want a quick and easy in and out and don't want the extra attention it brings. Also most want an easy in and out. They do not want you home. If you leave on a couple lights and a loud TV they most likely wont go in. You want them to move on to the next house. Also a lot of people know the person that stole from them. Don't show off what you have and tempt others. My own wife does not even know what all I have.

      October 11, 2022 2:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Phllip Couture


      June 2, 2022 6:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Access Doors and Panels

      I appreciate you taking the time to elaborate on the importance of securing a home. It was tremendous assistance.

      April 25, 2022 11:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Very helpful article. You can also be creative with landscaping around vulnerable windows. The right type of prickly bushes can act as an outside deterrent. But they can also get annoying if you want to do normal stuff like clean your window or paint your trim.

      January 19, 2022 4:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      IN Dave

      Most underutilized place to hide a spare key is inside a outside dog house. If you are supposed to be there then you don’t have a problem retrieving it.

      January 18, 2022 9:09 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Greg Frankel

      I use a 1 x 2 cut to the length of the channel of the sliding door when it's closed.

      January 18, 2022 7:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I was a Master Breacher with NSW for several years. During that period we trained numerous PD-officers, including SWAT members. We would setup the kill house with a variety of barricaded doors (primary, secondary, internal, etc) using 2x4s, 2x6s, rebar, etc. Two issues were noted by the officers; 1) metal-type screen doors were always an issue, typically collapsing and binding up the entry point after detonating a water charge or slap charge, and 2) factory screws, typically .5"-.75" long, replaced with 2.5"-3.0" Deckmate screws always caused an excessive delay in entry. Again, even after a strip charge was detonated, the door would open but typically got mangled and jammed up the entry point. To be clear, these strip charges were used on internal doors. However, C3/7 ft slap charges were used on primary and secondary doors. That said, we are talking about mil & PD-type tactics. There are less than handful of PD"s in the US authorized to use explosives for dynamic entry which are typically used when serving high-risk warrants. To that end, every apartment and house I've lived in always gets the Deckmate treatment with the intent to deter sh**bags or at a minimum to delay entry which buys me time to grab a shooter and prep accordingly.

      October 13, 2021 10:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Ref security: we have lived in multiple homes over the years. Now virtually every home purchase involves a home warranty. On our most recent move we discovered that the warranty included the re-keying of up to six exterior locks. We were surprised but the price was right. Bud

      July 17, 2021 10:56 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      "Baddies like working in the dark where there’s less risk of being discovered."

      Not all "Baddies" like working in the dark. Almost 74% of home invasions and burglaries happen between midday and 4 pm in the afternoon.

      July 10, 2021 9:50 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Will anti shatter window film negate a glass break sensor which I understood tuned to frequency of shattered glass?

      July 7, 2021 8:24 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Aden Tate

        Ooh, that's a good question.

        To be honest, I'm not sure. I would think the first variable to consider would be the type of sensor that you have on your window. Some of them don't necessarily require the glass to break to sound off, but rather to feel unusual amounts of vibration.

        If that were the type you had, I wouldn't THINK that anti-shatter film would mess with anything there, but again, I've never tried it. The window would still experience vibration even with anti-shatter film.

        July 8, 2021 2:57 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          "glass break sensors" are basically acoustic microphones tuned to the sudden impulse frequency of breaking glass which is audible (you can hear it).

          glass break sensors work when the breaking glass exhibits frequencies in certain audible ranges as it breaks. anti-shatter film can attenuate the glass breaking sound frequencies making it difficult for the glass beak sensors to hear the breaking glass.

          July 9, 2021 4:55 am
          • Commenter Avatar

            Oh, in addition - the term "glass breaking" in terms of "glass break sensor" is more accurately defined by the term "shatter". Glass doesn't actually "break" at the beginning of the damage but rather "shatters" at the nexus of the break. That "shattering" sound is a relatively high-pitched audible frequency with a unique sound signature. A glass break sensor has a built-in microphone tuned for that range of high-pitched audible frequency.

            July 9, 2021 5:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis Hamrick

      Good article, thank you. I'd humbly suggest to amend #3. Never hide a key in anything you can't secure or lock. A few months ago we had an uninvited 'guest' enter our home after finding the key in one of those clever hiding devices. It was well hidden in a very inconspicuous location, yet they still found it and got in. We were lucky as we did not lose anything when they were interrupted and fled. But a very valuable lesson was learned. After that, we decided to get a proper lock box. The Master Lock 5401D Wall Mount Lock Box from Amazon for around $20 can be wall mounted in a safer location, ours is mounted by the front door where you must smile for our doorbell camera, and I may say "hello" if you decide to monkey around with it. Combo can be changed easily, and if properly mounted in the best position it's extremely hard to force open or break into. I will never leave a key to my home unsecured outside the house again, no matter how well-hidden I think it may be.

      July 6, 2021 5:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Aden Tate

        Yeah, a lockbox would work as well. They're not the most secure thing in the world, but I do have a lot of clients that want/use them.

        July 8, 2021 2:54 pm
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