Moving into a new home can be a whirlwind of excitement and stress. Between packing, unpacking and moving things around, it can be easy to overlook the security of your new place and belongings.
Unfortunately, thieves see moving vans as a great indicator that you’re new to the area. You’re likely distracted with your move and your home security measures may be lacking or temporarily on hold. Keep prowling eyes at bay with these six simple home security steps you can take to stop burglars from targeting your brand new home.
1. Check and change your locks
If you are moving into a home with previous owners, it’s a good idea to get your locks changed. The prior occupants may have been forthcoming with their old keys, so you don’t know who else may have a forgotten spare.
When moving into a brand new home with no previous owners, double-check the state of your 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 spare keys weren’t collected.
Changing your locks doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of replacing every single lock in your new home, just get your locks rekeyed. A locksmith can come to your home and change the locks so they can only be opened by a new set of keys. This cost-effective solution allows you the option of unlocking every lock with one key instead of carrying around a full keychain.
2. Install a home security system
If your new home already has a security system, be sure it’s checked out by a professional for faulty sensors, battery operation and overall performance quality. Delete old passcodes from previous owners 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 and their monitoring features can be excellent deterrents for would-be thieves.
3. Ensure your home is well lit
Outdoor motion sensor lights are another one of the good security steps to consider. The last thing any thief wants is a big, bright spotlight on their illegal activity. Place sensors along the darkest parts of your yard and in areas that are difficult to view from the street. When something triggers the motion sensor, a light will illuminate the surrounding area and whoever may be hiding there.
Security lighting can be relatively cheap, however, homeowners looking to spend less should at least consider investing in security lighting around the 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.
4. 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.
What do burglars steal?
Protecting your home from thieves can be as simple as removing commonly stolen items from a stranger’s line of view. Here are a few things that are typically on every thief’s radar:
- Prescription drugs and OTC medication
Typically, anything that’s lightweight and of value is top priority for criminals looking to loot your belongings, so it’s smart to keep those items locked away in a safe or well-hidden area of the house. Also, remember to close your blinds and curtains at night or when you’re away to shield your possessions from curious eyes.
The things you put inside your home aren’t all that thieves are eyeing. Even the empty boxes to your brand-new 4K TV or MacBook Air that you’ve put outside near the trash bins can also be great signals to thieves that yours is the house to target.
5. 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 steps. They 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, which is a lot safer than trying to hide one somewhere around your yard.
6. 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 crime patterns and can offer tailored advice for your area. They can walk through your home and recommend simple, cost-effective changes to tighten up your home’s security.
For instance, if your new home has entry points that can easily be compromised, a professional should be able to pinpoint them and offer a more secure solution.
Moving to a new home is a big and overwhelming occasion, but by optimizing your home security system and taking a few precautions, you can enjoy your new place with the peace of mind you and your family deserve.
Originally published 05/14/2016. Last updated 08/20/2019.