DIY Home Security Hacks that Will Protect Your Family

Monica Gray - January 26, 2023

Everyone’s worst nightmare is a home invasion, and it happens every 30 seconds, equating to over 3,000 burglaries daily. To avoid becoming a statistic, it’s essential to install DIY security hacks that will protect you and your family. These hacks can also be a fun way to bond with your family. Burglars often live within two miles of their victims, take as little as 90 seconds, and are typically previous offenders who are males less than 25 years old. 34% of burglars use the front doorknob and 23% use first-floor open windows. Burglars also knock on doors before breaking in, look for homes with piled-up mail, trash in cans, and no security features. The key to home security is outsmarting burglars by being one step ahead of them.

Oddity Mall

Play Hide-And-Seek With Your Valuables

We don’t mean the actual game of hide-and-seek. You can create DIY hiding spots around your home that even the most experienced burglar won’t check. Burglars typically go for your bedroom and are less likely to check your kid’s room or bathroom. But there are other spots around the home that they’re never going to check. One place to store your valuables is to drill a small hole big enough to fit a tube into your door frame. Inside the tube, store your most expensive valuables and cash, like small jewelry and large sums of money. You can also make a floating shelf with a secret compartment on the bottom to store your valuables, or install a secret shelf behind a large piece of art. Places that seem to be right in the burglar’s face are usually the least likely places the burglar will check. We’ve actually compiled a handy list of DIYs to create hidden storage for your valuables. (DIYnCrafts).


Install A Security Camera

It may seem obvious, but a security camera is one of the only ways to catch the burglar in the act and provide solid evidence of a break-in. Cameras don’t lie. A security camera also works as a deterrent, since burglars are less likely to break in if they see a camera. Home security without a camera is equal to driving a car without a rearview mirror. To operate at your fullest potential, you can’t have one without the other. Security cameras are affordable, and you can purchase a ready-made system or create your own by simply using a webcam and computer. Installing a security camera makes your home 300% safer. They’re so effective because criminals don’t want to be watched. In New Jersey, there was a 50% drop in crime after officials installed cameras around the city of Orange County (ADT).


Fake Cameras Are Your Next Best Deterrent

As we mentioned, burglars are much less likely to rob a home with security cameras. But if you’re unable to install real security cameras, then a fake camera is your next best bet. While they’re not as good as real cameras, at the very least, they may deter some criminals. These cameras can appear incredibly realistic, and from a distance, burglars won’t realize they’re fake. To see if they’re fake, they’d have to get close to the camera, which a criminal most likely won’t do. However, these cameras may not be as effective against experienced criminals. Make sure no one sees you installing the fake cameras. While it’s more valuable to have actual security footage if a robber breaks into your home, this is quick, cheap, and easy in between while you’re waiting to install real ones (Corner Stone Protection).


That Extra Car Will Come In Handy

If you’ve ever felt like you had too many cars, think again. That second or third car might just be the reason a burglar avoids breaking into your house. It’s a home security hack that many people look over. Think about it. Whenever you see a car in someone’s driveway, what’s your first thought? Someone must be home! A survey of 86 inmates concluded that burglars would think twice if they saw a car in the driveway of someone’s home. It’s recommended to leave a car in the driveway, especially if you plan on being away for more than one day. If you’ve gone for a week or longer, we suggest asking a friend or neighbor to check on your home. That way, it gives burglars the illusion that the owners are coming and going from your house (KTVB).


Install A Sneaky Crime-Tracking App

Installing a security system in your home is one thing, but knowing where the crime is taking place is another. That’s like being one step ahead of the game. A crime-tracking app gives you crime stats and information right at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere. You can specify your neighborhood, and if there’s a nearby break-in, the app will notify you. While it’s important to install security hacks before the crime happens, knowing if an attempted break-in or burglary happened nearby can help you vamp up your home security to protect your family. Apps like SpotCrime, CrimeWatch, and Crime And Place are great security hacks you can easily install on your phone (Safewise).


Keep Your Car Keys Next To Your Pillow

This is one of the most obvious security hacks you probably never considered. By keeping your car keys next to your bed, you have immediate access to sounding your car alarm if you hear any strange noises from your garage, like a break-in. By pressing the car alarm panic button, you may scare away any potential intruders or thieves trying to break into your car or home. Not only will it give them a good scare, but it’ll catch them when they’re off guard, especially if it’s the middle of the night (Reolink).


That Peepin’ Peephole Is A Good Idea

The term Peeping Tom earned a bad name, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Installing a peephole in your front door is one of the easiest home security hacks you can do for yourself. Without opening the door, you can see who’s standing outside. This is especially important if someone knocks on your door after sunset. Even if it’s just a friendly neighbor stopping by to say hello, it’s always a good idea to check. This increases your safety and security. It’s considered the first, and last, the barrier between you and a potential intruder (Secure A View).


