21 Ways to Prevent Home Break-Ins (Proven Strategies)

With more than two burglaries happening every minute according to the FBI‘s data, it only makes sense for homeowners and renters to seek out methods for securing their homes.

Criminals are looking for quick and easy hits. They will case homes and look for weak spots and vulnerabilities. This is why looking for different ways to prevent break-ins is mandatory.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that you can prevent a home break-in, many of which are inexpensive fixes that anyone can do today.

In this article, you will find the best ways to prevent a home break-in so that you can have peace of mind next time you leave your home.

21 Ways to Prevent Home Break-Ins

Get a Large Dog

One of the best ways to deter the majority of criminals is by having a large indoor dog. The word large here is important. Large dogs have been proven to be an effective deterrent even by burglars themselves.

A small dog—no matter how fearsome it may look—will just not cut it.

All dogs can be bypassed by an experienced burglar who knows what they are doing; nonetheless, it will definitely scare off most criminals.


Install Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting is a simple and extremely effective way to prevent home break-ins during the night. The exterior lighting will keep your yard, and surrounding areas light up and very visible, which would deter many burglars.

If somebody is trying to break into a house, the last thing they want is to be brightly lit like a lighthouse for passersby and neighbors to see.

Motion-sensitive exterior lighting is arguably the best way to go if one can afford it. It is both energy-efficient and a good deterrent.


Leave the TV or Radio On

Before leaving your home, make sure to make it look like somebody is inside. This can be achieved in various ways, for example:

  • By leaving the lights on
  • Or by leaving the TV or radio on.

A simple thing like that will cause burglars to have some second thoughts and possibly have them spend more time casing your home, or giving up and start looking for another place they can hit.

In addition to that, you can also try to put your indoor lights on timers or use fake TV lights

If you are away for a long period of time, have somebody collect your mail or take care of your lawn and snow (during the winter). This will give your home a lived-in look.


Monitor Your Yard and Front Door

The majority of burglars will usually approach your front door first and ring it before they continue with their plan to break-in. Burglars do that to find out if anybody is home or if there’s a dog in the house.

An easy way to add an extra layer of security is by making sure the front door and yard of your home are monitored. This can easily be achieved by a video doorbell, for example.

Some of the top brands of video doorbells will not just capture footage of the person approaching the door but will also allow you to speak to them in real-time.

Don’t forget about your back door or sliding door; they also need to be monitored and secured.


Don’t Show Off

Can passersby see the valuables you may have inside your home? Are your TV, sound system, gaming setup, or other expensive equipment and items easily observable from outside? Can somebody walking down the sidewalk see that you have expensive items inside your home?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider ways to hide those valuables from the people outside.

Perhaps the easiest way is to invest in some curtains that will provide better privacy while at the same time still allow light to get inside.

Another thing to consider is your garbage.

If you have just bought an expensive TV or a computer, do you just throw away the cardboard boxes outside for the world to see? An opportunistic thief casing houses may see those boxes. This will be a good clue that your house has valuables that may be worth stealing.


Use a Security System With Professional Monitoring

There are a great many companies that offer complex home security systems that can make your home feel like an impenetrable fortress. Of course, this does not mean a home security system cannot be bypassed; however, it is very difficult and risky.

The majority of burglars will recognize the risks and will avoid such homes.

Home security systems can also be professionally monitored, which allows for faster reaction times in case of an emergency.


Leave a Car in the Driveway

Leaving your car in the driveway is an overlooked way to deter home break-ins.

By leaving a car in the driveway, you are implying somebody might be inside the house, so a criminal will either have to give up or case the house some more.

This makes the whole venture a lot more time-consuming for the burglar. And if the property is well-secured, they may decide to look for another more vulnerable house.

Check out our list of the Top 6 Driveway Alarms of 2023.


Secure and Reinforce Your Doors and Windows

Although somewhat obvious, this still deserves to be mentioned.

Make sure to have your doors and windows properly secured. This can be done through the use of window and door sensors, glass break sensors, motion sensors, glass break film, door and window stoppers, and more. This includes garage doors, fences, patio and sliding doors, too.


Always Lock Your Doors and Windows

Even if you leave for a short period of time or work in your backyard, make sure to always lock the doors and windows of your home.

I know this may sound like a no-brainer; however, many break-ins happen without the need to use any force. In other words, people left their doors or windows open.

