Home Alarm Kit

starter home alarm kit

A basic home alarm kit can be as simple as a keypad and a few door sensors

One of the greatest things about home security is how easy things have become. Twenty years ago, installing a home security system was a complicated job that could only be tacked by the pros, but today’s evolving technologies make it possible for almost anyone to secure their home. And home alarm kits make security even easier.

A home alarm kit is a DIY security system that bundles some of the most important and popular features into one purchase. You can also buy add-ons to your kit, so you can fully customize your system to your home’s specifications. The benefit of a kit over a piecemeal DIY system is in usability: instead of researching every, last component of a potential system, a kit lays the basic groundwork.

Remember, a home alarm kit is a DIY security system. It is not connected to an alarm company, so in the event of a break-in, no third party will be notified to call the police. Furthermore, these systems typically do not offer extras like flood monitoring or fire protection. They are economical, however, typically costing $50-$200 for the basic kit. And since you are not linked to a professional security system, there is no monthly fee.

Guide to Your Home Alarm Kit

fancy home alarm kit

A more comprehensive system adds extras, like window sensors, keyfobs, and a panic button

Basic Starter Package

Out of the box, your kit typically includes the following:

  • Keypad: Even the most inexpensive system will have a keypad, which is used to arm and disarm your system.
  • Door Sensors: Door sensors are the most basic security component but one of the most important, as a home’s exterior doors are the most common method of entry for burglars. If there are not enough sensors to cover each of your exterior doors, you’ll want to purchase add-ons.
  • Window Sensors: Some security kits also come with window sensors (typically, one to three). Windows are the second most common point of entry, and it’s a good idea to arm each of your ground-level windows with a sensor. Extras are almost always available for individual purchase from your kit company.

Add-on Components

With most systems, you can order additional door and window sensors to complete your system. Be aware that your alarm kit has a maximum number of sensors it can accommodate (usually 15-20, but more expensive systems may have greater capacity), so if you need more, you’ll need to buy an additional kit with keypad.


home surveillance system

Video security is available via a separate system that runs $150-$1,000+

Depending on the alarm kit you choose, you’ll have a wide range of accessories to add. Choose wisely, as these components can really add to your bottom line – doubling, tripling, quadrupling or more the original purchase price of your kit. Here are some of the most common extras:

  • Wireless keyfob (keychain remote)
  • Motion detectors
  • Vibration sensors
  • Wireless transmitters
  • Pet immune sensors
  • Glass break sensors
  • Silent alarms
  • Panic buttons
  • Computer locks
  • Shock sensors
  • Wireless sirens
  • Wireless emergency transmitters

Video Monitoring

Most home security kits do not include video surveillance (CCTV). However, video security systems are widely available online and in home improvement or electronic stores. The most basic system costs about $150 and includes only one monitor and one camera, while sophisticated systems can run $1,000+, have multiple cameras, backup video online, and offer other value-added features.

10 Ways to Protect Your Home While You’re Away/On Vacation

Translation: We're not home; burglars, come on in!

Translation: We’re not home; burglars, come on in!

When you leave your home, whether for a quick weekend getaway or a vacation extravaganza, in addition to making sure to bring along the best travel safety products for your family, you’ll want to take some basic safety precautions to keep your house and belongings as safe as you can. This makes most of us think about burglarproofing, but preparations extend beyond locking your doors or setting timers for your lights.

Here are a few things I always do before leaving my home for an extended period. To me, that’s 24+ hours. What does extended mean to you? What’s the threshold that propels you from your normal locking-up routine to more detailed preparations?

1. Hold Your Mail

A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.

2. Create the Illusion of Someone Home

Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. But wait, that’s not all! Leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm (neighborhood kids are great for this, if you get their parents’ word that they’ll remember). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.

house with unmowed lawn

Translation: We’re not home; burglars, come on in!

3. Mum’s the Word

Never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side, and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload!

4. Trust a Friend

Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they’ll know how to contact you in case of emergency.

5. Advertise Your Security

Especially when you’re away, it can be a great idea to advertise your security measures. If you’re worried that alarm company signs will clue thieves in to how to break in, buy signs from a different company. Install fake security cameras (the kind that look authentic). Do whatever it takes to get across the message, “This is not the home you are looking for.”

house with no lights on

Translation: We’re not home; burglars, come on in!