Eliminate Any Secret Hiding Spots You May Have Around Your Home

As much as your kids may love those large bushes and shrubs, they act as the perfect hiding spot for a criminal, just as they’re the perfect hiding spot for your kid. By trimming the bushes and trees, especially around your windows and doors, you’re eliminating any potential hiding spots. A great home security hack is replacing privacy fences or thick shrubbery with something you can see through. Burglars are less likely to try and break into a home where they’re seen from the street. A study by KGW8 said that “burglars suggest homeowners make their property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees.” No hiding spots, in combination with good lighting, is one way to deter a criminal (ADT).


Burglars Look For Loose Wires

Loose hanging wires are a burglar’s playground. This is where they gain access to your home and can easily cut off any alarm systems you have installed. If they cut the wire keeping your security camera or door alarm intact, then what’s stopping them? They figured out a way inside. Burglars look for wires first to cut off your power supply before anything else. They’re also very adept at working in the dark. Unlike most of us, who stumble into walls the second the lights go out. Make sure none of your wires are visible. Tuck them away, out of sight, so they’re not obvious to a burglar (Expert Security Tips).


Get Rid Of Tools And Ladders

If you’re one of those people who leave your tools and ladders lying around your property, then you’ve just made your home a burglar’s playground. All they have to do is hop on your fence, grab your ladder, and make their way into one of your open windows on the second floor. Place your tools and ladder in a locked tool shed or garage. If there are construction workers nearby who leave their tools out overnight, consider contacting them to put their tools in a secure place. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the harder it is for a burglar to break into your home (ADT).

Angie’s List

Fortify Those Doors And Windows

Home security requires secure doors and windows, so it’s especially important to make sure they’re as secure as possible. This is easily done. All you have to do is add deadbolts, reinforce the frame, or install window locks. Another DIY security hack you can do to fortify your doors and windows is to reinforce door jambs by using long screws to reach the frame studs. You can use a brace or jammer to reinforce the interior of your home, and add security pins to your locks. If you take a bit of time to install these simple hacks, those burglars won’t have any way of entering your home (Angi).

A Block Of Wood For Your Door

This is one of the cheapest, easiest DIY security hacks on this list. All you need is a piece of wood, which you can find in your backyard. Burglars love sliding glass doors. They’re easy to open, and many homeowners forget to lock them. Using a cheap 2 by 4, place it in between the closed door and frame on the sliding track. Even if the door is unlocked, the burglar will be unable to open the door. It’ll cost you under three bucks and may deter a burglar from entering your home. You can also add a security pin to prevent the burglar from easily removing the sliding door from the track. Apply the shatterproof film to prevent the burglar from smashing open the glass. While it’s unlikely they’ll do it to a large door, it’s still a possibility. Anything counts when it comes to home security (CPSS).


Dogs Are More Than Just Unconditional Love

Dogs may just be the ultimate home security hack. Specific types of dogs, like German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Bull Mastiffs are some of the best dog breeds to protect your home and deter burglars. Even though they may need extensive training to make them hostile and aggressive towards strangers, it’s an excellent way to protect you and your family. Imagine if it’s the middle of the night, and your dog starts barking and growling. They’re the first line of defense and may even protect your home before your alarm system. Dogs have incredible hearing and hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans, and recognize sounds four times further away. That burglar trying to hop your bushes? Your dog will hear them. Burglars are also less likely to break into a home with a dog in general, especially if it’s a big, loud dog. It’s the same for nosy neighbors. If your neighbors are poking their heads through the bushes to see who’s at your door, a burglar will not try to break into your home. If you’ve ever felt frustrated at your neighbor for trying to get into your business, you may want them around if a burglar is trying to break in (Starkey).


Stop Sharing Your Location On Social Media

People love sharing their whereabouts on Instagram and Facebook. You might be one of those people. Many of us also have our profiles set to public, which is just an open book for burglars. If someone is watching your house, then you’re showing them exactly when you’re home and when you’re not home. If the burglar is smart, they’ll keep tabs on your whereabouts. They’ll wait until an opportune moment when you’re on vacation or somewhere else for more than a few hours. While it’s fun to tell your friends and family where you are and share the amazing things you’re doing, it’s not a good idea. That’s why the term Latergram exists. You take the photo now but post it later. That’s the best way to fool a burglar and is one of the best home security hacks to keeping a burglar at bay (Expert Security Tips).


Turn Off Voicemail

You might be one of those people who have a cell phone and a house phone. If you’re away on vacation, turn off your voicemail. A burglar may get a hold of your number and call your house to see if anyone’s home. If they hear your phone go straight to voicemail, that might give them a clue that you haven’t been home in a while… and the chance to break into your house. To prevent this, you can turn down the volume on your ringer, turn off your answering machine, or have your calls forwarded. If your calls are forwarded to your cell phone, then a burglar can’t use that as a way to see if you’re home or not. You could answer any call, whether you’re in another state or country (Wikihow).


