Lock Down Hidden Home Security Weaknesses

Amanda Bell
Written by Amanda Bell
Updated October 25, 2016
garage doors with windows
Windows along the top of garage doors may look nice, but they allow potential thieves to see what you have stored inside. (Photo courtesy of ©Thinkstock)

From garage doors to storage sheds, learn how you may be leaving your home vulnerable to a break-in.

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Convenience or curb appeal may drive many of the upgrades you make to your home. But some features may pose more of a risk to home security than you might think.

For example, that pet door that lets Fido in and out all day? If installed improperly, a thief could use it to access your home. Keep burglars at bay by identifying these hidden home vulnerabilities and correcting them with simple, inexpensive fixes.

Windows in garage doors

Why it’s a risk: Windows along the top panel of a garage door may look nice, but they offer an invitation for aspiring thieves to take inventory of your possessions without entering your home.

Make it safer: Replace your garage door with one that doesn’t have a window, or have your garage windows frosted. As an added safety measure, make sure exterior lights near the garage doors function properly (and don’t forget to turn them on at night).

Exterior pet doors

Why it’s a risk: Pet doors offer convenient exterior access for your pet … but the wrong product or installation can create a point of access for unwelcome guests, including thieves, to your home.

Make it safer: Choose a quality door and have a professional install it. Experts say locking doors with one- or two-way locking latches or electronic doors for larger pets installed in an out-of-reach location, like basement windows, provide the best security.

wooden shed in yard
An unsecured storage shed can provide an arsenal of break-in implements for a would-be burglar. Keep storage sheds locked up, especially if they contain tools. (Photo courtesy of ©Thinkstock)

Unsecured storage sheds

Why it’s a risk: Storage sheds can provide excellent storage for large tools, including ladders, saws and more. But if you leave the storage shed unlocked, these implements can provide the perfect arsenal for burglars to break into your home.

Make it safer: Keep your storage shed locked when not in use, if you must keep tools there. If you can, consider storing tools and trash bins, which burglars could also use to smash in a window, in the garage or another locked enclosure. Installing an alarm is another option.

Hidden house keys

Why it’s a risk: Under a rock, lawn ornament or doormat — if you’re like most homeowners, you have a  “hidden” house key somewhere outside your home. Savvy burglars know to look in these common hiding spots and will use your key if they find it.

Make it safer: Give your house keys to a trusted neighbor instead. Also consider installing a deadbolt with an electric keypad that offers the option of using a code instead of a key to unlock the door. Just make sure to change the access code regularly so the numbers don’t wear down on the keypad, giving thieves a clue about what to press.

Private packaging

Before putting packaging for pricey products on the curb for trash pickup, turn the boxes inside out to avoid making your home a target.

Valuables in plain sight

Why it’s a risk: Is there a flat screen visible from the front window, or a Monet hanging in your entryway? Do you routinely leave wallets, car keys or mobile devices on your hall table? All it takes is a peek for a thief to see you’ve got some loot they’d want to pick up. 

Make it safer: If you have expensive items in plain sight from the curb, consider a minor redesign. Open your curtains and blinds and see what’s visible from the exterior, then move those valuable items out of the line of sight.

What other precautions can you take to make your house more secure? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. 

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