You lock your doors, but home window security is all too often forgotten.
You pull into your driveway after a long day of work and a trip to the grocery store, grab your bags, and head into your home. Your front door is locked tight, just like you left it, but something isn't right. Your living room window is open and your belongings are out of place. Someone was in your home. Window security wasn't on your mind until now.
It's scary and unsettling to discover that your home has been burglarized. It's also very common. An experienced burglar can sneak into your home and leave with cash, jewelry, and other small valuables within minutes.
An unlocked front door is an open invitation to a burglar. You know this and probably lock your door when you leave your home. Unlocked windows are an equally inviting entrance. Windows, however, are frequently overlooked by homeowners and residents as a way for burglars to get in. Home window security is a serious issue, but it is also an issue you can easily address.
Free ways to get started with home window security
The most obvious solution to home window security is to ensure that all of your windows are closed and locked whenever you leave. This doesn't just mean the first-floor windows. Basement windows offer easy access to burglars, and even second floor windows are easy to get into if there is a ladder or something nearby to stand on.
If you use a window unit air conditioner, secure it so it isn't easily removed. Most air conditioners can pop right in and out of windows, making this an easy entry point for a burglar. Install your air conditioner properly and fasten the air conditioner to the window itself with strong screws.
Draw your shades when you leave your home. If a burglar can't see inside, they're less likely to take a chance on breaking in. Just try to vary your patterns; if you close the curtains every time you leave, you are signaling to an observant criminal that you aren't home.
Get to know your neighbors. An active and aware community will do wonders to reduce burglary. You don't need an official neighborhood watch program to meet your neighbors and keep an eye out for each other. Bake some cookies and head next door to make friends.
Inexpensive home window security tips
Even if you don't have a dog, a couple "Beware of Dog" signs might be just enough to dissuade an intruder. If you wanted to take it a step further, you could get a sound or motion activated "dog" alarm. A barking dog (real or fake) will turn most potential thieves in the other direction.
Add motion-sensitive solar-powered lighting above your windows. The additional lighting helps eliminate hiding spots and also alerts you to movement near your windows.
Keep your lawn trimmed. An overgrown lawn gives the appearance that no one is home. Large bushes in front of windows offer cover for a burglar to scope out your property and wait for the right moment to attempt entry. The exception to this is thorny bushes and plants. Cactus, rose bushes, holly, and other similar flora are a natural deterrent to potential thieves.
Fake security cameras—as long as they appear realistic—discourage most crooks searching for an easy target. Make them easily visible but difficult to reach.
Home window security bars offer a high level of protection but can get expensive if you install very many. One extremely important note is that if you do install window security bars, make sure you have a quick-release mechanism. Bars may keep an intruder out, but they can also make your escape from a fire difficult or impossible if you can't open them easily from inside.
Premium home window security tips
A home security system is an excellent crime preventative. Prices can vary wildly depending on the type of system you get, but always include window sensors. If you do have a system, don't get complacent and forget to use it.
Many high-tech screens and glass covers offer protection and don't detract from the appearance of your home. They were originally designed to protect windows during hurricanes. Like window security bars, the safest of these steel mesh screens have quick-release mechanisms.
Bonus home security tips
Buy a few timers for your lights and television. Set them for random times whenever you are away. Turning lights off and on makes it look like someone is home and will act as a crime deterrent.
Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and take your trash in and out whenever you are away.
Invite someone to stay in your home while you are on vacation. Regular activity is a crime deterrent. An empty, quiet house gives an intruder all the time they could ask for.
Home security doesn't need to be complicated. A burglar wants to get in and out of your house quickly. Every step you take to make access difficult works in your favor.
Even the most prepared homeowners face unforeseen costs when it comes to disasters, emergencies, and repairs. Upgrade your homeowners policy to include a variety of extras for just pennies a day.
What steps would you add to this list? Do you have a simple tip to secure your windows or your home against a prowler? Let us know in the comment section.