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Getting the keys to your first home is a rewarding experience unlike any other. It is a significant milestone everyone should be proud of. However, keeping your home protected is something all new homeowners must do, no matter how challenging or overwhelming it seems. Want to prevent burglaries and break-ins? You’ve got to put the right safety measures in place. Here are some handy home security tips to take note of as you settle into your new home.

Let Me Be Your Armor

According to FBI data, burglaries of residential properties account for 62.8 percent of all burglary offenses. If you have yet to implement any security measures to your property, what are you waiting for? Do not hesitate; a home requires its own suit of armor.

Firstly, a good home security system is one of the best forms of deterrence money can buy. Statistics show that homes without security systems are 300 percent more likely to be burglarized. Do-it-yourself security systems allow for customizable features without breaking the bank, but going down the professional route is an investment worth considering. A comprehensive security system should be equipped with all the works—visible security cameras, motion detectors, and lighting.

Alarms are a key feature in every home security system. One of the best ways to detect unannounced guests or even wild animals that wander onto your property is by installing a driveway alarm system. These alarms rely on heat and motion sensors, and will work regardless of the size of your property. A study on the habits and motivations of burglars found that 83 percent would look for the presence of alarms before attempting a burglary; 60 percent would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site. Better bring on the sirens!

As you look for the most appropriate security system for your home, another thing you should do is to get your locks changed. Someone may have a set of spare keys to your property—it’s best not to take the risk. The weak, low quality screws of exterior doors should also be replaced with heavy duty strike plates and screws that go deep into the frame. Oh, and a deadbolt. Digital smart locks are another option for those more tech-savvy.

Want an extra layer of protection? Security window films or laminated glass are your best bet. They make glass doors and windows harder to smash and help lessen any impact. Not only do they deter intruders, they also help to protect you and your loved ones from broken glass caused by accidents or even natural disasters.

Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

Even after beefing up your home with security and other physical deterrences, there are plenty of other simple yet effective preventative measures you can take. For instance, you should always, always keep all exterior doors and windows locked at the relevant times. A garage is another easy way for intruders to gain access to your home. Ensure that both the garage and the interior door leading from the garage to your home is locked when not in use.

Never leave keys in so-called secret hiding places, like under the doormat or in a potted plant. Burglars and intruders are smarter than you think. If you must have spare keys outside your home, seek safer and more discreet alternatives like a concealed combination lockbox stashed in a location away from prying eyes.

Do not leave your trash out in the open, especially after purchasing expensive items such as laptops or game consoles. Cut up any boxes with visible brand names or logos, and put them into opaque trash bags. Also, do not leave valuables, or electronics in full view of onlookers or potential intruders who may be “window shopping”, looking for the perfect opportunity to swoop in for the steal. Even better, install blinds or privacy films. No one needs any previews.

As a new homeowner, familiarizing yourself with the environment and getting to know your neighbors is a must. Living in a neighborhood with a low crime rate is one thing, but the possibility of intruders scouting potential targets to hit is another. Aside from giving you a rundown on the usual happenings, neighbors can also help to collect your mail or packages and keep an eye on the property if you are out of the house for extended periods of time. Make sure to keep up with local news and stay vigilant at all times. Look out for one another; small acts like this go a long way.

At the end of the day, personal safety is of utmost importance and cannot be compromised. None of us want to become victims of a burglary or home invasion. This is why taking the right home security measures will ensure that your home remains a safe space for you and your loved ones, giving everyone peace of mind.