6. Unplug

Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.

7. Hide the Hide-a-Key

It’s impossible to forget your key if you’re not even home, so go ahead and take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!

8. Keep Your Cool

Turn down (or up) the thermostat to save on electricity while you’re gone. In the winter, set the heat to about 55° – warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, but cool enough to save – and during the summer, set your air-conditioning to 85°. You can also lower the temperature on your water heater.

9. Safe-Keep Your Valuables

Lock up jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe.

10. Alert Your Alarm Company

Call your home security company to let them know you’ll be away. Make sure all of the door and window alarms are set and working when you leave.

What other precautions do you take before leaving on vacation?

More Safety Solutions for Families:

Simple Steps to Prevent Home Invasion

prevent home invasion

Take these simple steps to prevent home invasion in 2013

Today is the first day of a new year, and we can also make it the first day we work toward a safer, more secure home.

Over the coming months, we’ll explore many different topics relating to your family’s safety (Have suggestions or requests? Hit me up in the comments.), but today we’ll start with some very simple things you can do, right now, to make your family and home safer in 2013.

SEVEN Steps to Preventing a Home Invasion

1. Use a Peephole

We teach our kids to never open the door to strangers, but then we make this mistake ourselves. True, most front-door visitors wish us no ill-will, but one who does won’t think twice about breaking your door in as soon as you’ve opened it a crack. Install a peephole and use it before opening the door to anyone.

peephole as burglar deterrent

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Hopefully not a Soprano!

2. Lock Up

Statistics say that 4 in 10 burglars walk in through an open (unlocked) door or window. You can greatly reduce your risk by simply locking your doors and windows whenever you go out and at night. If you love sleeping with the windows open, install special windows that lock when open – but not so open that intruders can slip in.

3. Kick-proof Your Doors

It’s a scary thought, but burglars do kick down doors to get into a home. You can make your doors stronger by installing a sturdy frame, deep box strike, and solid door in wood, fiberglass or metal. (Catch some more tips on how to burglar-proof your doors.)

4. Light ‘Em Up

Take outdoor illumination seriously and install floodlights around your home. Put them on motion sensors. Ideally, no area of your home’s perimeter should fall outside the reach of your lights.

keypad door lock

A keypad door lock is a safe way to grant access to your home

5. Keyed Entry

Many times, a spare key given to a home contractor or other person can fall into the wrong hands. The best strategy is to give out a separate key that works on only one door; change it as soon as the job is finished. (You can buy locks that you can easily re-key yourself.) Alternatively, you can install a keyless entry panel that uses a combination code that is easily updated as often as necessary.

6. Shady Shrubbery

High shrubs, bushes or trees around your home provide convenient cover for would-be intruders. Keep landscaping around doors and windows pruned and low-cut. If you have an undeniable yen for high bushes, choose burglar-deterrent plants – those with sharp thorns, razor-sharp leaves, or other decorative-but-inhospitable features.

7. Install a Home Alarm

If you don’t have an burglar alarm system already installed, consider one for 2013. There are many different options available, from systems that merely surveil your entry points to state-of-the-art alarms that incorporate motion and vibration sensors, cell phone monitoring, and closed-circuit video recording. There is truly an option for every budget, so if you’ve been holding out in deference to your wallet, you’ll likely be surprised at how affordable a home security alarm system can actually be. And in the end, can you really put a price on your family’s security?

How to Defend Yourself & Home Against Burglars

baseball bat for defense

In an emergency, household items may be used as defensive weapons

Unfortunately, even the best home security can’t guarantee 100% protection, 100% of the time. That’s why redundancy measures are so important: like an onion, the more layers of security you utilize, the more likely you are to make an intruder weep. Beyond discouraging home invaders and implementing burglar deterrents, there are several small things you can do to protect your home and family from the threat of a break-in.

7 Tips to Defend Your Family & Home Against Burglars

1. Lock the Doors
Four out of every ten burglars enter through an unlocked door or window. Start with the most basic defense: a good offense. Lock up your doors and windows at night, every night. If you enjoy the evening breeze, consider investing in special windows that open a small amount – not enough for a burglar to slip through – and lock into place, thereby delivering both security and fresh air.