Get Creative With An Alarm System

One of the best home security hacks you can install is window and door alarms. Those pesky burglars who try and open a window will get a real surprise when a loud, blaring alarm goes off and starts warning your entire neighborhood about their attempted break-in. As we’ve mentioned, these alarms will alert you if someone unexpectedly tries to open a window or door. Use this for windows and doors not easily visible from the rest of your house. Another way to make a door alarm is to connect a door contact to a smoke detector. To do this, find a magnet door contact, open a smoke detector, and use a cable wire to the contact areas in the smoke detector. When someone tries to break into your home, the alarm will go off. It’s always better to be one step ahead of the game than behind. Outsmarting a burglar and predicting their moves is half of your home security (Mr. Rogers Windows).


Decoys Aren’t Just For Enemies

Using a decoy to fool a burglar is a fun and thrilling way to secure your home. Home security doesn’t have to be monotonous or boring, and the more creative you get, the more fun it’ll be. You could hide a fake key under your front door mat so the burglar spends time trying to use that to open the door than picking the lock. You can also use a fake safe to fend off a burglar, and throw some cheap jewelry and coins so the thief thinks he made a successful robbery. That way, he’ll stop looking for your other valuable items. Time is a huge part of a burglar’s tactics. Keep an actual safe somewhere else in your home with your real valuables. Burglars usually check the bedroom first. Keep the safe in your kid’s bedroom or bathroom to throw the burglar off, since it’s unlikely they’ll check those places (Expert Security Tips).


Get Smart With Smart Lightbulbs

Smart lightbulbs allow you to control them, even when you’re not home. Technology nowadays is impressive, in that you can explore a European city and activate your lights at home to make it look like you’re in your kitchen. You can also program them to a set schedule, so they turn on at 8 PM every evening and off at 6 AM every morning, though this isn’t the best tactic. That way, it’s very easy to make your home look occupied. But leaving the lights on isn’t the only way to deter a criminal. If a criminal watch your house for a few days, they can predict when the smart lightbulbs will turn on. Using these lightbulbs in addition to many other tactics is the best way to deter crime. Most break-ins occur during the daytime, from 10 AM to 3 PM, because that’s when most people are at work. A lightbulb won’t help during the day. The key to a successful lightbulb deterrent is to make it look natural and not on a timer, which is why accessing lights through an app is the best way to deter a burglar (ADT).

Family Handyman

Prevent Theft By Pick-Proofing Your Dead Bolt

Watch any YouTube video and you’ll become a master lock picker. Even if you’re an amateur thief, it’s simple to pick a lock with the right tools. Even though most of us will never even try to pick a lock, amateur thieves surely will, and they might even practice on your home. Home security involves pick-proofing deadbolts. This is another way to deter a thief from entering your home. It’s simple. Install a deadbolt protection device. This slides a lock over the handle of the deadbolt, which keeps thieves from turning it if they do manage to pick it open (Family Handyman).


Use A Video Doorbell For A Sneak Peak

One of the best ways to know who’s at your door is to use a video doorbell, as we mentioned above. This is different from a smart lock, which lets you control who’s allowed to enter your home. With a video doorbell, you can see who is at your door. Using an app on your phone, you can unlock it remotely. But if it’s someone you don’t recognize, who looks like they’re trying to pick your lock, you can immediately notify the police. You can also monitor packages at your doorstep, which is especially important during the holidays when package theft is more likely to occur (Expert Security Tips).


Protect Your Home WiFi As Well

It doesn’t take a lot of skill for a hacker to enter someone’s unprotected WiFi network. While you may wonder why it’s important to protect your WiFi network, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s just as important as protecting your home. Even if you went through all the trouble to install smart lightbulbs, an alarm system, and security cameras, if a hacker has access to your WiFi network, you’re in a bad place. They can access your private information and use that to monitor your home and control Wi-Fi-connected devices. This includes your cameras and security alarm system. If they have access to your alarm system, they can easily turn it off when you’re not home, break-in, and leave without a trace. Always use a strong WiFi password and never share it with anyone (Oberer Homes).


Use Fake Signs To Make Burglars Question Their Next Move

Burglars don’t have time on their hands. They have to act fast and think of the easiest possible way to break into a home. The riskier your house looks, the less likely they are to break in. If the next house looks a lot less risky, the burglar will choose that home. While that’s bad news from your neighbor, at least you’re protecting your family. One of the best home security hacks to prevent a burglary is to use security signs around your home, even if they’re fake. They’re cheap to purchase, and the tradeoff is worth it. There’s one catch, though. Since fake security signs can’t use the name of a real home security provider, they use a fake one. It’s unlikely a novice burglar will be well-versed in the names of real security providers. But an experienced burglar will have studied and done his homework. While installing a real security system and using real signs is the best way to keep your home safe, using fake signs is your next best option and will prevent some burglars from entering your home. It’s a good tactic if you’re in the process of installing a real security system (Home Alarm Report).