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7 Unusual Home Security Tips You Probably Didn’t Know


7 Unusual Home Security Tips You Probably Didn’t KnowWhether you’re an experienced home defense guru or a complete amateur, the best way to prepare against a burglary or home invasion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. But no matter how watchful you are, sometimes you have to sleep, and some thieves know how to get around the standard home security measures.

In case that happens, there are many unusual methods to protect your family and valuables–methods that don’t involve moving out of your 3-bedroom house and into a fortified castle.

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Here are 7 unusual home security tips you probably didn’t know.

1. Use Dowell Rods in Sliding Glass Door Tracks

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a home that doesn’t feature an aesthetically pleasing sliding glass door. They provide a great view and allow natural light to flood the house.

However, they’re not very secure. A well-prepared and knowledgeable burglar has ways of getting around the average sliding glass door. And if the door is improperly installed, they can easily lift it off the tracks, so be sure to check your sliding glass doors for baseline security.

The best way to secure a sliding glass door is to put a dowel rod or something similar on the tracks and lodge it between the door and the wall. If a burglar manages to unlock the sliding door, they still won’t be able to slide it open if a dowel rod is in the way.

2. Move Your Alarm Keypad

Installing a home security system is a fantastic way to deter potential burglars, but it’s not fool-proof. Most alarm pads are placed by common entrances, such as the front door or back door. This is done because it’s convenient and because you’re only allowed a brief amount of time before the alarm goes off and the authorities question you for living in your own home.

Because the front and back doors are such common places for a keypad, burglars know exactly where to look. An observant thief will scope out the place and watch the numbers you enter into the keypad. A would-be burglar can also glance through the window to see if you engaged the alarm system before leaving the house.

Be mindful of who might be able to view your keypad when you arm or disarm it, and move it somewhere out of sight. Or at least block the keypad when using it. Another option is to have multiple keypads, one by an entrance and one in the master bedroom in case of a suspected break-in when you need to act fast.

3. Use a Key Lock Box

Everybody knows someone who keeps their spare key in an extremely commonplace—under the mat, in the mailbox, under a potted plant, or in a fake rock, just to name a few. Don’t be that person. If you want to leave yourself a set of spare keys somewhere, install a key lockbox somewhere on your property–the kind realtors use.

Backup keys will be just a simple combination away, and only you will have access to them. Just like with your security system keypad, make sure nobody can see you enter the combination.

4. Use Mother Nature’s Help

Mother Nature has had eons of time to develop the perfect home defense system: thorns. Consider planting bushes, vines, or trees in areas you don’t want strangers access. For example, you could plant a thorny shrub underneath the windows of your bedrooms so no one can climb through them without getting torn up.

Some great examples of thorny bushes, vines, and trees are:

  • Many mesquite varieties
  • Honey Locust
  • Pyracantha (firethorn bush)
  • Climbing roses
  • Cats claw acacia
  • Oregon grape holly

5. Don’t Hide Valuables in the Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is one of the first places burglars look after entering a house. Master bedrooms are typically easy to access, which is part of the charm for burglars.

Take a quick inventory of what you keep in your master bedroom. Is there jewelry, electronics, cash, or credit cards? Anything of value that can easily be moved should be relocated to somewhere unexpected.

And what’s more unexpected than jewelry in the laundry room? Or an emergency fund stashed in your toddler’s bedroom? Few criminals would think to check for valuables in these places. Doing the unexpected can save you in the long run.

Avoid the more common hiding spots such as in CD or DVD cases, under mattresses, behind pictures, or in lightweight safes that can be easily be carried away. Some burglars might not give up until they find something valuable. In case of that, you could keep fake jewelry in a jewelry case by your bed. This would serve as a great decoy for any burglars.

Speaking of decoys…

6. Get a Decoy Safe

To start with, never store your valuables in a safe that is not high quality and hasn’t been bolted down. But if you really want to foil criminals, from clumsy robbers to Ocean’s-11-caliber operators, buy a small decoy safe to throw burglars off the scent as to where the real goods are.

Because burglars want to get in and out as fast as possible, they’ll be much more likely to run off with a decoy safe full of fake valuables and discontinue their search. Be sure to put the decoy safe somewhere easy to find and the real safe somewhere very difficult to find.

7. Keep Your Car Keys With You

Keep your keys on you during the day and by your bed while you sleep. Most car key fobs have a panic button nowadays. If you hear or see a burglar trying to get into your house, press the panic button. The last thing a burglar wants is to rob a noisy house that draws unwanted attention.

Better yet, also keep a garage door opener nearby. If you open the garage, it will make it easier for the neighbors to hear your car alarm. Just make sure the door leading into the house is locked.