2. Reinforce Bedroom Doors
Many interior doors are made from inferior materials. Replace all bedroom doors with solid wood versions complete with decent locks. (You don’t have to deadbolt your bedroom door.) In the event of a break-in, solid wood doors can give you a few extra minutes to call the police or grab a weapon.

3. Lock Up Your Guns
If you own guns, make sure they are always kept in a locking cabinet. Experienced burglars know all the normal hiding spots – even the ones you think they won’t know – and won’t hesitate to use your own gun against you. Keep your ammo in a separate, locking case or area, so that even if a burglar does find a gun, it won’t be loaded.

4. Get to the Shooting Range
Speaking of guns, if you own one, get trained on it; it is dangerous to own a weapon that you don’t know how to use. You should know how to load, fire, and disengage your firearm without a second thought; in the heat of the moment, adrenaline and fear can cloud your thought processes. Run a few drills to practice loading your firearm in the dark, in the middle of the night, from a dead sleep – the most challenging of circumstances.

5. Install Motion Sensors
Even if you don’t have a home security system, you can still install a motion sensor or other type of alarm. Self-installed systems are inexpensive and while they don’t sound the alarm to police or a home security company, they will let you know if an intruder has breached a window, external door, or any other area that you have protected.

6. Know How to Defend Yourself
You don’t have to own a gun to defend yourself. Many household items can be used in an emergency, for example:

  • Baseball Bat / Cane / 2×4: If you have good aim, a baseball bat or similar can be used to protect your person or even knock an intruder unconscious.
  • Perfume / Aerosol Anything: May be used as makeshift mace.
  • Telephone / Hole Punch / Anything Heavy: Heavy, hard-to-break objects can be used to deliver a harder punch.
  • Fruit Juice / Lemonade: Acidic juices can be thrown or spat to temporarily blind an intruder.

7. Charge Your Cell Phone
If an intruder cuts your phone line, you’ll need to have a charged cell phone close by.

7 Ways to Discourage Thieves from Breaking into Your Home

Burglar stealing TV

Forget the Joneses – don’t ever advertise your valuables

The deadbolt one of the most revolutionary home security measures ever invented. With its introduction in the 1960s, home burglaries began a steady decline as homeowners began to taking residential security into their own, capable hands. By the 1970s, most homes had installed a deadbolt lock and burglaries had plateaued to a record low.

Fast-forward 35 years, and an estimated 25 percent of homes in the United States now have some sort of electronic security system. Even more, neighbors pool resources to hire private guards; homeowners install reinforced glass; motion detectors warn of an approaching intruder; and lock technology has progressed beyond even the mighty deadbolt.

And yet. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports recorded an estimated 2.18 million home break-ins in 2011. Worse yet, police often have a hard time apprehending thieves, as burglars have gotten progressively sneakier to combat smarter security technologies. But if that makes it sound hopeless, fear not. There are many, many steps you can take to discourage thieves from breaking into your home – and most can be done in a day and require only a small investment of time and funds.

1. Be Home

Most burglaries happen during the day when your family is at work or school. When you step out for the day (or night), take care to create the illusion of someone at home. You can leave lights or the television on a timer, or purchase products that simulate the sounds and sights of indoor activity.

2. Lock Up

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a whopping 40 percent of all home burglaries are not forced entries – thieves simply walk into 4 out of every 10 homes via an open door or window. If no one is at home, always lock all your doors and windows. Install deadbolts (this one still rings true!). Secure sliding glass doors.

3. Secure the Garage

Keep your garage doors closed, even when you’re home. If you tend to forget to hit the close button, install a timer close; it’ll close your garage doors automatically after a certain amount of time open. (There’s an override for times when you really do need them open.) If you’re going away for an extended period, disable your door opener or padlock the door’s bolt holes to prevent a burglar from easily rolling up the door and walking in.

