Whether you live in a small studio apartment or a fully equipped smart home, you have to think about home security. Technology may have brought us a lot of creative home security solutions, but it has also helped burglars develop better strategies.
Now, even though burglaries in the US have dropped significantly, they still happen in large numbers.
So, let’s talk about the most common home security mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Hiding keys outside
Ah yes, the infamous “key under the doormat” mistake. That’s the first place burglars and thieves are going to check, which is why you should drop this habit.
Some people think they’re clever if they leave their key on the window near the door, plant pots, or even in the mailbox. No matter how logical and practical this may seem, please avoid leaving keys outside. You don’t want to make things easier for burglars, right?
2. Not having enough light
Your home surroundings should be properly lit. Thieves will avoid well-lit areas because it puts them at a higher risk of getting caught. Also, well-lit areas will make it easier for surrounding cameras to catch the perpetrators if they do anything.
You don’t need to have lights on 24/7. There are different solutions out there. You can get a timed light for your yard so you don’t have to break the bank with the electricity bills. Another great solution is lighting with motion sensors. They turn on only when motion is detected and save electricity as well.
However, if you live in an area with a lot of animals, you might get a lot of false alarms.
3. Leaving your home network unlocked
Keeping tight home security must involve the cybersecurity aspect, especially if you have a smart home and IoT devices.
One of the biggest security points you need to cover is your WiFi network. Yes, it feels great to have an open network for your visitors to join, but it is a gigantic risk. An open WiFi means that unwanted guests can (and will) join your network, oftentimes without you even realizing it.
The best cure for this is to use encryption! Virtually all modern devices that require an internet connection have some sort of encryption as a security measure. Use your internet router’s settings page and set up WPA encryption and a strong WiFi password.
If your devices can handle it, go with WPA3 encryption. If they can’t, WPA2 will suffice.
4. Not maintaining your home surroundings
Any security specialist will tell you to keep your front yard and backyard tidy and clean. Messy yards leave a lot of places to hide and wait, so all large bushes and piles of stuff need to go.
While it is good to have your views obscured from the outside, try not to plant trees and decorative bushes near your doors and windows. If you combine a clean yard with some well-integrated yard lighting, you’ll be on your way to a much safer home.
5. Using fake or mismatching home security gear
Speaking of technology – a large number of people set up a dummy security system, thinking that it’ll be enough to scare perpetrators away. Well, not only is this an invitation to any burglar with a bit of experience, it often costs A LOT to put up fake cameras.
It’s never a good idea to use fake security measures. It simply doesn’t work as well as we’d like – perpetrators can recognize fake security gear.
Another security-gear-related mistake people often make is – combining devices from different systems. Home security (especially for smart homes) is expensive and people buy it in pieces. This often leads to installing gear that doesn’t work well together. Make sure to double-check the compatibility before you buy.
6. Ignoring security updates and maintenance
Lastly, we must touch upon the topic of maintenance. Despite the fact that it’s done once or twice a year, people still somehow manage to skip it. Smart homes and homes with a bunch of IoT devices need regular software updates. Vital security patches are carried through updates, so make sure not to skip on any.
Now, on the hardware side of things – make sure to keep lighting in order, as well as all your locking mechanisms. Depending on your location, you can most likely call a specialist to check on your home’s weak security spots.
We all make mistakes
If you discovered a security slip up – it’s ok. As long as you’re proactive in installing, maintaining, and updating your home security systems, you’ll most likely be fine.
To stay safe, don’t leave your keys outside, provide enough outdoor lighting, encrypt your network, and update regularly!