Note: This only works in neighborhoods where the houses are very close together.

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  1. Jane Doe on January 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    I have two suggestions:

    1) There are edibles you can plant around your house that also have thorns. I live in a manufactured home so everything is on one floor, including the master bedroom, which has such ridiculously low-to-the-ground windows that 5’1″ me could easily step over the sill. I have old-fashioned blackberry canes planted along this side of the house complete with nasty thorns. The second bedroom, on the other side of the house, is barricaded by Sea Buckthorns, the males of which have even nastier thorns and the females yield a tiny citrus-type fruit that has medicinal uses.

    2) Back when I kept a valuable coin collection in the house, I used to store it in plastic bags from frozen vegetables. A bunch of coins in small, individual protective cardboard holders felt just like frozen spinach.

  2. Matrix on December 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Regarding sliding glass doors, most can be lifted out of track. Get some flat head wood screws and partially screw them into the header enough so the door can open & close. Then test lifting it.
    Also there are deadbolts for sliding glass doors. The existing locks are crap. Found one that is keyless. You have to slide the bolts up & down to operate it.

  3. Burt Silver on December 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I never thought about how dangerous it could be to have the alarm keypad close to the front or back doors. It makes sense to put it someplace that isn’t obvious, so a thief wouldn’t know to look there. That is good advice. My wife and I are moving into a new home and we want to make sure it is as safe as possible, so I will have to look into putting my alarm someplace out of the way.

  4. JJ on October 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I installed these in 5 minutes per door (I have 4)and feel safer now. I’m female! 🙂
    Door guardians from Amazon.


    Great for child safety.
    I’ve thought of securing all doors and leaving through the garage, but a power outage and we are screwed in that we can’t get inside till power is restored.
    But. I sleep better now.

  5. JJ on October 22, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Those used wooden mop handles are great for door jambers.
    Leave garage door open?? I have lots of things I don’t want stolen in a garage–that’s what a garage is for!!

  6. TPSnodgrass on October 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    For women and men, keep your keys, wallet, purse and cell phones WITH you in the bedroom, as opposed to their “usual place”, on the kitchen counter, etc. You WILL need them in an emergency, or, when your home is hit and you want to call for help.

  7. Richard on October 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Getting a decoy safe is a brilliant idea. Can’t believe I’ve never thought of that. Another clever thing to do is to have decoy security cameras outside your house. Obviously, having a monitored video surveillance system is ideal, but I bet a decoy camera works just as good (and a lot cheaper).

  8. Rachel on August 30, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Moving your alarm system is something I never thought about. Ours is situated close to a common entry, so maybe moving it would be a good idea for us. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    • William Krejci on September 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Then, after you move the real one. Replace it with a non functioning fake pad!
      Talk about frustrating the bad guys!
      They’ll waste so much time trying to figure out why they can’t get it to work till they finally give up and leave. Either that or they’ll figure they’re safe and be there too long getting caught by the cops.

  9. TPSnodgrass on August 26, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Wooden dowels in a window track, ONLY work, IF, the sliding window slides open with the window being on the “inside” of the glass panel that does not slide.
    Also, ALL sliding Windows easily LIFT out of their tracks, once unlocked. There are specific defense against lifting them off and out of their tracks so look them up and see what works best for you.

  10. Elmer on August 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I like this site but this article does not pass the “lame versing on the obvious” test. It would be more suitable for the Farmer’s Almanac and not a site trying to cater to urban survival.

  11. JR on August 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Using a realtor lock box seems more like advertising a key’s location than truly hiding it…any burglar will have a pair of snips/bolt cutters that will open that lock box like an egg

    • SP on August 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      The lock box we have is an actual small, hefty, metal BOX bolted to the wall (not the thing you hang on the door, with a hefty push-button front “door” that is inset into the box, about 3″ x 2″ x 2″, making it very difficult to get any sort of crowbar into. I’m sure you could eventually sledgehammer it open, but by then, I think I’ll have heard you bashing on it.

  12. Heartless on August 22, 2016 at 7:05 am

    on the security pad security section – as an IT/electronics professional – I’ve found often that one key to ‘hacking’ such a touchpad often boils down to the simple observation of dirt on the various keys. The heaviest/dirtiest is most always the first number, the next grimiest – the second and so on. Why? Each successive key press is cleaner due to simple deposition of normal daily grunge on one’s fingers. This ‘hack’ works best if 2 number entries are NOT the same number. Still, noting which numbers are the dirty ones almost always will show what numbers are used in the PIN code. In short – wash/keep the pads clean to prevent this simple trick.

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