Burglar Entry through Door

40 percent of burglars enter through an open door or window

4. Don’t Be the Biggest House on the Block

This rule applies not only to real estate, but to home security, too. You don’t want the biggest, flashiest, most expensive home in the neighborhood – it’s sure to be a target. Likewise, don’t show off. If you buy a new television or expensive sound system, don’t leave the packaging box sitting on the curb. Don’t let your children leave bicycles and other toys sitting in the front yard. Etc. etc. In other words, don’t advertise your belongings and their worth to potential intruders.

5. Hide and Go Elsewhere

Don’t make your home the easiest target on the block by providing convenient hiding spots: keep trees, bushes and shrubbery away from doors, windows and other entry points. You can still have attractive landscaping, of course, just keep border plants manicured so that they provide no cover for burglars. If you’re attached to the idea of shrubbery around the home, choose thorny plants that would be quite inhospitable to an hiding intruder.

6. Know Thy Neighbor

Friendly neighborhoods report a lower crime rate, in part because strangers simply stick out. Make friends with your neighbors – Nosey Nelly next door can be your best burglar deterrent. Offer to keep and eye on each other’s homes, or to sound the alarm if necessary. A Neighborhood Watch program is also an excellent way to build budget-friendly crime-prevention.

7. Close the Curtains

Windows are beautiful, letting light and air filter into your home, but they also give burglars an easy way to inventory possible booty. Make it a habit to close your blinds or curtains when you’re not home, and especially at night when interior lights make it hard to see outside but very easy to see in.

7 Tips to Burglar Proof the Doors in Your Home

I know I’ve been talking a lot about home security lately – burglar deterrents, how to burglarproof your windows, questions to ask your home alarm company – but I come from the camp of “the best defense is a good offense.” Or better safe than sorry. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You get the drift.

The point is, there are things you can do to secure your home and your family. Do you have to do every, single thing from every, single list? Of course not. But if you do a little of this and a little of that, you’ll be a lot safer than if you did nothing at all.

We’ve covered a lot of the basics, but I want to circle back to doors. Did you know that an estimated 70% of home invaders enter through a door (as opposed to a window), which includes front doors, patio doors and even garage doors? That’s a pretty surprising statistic, considering doors are usually made of solid wood while windows are fragile glass. But it’s also a good statistic, because it gives us a jumping-off point for home security.

How to Burglarproof Your Doors

1. Solid Security
Bottom line: All exterior doors need to be solid and kick-proof. That means you want a solid wood door, or at the very least a door with a solid-wood core. Other options are fiberglass or metal. If you choose a metal door, make sure that it has interior reinforcement and a lock block, to prevent a thief from bending it open with a car jack. Reinforced steel doors are your sturdiest option, but they also require extra maintenance to prevent rust.

Relevant Products: National Hardware Door Security Guard

2. Go Windowless
Door windows allow light to filter into your entranceway and they look inviting, but they’re also a home security risk. If the window is located within arm’s reach of your lock, it is easy to smash the window and unlock your door from the inside. If you are installing a new door, choose one without a window. If you already have a windowed door – or fall absolutely in love with a door that has a window – you’ll need to take a few extra security measures. Choose reinforced glass, and consider adding decorative bars or metal reinforcement. And if it doesn’t break local fire codes, you should also install a secondary door lock at floor level – far away from a burglar’s reach.

Relevant Products: Avonstar 6-Pack Adjustable Window Security Bars

3. See Ya, Shrubbery
Everyone loves a flowery landscaping, but it belongs nowhere near your door (or windows). Never plant shrubs, bushes or trees to obscure your doors; they make it too easy for a burglar to lie in wait and then do the deed without anyone the wiser.

4. Install a Deadbolt
They say a door is only as strong as its lock – and they couldn’t be more right. Even the strongest reinforced steel door can be neutralized by one swift kick if your lock does not extend deep enough into the doorframe. When choosing a deadbolt, go with a brand name and don’t choose the cheapest model. (Note: I’m not saying you need a $150 deadbolt, just don’t choose the $5 model from the local dollar store.)

Relevant Products: Primeline Products Jimmy-Resistant Deadlock

5. Secondary Protection
Speaking of deadbolts, you can even install a secondary, one-sided deadbolt. These deadbolts do not have keyed access to the outside, so they can only be used when you are home (to engage the lock from the inside), but they’re nearly impossible for a burglar to bypass. These locks can save you from a dangerous home invasion while you sleep or spend time with your loved ones.

