10 Ways to Stop Criminals from Choosing Your Home

Here are ten creative ways to deter burglars from targeting your home and prevent a break-in. Learn how to keep you and your family safe all year round.


Break-ins happen all the time. If someone wants to break into a house, they can probably find a way to make it happen. While home security systems have been proven to deter burglars, they aren’t guaranteed to stop a bad guy in their tracks. Since there is no sure-fire way to keep your home from danger or damage once it has been selected as the target, the best course of action is to take preventative measures to ensure your home is not singled out. Below is a list of ten ways to stop criminals from choosing your home.

Keep in mind that the main goal is to keep your home from being targeted. Trust us, prevention is always better than dealing with the aftermath of a home break-in. So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Home Security Tips

We’ve tested and reviewed the most popular doorbell cameras, home security systems, you name it. These systems certainly help to deter burglars and home invaders, but there are other home security tips to keep in mind. These security tips and tricks are easy to implement, and you’ll get peace of mind from day one. And it starts with lighting!

Lighting Is Everything

Ring Floodlight Cam Night Vision

Ring Floodlight Cam Night Vision

The first and most important deterrent is bright lighting. When criminals are casing potential target locations, they look for dark places that look empty and are difficult to see at dusk or in the dark. A well-lit yard allows your home to be visible to neighbors and people passing by. So we recommend leaving a few interior lights on while you are gone to create the illusion that someone is home and to keep criminals from targeting your home. You might also want to look into a spotlight camera. We recently got hands-on experience with the Ring Spotlight, and that’s always a good choice for surveillance plus lighting.

Avoid an Empty Appearance

As mentioned above, it is important to keep your home from appearing empty. As well as leaving a light on inside, you should also leave a TV on or turn on the radio while you plan to be away. Giving the impression that there is movement inside is a great way to deter burglars and looky-loos.

We also recommend that you have a plan for your mail if you plan on being away from home for an extended period. If it becomes visible or obvious that you have not collected packages or newspapers, your house might become an easy target. Leaving packages on your doorstep will also entice porch pirates or package thieves who are up to no good.

Do Not Showcase Valuables

Another thing that you need to consider is the visibility or accessibility of your expensive or large items. This is especially important to remember when tidying up the yard. Often, expensive items such as a new grill, a parked riding mower, or a nice car that is parked visibly near the home will attract burglars. If they see that there is something expensive in the yard or near the home, they will assume that high-ticket items can be found inside as well.

Did You Know: Leaving fancy items in your yard, like a brand new lawnmower, is not only vulnerable to theft, it also tells burglars that more expensive items might be found inside your home.

Keep Your Keys With You

A lot of people think that keeping a hidden key is a safe and handy way of having a spare key in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, this is not such a great idea. The reality is that criminals are aware of this practice and will often search for a hidden key before attempting another way into your home. It is also common for burglars to watch the activity around the homes they are casing. If they are watching your home to see whether or not it is a house that they want to break into, they may notice the key and exactly where you have placed it.

Make Entry Difficult

This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of small details that can make your house appear to be a good target. These can include thin or poorly secured windows, doors with cheap door locks, or easily opened garage doors. These things can, however, can easily be fixed. You should make sure you have thick windows with visibly locked latches, new doorknobs and deadbolts (or better yet, smart locks), and secured garage doors. If an entry looks like an easy access point, it probably is.

Vivint - Smart Door Lock

Vivint – Smart Door Lock

Cover Your Windows

Closing your blinds and curtains is important as well. You’ll need to make sure potential intruders do not have a clear view into your house that could expose any of your belongings or hint at the fact that you are away. If a criminal has no incentive to break into your house, he or she will likely choose a new target.

Eliminate Blind Spots

A lot of people fail to consider how important it is to keep their house visible from the road and the yards of neighbors. If a burglar can easily hide from passers-by behind bushes, appliances, or fences, he or she may feel confident about targeting your home. If, however, there is nowhere for a burglar to hide, they will be less likely to hang around.

Unruly trees and shrubs are common items that can create blind spots or hiding spots. So we suggest keeping your trees and bushes trimmed to eliminate the blind spots they might create.

Beef Up Your Doors

Thick and stately doors can also be a great deterrent. If you have strike plates on your doors and your doors look like they are a challenge to break through, burglars will have less confidence about the speed with which they can enter your home. If it appears that it would take a long time to enter your home, they will likely not want to remain visible for a long enough time to break in.

