Home security requires a multi-pronged approach to best keep intruders out and inspire feelings of safety for residents. The different steps can be hard to track. Both long-term and short-term habits typically combine to create a safe home environment: installing home security systems, keeping thick blinds or curtains on the windows, and using light-timers to make it appear as though someone is always home are just a few examples.

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While you’re likely interested in improving the security of your home in a general sense, it can be difficult to know exactly what next step to take. Below, we’ve compiled on a guide on some nightly habits you can build into your routine to make sure your home is secure before you make your way to bed.

Lock Up And Key Safety

The first and most obvious step in a nightly home security routine is to lock all your doors. Remember to check back doors, side doors and garage doors to make sure all are left secure. It’s a good idea to also make sure all applicable doors have deadbolts, which make it more difficult for intruders to break in with simple methods.

After you lock your doors, you should also make sure you’re storing your keys with the best safety practices. Don’t leave them in close proximity to doggy doors that would allow someone to slip their hand in and grab them to gain entry. You can also consider storing your car keys in Faraday sleeves to prevent carjackers from intercepting the electronic signal and gaining access to your car (also known as relay attacks) while you sleep upstairs unaware.

If you have a security system installed, make sure it is enabled each night so that all door sensors are primed to trigger alarms should they be crossed.

Consider Smart Locks

To take your key and lock security one step further, you might consider installing smart locks. These can only be unlocked through electronic code, making break-ins all the more difficult. If you have these installed, then this step in your routine should include making sure they are appropriately set with their passcodes. It’s not a bad idea, however, to leave a traditional lock on at least one of your doors — this safeguards against potential smart lock issues.

Collect Packages

Uncollected mail and packages can invite burglaries who are interested in the contents of the packages themselves or take the sight of the uncollected mail as a sign that you are not home, increasing your home’s appeal for a break-in. Make sure before you turn your house over for the night that all packages are safely inside the home (or have a neighbor do this for you if you’re out of town).

Don’t Neglect Windows

Speaking of windows, you should also make sure to lock these alternative entrances to your home each night. Make sure your screens are untorn and in good condition. If you have an electronic security system, it’s a good idea to include window sensors that will trigger your alarm should they become compromised.

Consider Visibility

Another important element to consider regarding windows is visibility of valuables. You should keep anything that might draw the eye of a burglar away from window sightlines. One way to do this efficiently is to have opaque curtains or blinds that you close each night. You should also consider using shrubbery to block external views into your home through your windows. (Thorny bushes can also disincentivize burglarizing for more physical reasons.)

[Here’s how to use Defensive Landscaping to protect your home.]

Use Your Safe

Aside from keeping your valuables out of sight, you can take further precautions to keep them in particularly safe locations. Some recommend bringing them up with you to your bedroom so they are near your person. Another option is to use your safe. You may typically only use it for sensitive items like passports or computer back-ups. But you could also use it (or another second safe, potentially one specifically designed against burglaries) to store your laptops, tablets, jewelery, etc. each night. This step is pretty extreme, but if someone does gain access to your home, your valuables still remain behind lock and key.

Use Strategic Outdoor Lighting

Each night, turn on outdoor lighting that would allow any intruders approaching your home to be easily recognized. This serves as a deterrent from your home being targeted in the first place.

You can also use an automatic light timer throughout your week to have lights go on and off periodically so any intruders watching your home cannot discern a pattern of when someone is home, out, awake or asleep.

Keep Security Cameras Visible

To close out the list, you can consider a couple more longterm options that will work solidly in tandem with your nightly routine. If you make the decision to install a security camera, try putting it in an obviously visible place. This allows anyone considering intruding on your home to see that it is being protected by video, and is therefore not a good target. You can also consider placing a Beware of Dog sign in your front and backyards to serve as a similar deterrent.

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Home security is an ever-developing field, especially as new technological advancements continue to change the game. To increase feelings of security in your residence, start by incorporating some of the above practices into a nightly routine.

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