Ensure that your garage is also locked all the time. A lot of criminals can make good use of a garage door that has been left open.

This applies to cars too. Even if the thief decides they will not break in your home, they can check your car for any valuables they can steal.


Change Your Passcodes Frequently

If you are using a security system with a keypad, make sure to update your passcodes frequently, this will make it harder for a burglar to hack or guess your code.

This also holds true for your wireless network password.


Don’t Post on Social Media Your Vacation Trips

You may be surprised how much personal information can be found online. This is why it is not a good idea to announce your going on a vacation on social media or even posting pictures while being on said vacation.

A burglar may be able to find that information and use it to their advantage, knowing nobody is in your home.

In fact, it is no surprise that the data shows break-ins in the USA increase significantly during June, July, and August, when most of the people are off on vacation.


Clear Out Any Hiding Spots

If there are hiding spots in your yard that burglars can use, this will make your home more vulnerable and a good target.

Ensure that your yard stays always trimmed, and there are no hiding spots that criminals can use to their advantage. You want everything to be fully visible.


Keep Your Valuables Hidden

If you have anything especially valuable, it should be kept well-hidden. Of course, this also applies to cash.

However, avoid hiding your valuables and cash in the obvious spots. Burglars, especially the experienced ones, are well aware of the usual hiding places. Vases, coffee cans, drawers are sometimes the first places they will look.

There are a lot of inconspicuous and simple ways to hide your valuables in a pinch. In most cases, burglars will just take anything they can see and leave as fast as possible.

For example, a power outlet safety box can be an excellent way to safe-keep your valuables. Other spots that, to the surprise of many, may not be checked by burglars are fridges and underneath bedsheets.


Stay Alert During the Day

Many homeowners may be worried about a thief breaking in their homes during the night; after all, this is the image we have grown most used with. A masked thief sneaking into homes under the cover of night.

However, during the day is when we need to be most alert. The majority of burglaries usually happen during the day when people are off to work.


Don’t Leave a Spare Key Outside

A spare key can be a lifesaver sometimes. However, leaving a spare key outside is a bad idea as a thief may be able to find it and use it to gain easy access to your home.

If you like the idea of having a backup key, leave it with your neighbor or a close friend or a relative.

Some owners may instead leave a spare key inside a combination box, which will be situated somewhere in their property. This may be better than leaving the key underneath a flower pot, but even a combination box is not impenetrable as skilled burglars can pick them.


Change Locks and Passwords When Moving to a New Home

It is recommended always to change the locks and passwords when you move to a new place.

This is especially important for renters and people whose homes have been burglarized and have had their keys stolen.


Get to Know Your Neighbors

One of the best things you can do, especially if you have just moved to a new neighborhood, is to get to know your neighbors and stay on good terms with them.

Getting to know your neighbors makes for a more closely-knit community where strangers and suspicious people will easily stick out and attract attention.

Neighborhood Watch Programs are another way that owners can take things into their hands.

Although the results have been mixed and largely dependent on the area, the citizen policing programs can be a good addition to improving the security of one’s home.


Make Sure the Door Behind You Is Locked

If you live in a condo or an apartment complex, make sure to always close the door behind you. This will ensure that nobody will sneak inside when you leave or enter the building.

Burglars will usually avoid breaking into apartments because it is riskier; however, make sure to stay alert and inform your property manager about any security vulnerabilities or suspicious activities.


Install Security Signs

A non-branded security sign can be an extremely cheap but rather effective way to up your home’s security.

Although it was carried on bicycles, one study discovered that the simple addition of security signs that informed people they were monitored found a reduction in bicycle theft by 62%.


Keep the Curtains and Blinders Shut

This simple thing will prevent burglars from easily finding out whether or not you have any valuables inside.

It is not going to stop all burglars, though, as the more experienced will do their due diligence. However, it is a simple enough thing that can deter some burglars.


Build a Fence

Fences will not scare away burglars. However, if your home doesn’t already have one, it is a good idea to build a fence. This will prevent opportunistic thieves from wandering inside your yard.


How Do Burglars Choose Houses?

How To Find Out Who Broke Into Your House?

Do Burglars Ring Doorbells?

What To Do After An Attempted Break-In?

15 Home Security Myths Busted

Photo of author


Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

Leave a Comment