Relevant Products: Master Lock Single Cylinder Deadbolt

6. Don’t Forget the Frame
Don’t overlook the frame and doorjamb. These two elements are essential to door security – one swift kick to a weak jamb or frame, and your door cracks open like a steamed clam – but are often overlooked. Instead of a thin, flimsy strike plate, install a deeper box strike (a type of steel pocket that houses the bolt part of your deadbolt); to this, affix 3″ screws that burrow deep into the wall studs, instead of just the doorjamb. And speaking of, you’ll want to reinforce your doorjamb with galvanized steel to withstand shoulders, kicks, and other attempts to break your door in.

Relevant Products: Primeline Products Box Strike Plate

7. Sliding Doors
Burglars often think of sliding glass doors as invitations, but there’s plenty you can do to secure these decorative entry points. First, make sure your doors are made from reinforced glass or plastic (like polycarbonate), and not simple, thin glass. Always keep glass doors locked. Place a wooden or metal dowel in the track – the rod should measure no more than 1/4″ less than the track length – to prevent the doors from being opened by force. Make sure your alarm company has installed motion sensors or vibration sensors to sound the alarm in case the glass is broken. And consider installing curtains on the inside, so as not to give burglars a wide-screen view into your home.

Relevant Products: Elegant Comfort 2-Piece Sheer Panel Window Curtains (multiple color options)

More Safety Solutions for Kids and Families:

How to Burglar Proof Windows

Window Alarm Sensor

An inexpensive alarm will sound when an intruder opens your window to break in

One of the most important aspects to home security – and one that is often overlooked in favor of more expensive and higher-tech solutions – is your home’s windows. Thieves come in either through the door or windows, so provided you have already invested in solid doors and door locks, windows are your weakest point of entry.

Sure up security here, and breaking in to your home will be too much work for the average burglar.

Reinforced Glass

There are several methods of reinforcing your glass windows with secure materials. The first is with tempered glass, which is much more durable than traditional glass and therefore more difficult to break. It is also one of the least expensive options for reinforced glass, although it is still expensive when compared to traditional glass panes. Laminated glass, also known as safety glass, is another excellent option for your home’s windows. Laminated glass usually consists of a layer of vinyl sandwiched between two sheets of regular glass. To break through safety glass, a burglar would have to strike repeatedly in the same spot, creating a lot of noise – and thus proving to be an excellent thief deterrent.

You may also look into wire mesh glass or bullet-resistant glass for extra security, but be aware that these products are pricey and for most families, don’t provide extra security benefits over less expensive reinforced glass options.

Polycarbonate & Plexiglas Windows

Acrylic plastic windows are known as Plexiglas windows, and are the same thickness as traditional glass while being 10 times stronger. Polycarbonate windows are more expensive, but are very secure – they’re 250 times more impact resistant than safety glass and more than 10 times stronger the acrylic windows.

Window Bars

Decorative Window Bars

Decorative window bars can be customized to fit your home’s style

Iron bars on your windows make your home very burglar resistant – even if a thief smashes through the glass, they cannot squeeze through the bars to burgle your home. Many people are resistant to the idea of window bars however, since they feel that bars make a house more like a prison than a home.

However, if this option appeals to you, be aware that some companies specialize in decorative window bars that are absolutely beautiful and can be customized to suit your home’s design.

Window Alarms

There are several type of window alarms on the market today. The first is a simple window sensor alarm to detect when a window is opened or broken, sounding an alarm to warn your family and send the burglar fleeing.

The GE SmartHome Window Alarm is a popular wireless option that is easy to install and can be used on any window in your home.

wireless window sensor from GE

A more complicated window alarm also adds an infrared motion detector to monitor the area around the window, and activating when motion is detected but before the window is opened or broken.

Schlage Window Sensor allows you to remotely monitor your windows and alerts you when motion is detected of if you leave a window open at night.

Finally, a home alarm system can provide these components to safeguard all windows and provides the added benefit of not only warning you of an intruder, but sending an automatic call for help to your alarm company or the local police.

SimpliSafe offers an excellent DIY option that you can install yourself, which includes entry sensors for windows and doors and ongoing monitoring.