Pro Tip: If you have panes of glass on your doors, make sure they are secure and that they do not allow a visual line of sight into the home. It is also a good idea to place a deadbolt or other locking mechanism on your door where it cannot be reached through a window.

Keep Your Yard Free of Tall Objects

Live Video of the Vivint Doorbell

Live Video of the Vivint Doorbell

Having objects such as ladders, trees, or large appliances near the house can be an invitation for burglars to climb to a high window or the roof to find a better point of entry. They can also provide cover behind which a potential intruder could hide. A better idea is to keep tall items locked away and to trim trees in a way that would make them difficult to climb. You should also rid your yard of objects such as large rocks or other heavy items that could easily be thrown into windows.

Keep Your Garage Closed

Don, the Vivint Installation Technician, installing our Smart Garage Door Opener

Don, the Vivint Installation Technician, installing our Smart Garage Door Opener

This is another no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how often people leave their garage doors cracked open, unlocked, or raised. Always make sure there is no possible way for an intruder to enter your garage. If your garage is left in a compromised state, it is easy for an intruder to enter it and close the door to remain hidden while he or she figures out a way to break in. Even if a burglar finds it difficult to enter your home from the garage, you risk having tools or other expensive items being stolen when your garage is left unprotected.

We recommend looking into Vivint and other smart home security systems — as these brands often sell remote garage door controllers and garage sensors. In fact, we recently tested and reviewed Vivint smart home security system with their garage opener, and it gave us a little extra peace of mind.

Make a Plan

Although these deterrents are proven to work well in keeping potential burglars from entering your home, it is always a good idea to meet with your neighbors before leaving your home for an extended period. Be sure to have a plan ready if they do notice a break-in. Ask them to call authorities first, then notify you.

Another important aspect of your planning should include the safe-keeping of the valuables in the home. The days of hiding things in the floorboards are over. The best way to keep jewelry, guns, cash, and other valuables safe is to keep them in a large safe that is bolted to the ground or into the wall.

There are also home security systems that you can monitor from your phone, laptop, or desktop computer. The whole idea is that you feel that your home, its contents, and your family are safe from harm.

Home Security Systems

In addition to doing the things listed above to avoid break-ins, if you do not currently have a home security system, you should consider getting one. Having a home security system will not only act as a deterrent, but it will also alert you and the authorities of any incidents.

SimpliSafe Equipment

SimpliSafe Equipment

There are some pretty neat features available with some home security systems. One of the features to look for is the capacity for magnetic sensors that can be installed on the windows. You should also make sure the home security system is easy to maintain and easy to use. User-friendliness should be paramount. If you want to learn more, head on over to our top-rated home security systems guide.

You should not wait to secure your home with a home security system. Your peace of mind and the safety of your loved ones, belongings, and your home are too important to put off.

How to Protect Your Home from Invasion

Home invasion can be financially and mentally devastating. The FBI estimates a burglary occurs every 13 seconds, and in 2019, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) collectively suffered almost $16 billion in losses.

But numbers only tell part of the story. We also know that the emotional impact of home invasion goes far beyond loss of money or belongings; we’re also left feeling unsettled and frightened in our own home, a place we once felt safe.

Though crime has largely decreased in many communities in the U.S. over the past 15 years, that’s certainly not an excuse to let your guard down. Here at SafeHome.org, we routinely test and review hundreds of products and services to help you make your home security experience, and while we’ve seen a few lemons here and there, the bottom line is this: Simply installing a deadbolt lock on your front door isn’t going to be enough.

FYI: Check out our latest report on Property Crime in the U.S. We interview retired Burglary Detective Travis Goodreau to get his expert insight into the mind of a burglar. You’ll also find the latest trends and data concerning all things property crime in America.

Nowadays, we have several tools at our disposal to start securing our home right away, whether that’s picking up a couple of cameras and motion sensors, adding smart lighting and locks, or simply posting a “Beware of Dog” sign. Technology has paved the way for many of these advances, but some of them, we think you’ll find, are just common sense.

All that said, our #1 tip for protecting yourself from home invasion is to set up a professionally monitored home security system. That way, if someone does gain entry, the police won’t be far behind.

We hope this guide helps you to safeguard yourself and your home against burglaries and home invasions. Trust us, it’s worth the little extra effort upfront to sleep with peace of mind, knowing you have active crime deterrents in place.