Moving into a new home can be a whirlwind of excitement and stress.
With all the packing, unpacking and moving things around it can be easy to overlook the security of your new home and belongings.
Unfortunately, thieves see moving vans as a great indicator that you’re new to the area, that you’ll likely be distracted with your move, and that your home security may be lacking or temporarily on hold.
But don’t panic – here are seven simple home security measures you can take in your new home to stop thieves in their tracks.
1. Change your locks
All of the main entrances to your home, such as your front and back door, should have a secure deadbolt and ideally a double cylinder deadbolt. Check all windows and skylights, and make sure that they’re all locked as well. Replace any weak or broken locks that you discover immediately.
If you are moving into a home with previous owners, it may be a good idea to get your locks changed. Although the previous owners may have given you their old keys, you don’t know who else may have a spare that’s been forgotten.
When moving into a brand new home with no previous owners, it is always a good idea to double check the state of your new home’s current locks and whether those same locks were used by contractors or tradesmen during the construction process. If so, you’ll want to change these, just in case all of the spare keys weren’t collected.
Changing your locks doesn’t have to be expensive.
Instead of replacing every single lock in your new home, you can just get your locks rekeyed. A locksmith can come to your home and change the locks so they can only be open by a different set of keys. This is far cheaper and easier than replacing every single lock in your new home. It also allows you to have all locks to be opened by one key, so you aren’t carrying around a keychain with half a dozen keys.
2. Replace your main entrance doors
Ideally, your front and back door should be made of solid wood or metal, with a peephole to see who is on the other side. Doors with windows or flimsy wooden doors can easily be kicked or smashed in.
3. Install a security system
If your new home already has a security system, make sure you get it checked out by a professional. You’ll want to make sure that all the sensors are working, the battery is charging properly and that the security system is working as planned.
Delete old passcodes and select a new security pin that’s easy for you to remember but difficult for thieves to guess. If you don’t have a security system in your new home, consider getting one installed. Security systems are an excellent deterrent for would-be thieves.
4. Ensure your home is well lit
Motion sensor lights are another excellent deterrent to consider, as the last thing a thief wants is a spotlight on their illegal activity.
When something triggers the motion sensor, a light will be triggered illuminating the area.
Although security lighting can be relatively cheap, smart homeowners should install security lighting at your front and back doors. Ideally, you’ll want to illuminate all entrances to your home as well as any potential hiding places on your property.
5. Don’t show off your valuables
When you move, try to reduce the time that your valuables are visible to people on the street. Potential thieves often scope out a place to determine if there’s anything worth stealing and are more likely to break in once something of value is spotted.
The empty boxes to your brand new 4K TV or MacBook Air that you’ve put in the outdoor trash collection area can also be great signals to thieves that yours is the house to target. Also, remember to close blinds and curtains at night or when you’re away to shield your possessions from curious eyes.
6. Get to know your new neighbors
It’s always a good idea to develop a great relationship with your neighbors, especially when it comes to home security.
Your neighbors can help keep an eye on your home and alert you of any suspicious behavior. If you’re someone who consistently locks themselves out, your neighbor will be able to hold on to a spare key for those occasions. This is a lot safer than hiding a spare key somewhere around your yard.
7. Get a security audit of your home
Check with your local police department to see if they offer complimentary home security inspections. If not, most locksmiths will be able to help. Police and locksmiths are up to date with local patterns in crime and can offer tailored advice for your area. They can walk through your home and recommend any simple, cost-effective changes to tighten up your home’s security.
Moving to a new home is a big occasion. By optimizing your home security system and protecting your home from intruders, you can have peace of mind knowing that you and your family are safe.
Originally published 5/14/16. Last updated 1/13/19.