Window Locks

Don’t underestimate the power of a good lock. Deadbolts and Window Guard) can a simple, affordable yet highly effective burglar deterrent


window pin lock

Another popular option with homeowners is a vinyl window lock. One of the best vinyl locks is made by Prime Line.

vinyl window lock to deter burglars and thieves

A good window security strategy recommended by experts is to install strong, visible window locks on basement and first-floor windows, and simpler deadbolts or window sash locks on upper levels.

Tools and Products for Burglar Proofing Your Home’s Windows

Shop tools and products to burglar proof your windows on:
Amazon Window Security

More Safety Solutions for Kids and Families:

16 Home Security Tips

Tips for Home Security

Follow these inexpensive and easy tips to secure your home against intruders

While it can be difficult to protect your home from professional and master thieves, amateurs are behind most home burglaries. The good news is that it is much easier to safeguard your possessions against amateurs, and the even better news is that a few simple, mostly inexpensive investments and precautions can prove a sufficient deterrent to keep your home safe.

  1. Always Lock Up: Even if you’re only running to the corner store for five minutes, lock up all your doors and windows – even on the second floor.
  2. Invest in an Alarm System: This is admittedly the most expensive item on this list, but an alarm system is worth its weight in gold. Not only do alarm signs serve as good intruder deterrents, but a good alarm system is connected directly to the police and/or a central station to get you immediate help, if it were ever required. (Extra tip: Make sure your alarm system has a backup cell phone connection, in case for any reason your telephone connection is disrupted.)
  3. Motion Detection: In addition to an alarm system, inexpensive motion sensors and sound detectors can be installed to trigger lights around and inside your home to deter potential burglers.
  4. Reflective House Numbers: In the case that you do require emergency services, reflective numbers can help police, fire and ambulances find your home easily, even in the dark.
  5. Basement Window Bars

    Tip #8: Secure basement windows with security bars

    Window Security: There are several methods to securing your windows and sliding doors so that they cannot be opened far enough for someone to slip into your home. (The least expensive option is a simple pipe or wooden dowel lodged in the window track.)

  6. Door Security: All doors located within arm’s reach of a window should have dead bolts with captive keylocks. This means that if a burgler breaks the window, s/he cannot unlock your door. (Note: Dead bolts are potential fire hazards, so make sure they have a removable key in place whenever you are home. When you leave, remove the key and keep the dead bolt locked inside and out.)
  7. Stranger Danger: Install a peephole and chain locks on your front door, so that you can talk to someone without giving them a full view into your home.
  8. Basement Security: If you have a basement with windows to the outside, install security bars. Also bar up any window air-conditioning units to prevent intruders from removing and crawling through the window.
  9. Contractor Key: There may be times when you have to give visitors or contractors a key to your home. For optimal security, have all doors – save one – in the house keyed to one lock (that’s your key) and the remaining door keyed for visitors. Re-key as soon as the job or visit is over. (Extra tip: You can even make your contractor door accessible by combination padlock, so you can re-code it as often as necessary.)
  10. Home Security Combination Lock

    Tip #9: Give contractors and visitors access to just one, easily-rekeyed door

    Re-key at Move-in: As soon as you move into a new home or apartment, have all the locks re-keyed. You can’t know to whom the previous owners had handed out spares.

  11. No Vacancy: When you go away, rig light timers and radios to play every night. This creates the impression that you’re still at home. (Extra tip: In this same vein, do not leave notes or signs for delivery drivers or other people when you go away. They’re like large, blinking invitations to break in.)
  12. Lose the Invitation: Always draw your blinds or tint your windows so that thieves can not see into you home to identify tempting electronics and other valuables.
  13. Brand your Belongings: Mark all your belongings with some sort of property mark. For example, use a metal engraver to mark your expensive electronics, or a permanent market on the underside of your furniture.
  14. Spare Key: Do not leave your spare key sitting under a mat or a rock – they’re too easy to find. Instead, use a combination padlock (similar to what many real estate agents use) outside to secure your extra set of keys.
  15. Close the Garage: Even when you’re home, keep your garage doors closed at all times.
  16. Get Safe: Secure all valuables in a fire-proof safe at home, or a bank safety depost box.