Entry doors with clear glass inserts or sidelights are beautiful when the sun sparkles through, but they also allow unwanted visitors to see inside. Obscuring a would-be burglar’s view doesn’t have to be unattractive; by installing privacy film on the inside of the glass, such as Artscape Sidelight Window Film, you can add a decorative element to your window while allowing light to penetrate into your entryway, and protecting the contents of your home from peering eyes. Available from Amazon; $8.59.
Pair of Boots
It’s simple but highly effective. Keep a spare pair of shoes or boots (the bigger the better) in your entry closet and set them just outside your front door when you leave. The boots make it appear as though someone in the house just left their boots on the doorstep. You can pick up a slightly worn looking pair (an essential part of the illusion) at a thrift store for just a few bucks. Bring the boots in as soon as you return.
Related: 11 Things to Keep by the Front Door
Even if you don’t have a security company protecting your home, burglars don’t have to know that. Realistic security yard signs, such as the Brickhouse Home Surveillance Yard Sign, will give would-be thieves a second thought. Put the sign in the yard by your front steps so it won’t be missed, and put the security stickers that come with it in windows around your home. Available from Amazon; $19.99.
Highly Visible House Numbers
In case of a break-in or a medical emergency, first responders need to be able to locate your home as quickly as possible. Small house numbers are difficult to see and can make it tough for emergency workers to find your home. To be seen easily from the street, house numbers should be at least 6” high, like QT House Numbers. It’s also a good idea to install the numbers on a contrasting surface. Available from Amazon; $21.87.
A video surveillance system is great, but installing one can run over a thousand dollars, so if you can’t afford one, don’t worry. Many of today’s dummy cameras, such as Outdoor Gear & Hardware’s Fake CCTC Camera are virtually impossible to tell from the real thing. For authenticity’s sake, make sure the camera you choose has a wire and a blinking red light that flashes at night. Available from Amazon; $19.99.
Leave a Radio On
Keep a small radio on a table by your front door, and turn it on when you leave if no one will be home. It’s an inexpensive way to make unwanted visitors think someone is still in the house, which will deter the vast majority of burglars who count on being alone in your home while they’re stealing your possessions.
Pet Rescue Decals
In the event of a house fire, keeping your beloved pets safe could come down to letting first responders know pets are in your home, and you want them saved. Pet rescue decals, which should be placed either on a glass door inset or in the window closest to your front door, tell rescue workers your beloved animals are inside and in need of rescue. Order your free pet rescue decals from the ASPCA today.
Most burglars come right through the front door; many in broad daylight if they think no one is watching. One of the most popular new gadgets in home security is a Wi-Fi video doorbell, such as the Ring Video Doorbell 2. The doorbell sends an alarm to your smartphone when someone approaches your front door. It also records a video of the person. Burglars are getting smart to these doorbells and steering clear of houses when they spot one. Available from Amazon; $199.
If you live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, or you have teenage kids that are home alone for a couple of hours after school, invest in a door brace and keep it right inside your front door. A good door brace, such as the Master Lock Security Bar, will prevent even the most determined invader from getting in. The brace slips in place beneath the door knob and then a lever tightens it down. Even a flimsy door is virtually impossible to break down with a door brace in use. Available from Amazon; $19.37.
When asked how they gain access to locked homes, convicted burglars are quick to share one of their industry secrets—they use a key. Often, homeowners leave a hidden key for family members, but it’s a bad idea—crooks know all the best hiding places. Instead, install a touchpad entry lock, such as the Schlage Z-Wave Touchscreen Deadbolt. Today’s keypad locks come in attractive designs and many feature Wi-Fi connections, alarms, and even fingerprint recognition. Available from Amazon; $279.85.
Money-saving, time-saving—and yes, sometimes even life-saving—the latest and greatest smart home technologies span from self-programming thermostats to voice-activated TV controls to video doorbells and beyond. Raise your home's IQ!