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Home Security Resources

2021 Home Security Checklist

Few things are as important to people as their home. The home is a special place filled with family, memories, possessions, and everything we cherish in our lives. This is why homeowners should do everything they can to ensure their home is protected and secure from intruders, fire, and other emergencies. The experts at Modernize looked into the top home security needs in 2021, including indoor and outdoor security. We compiled this home security checklist to help you better protect your family and belongings. Our list is broken down into a few main categories for ease of use, beginning with your home’s exterior.

home-security-checklist

Table of Contents

Exterior Home Security

1. Properly light your home’s exterior

First of all, be sure to add lighting to your home’s exterior areas. A poorly lit yard, driveway, or walkway can be inviting to burglars who seek out an opportunity to conceal their actions.

Inspect the area around your home and take steps to maximize lighting by replacing light bulbs, installing flood lights, placing path lights along walkways, and installing smart lighting systems that can be controlled on personal devices or by motion.

2. Trim landscaping along windows and doors

Shrubs, bushes, and trees that conceal windows might add a sense of privacy to your home, but they also provide an area for burglars to conceal themselves from street visibility. A best practice is to keep these landscape features below window frames to offer curb appeal, while also discouraging intruders.

3. Move valuables from window views

When possible, do not allow valuables to be seen within a direct window’s view. Placing expensive items, like TVs or computers, in plain sight can entice intruders who might try to steal these valuable items. The same goes for items that might be placed on a table or shelf near a window or door. Try to move these things away from street-facing windows. You can also install features like top-down bottom-up shades that will allow light to come in and not unwanted eyes.

4. Ensure house address is visible

Many homeowners overlook the importance of a visible house number when it comes to home security. A home’s street address can become faded, obstructed by vegetation, or damaged in extreme weather conditions over time. Make sure to ensure your home number is visible from the street, so that you can help first responders should emergency strike.

Window and Door Security

1. Inspect windows and exterior doors for damage

Windows and doors are a prime entry point for burglars and should be inspected for damage regularly to prevent easy access.

If you discover signs that your windows or doors need to be repaired or replaced, there are plenty of options available to provide better security and create peace of mind. Consider advanced locks and sturdy door materials, as well as impact-resistant and high-security windows to prevent break-ins.

2. Ensure sliding glass doors have proper locks

Sliding glass doors can be an inviting target for intruders. They are not as secure as traditional doors and homeowners often leave them unlocked. Outfitting these doors with a secondary locking mechanism, dowels, improved security bars or other advanced locking mechanisms can provide added security.

3. Inspect and use window locks

Windows are a common point of break-in entry, as they are frequently left unlocked or outfitted with old, damaged locks.

Inspect your window locks regularly for signs of damage. Upgrade to more secure locks when necessary. Finally, always be sure to keep windows locked when not in use or away from your home.

4. Install a wide-angle peephole

Wide-angle peepholes differ from their traditional counterparts by allowing homeowners to view a larger area of their front porch or patio. This can allow residents to better see who is knocking or lingering outside the home, and whether or not they appear to be carrying anything suspicious.

5. Check all locks and entry points nightly

Before going to bed or leaving your home, ensure all windows and doors are properly locked. This also includes mail slots, pet doors, and garage doors that intruders may take advantage of. Additionally, make sure any valuables, such as jewelry or firearms, are kept away in a safe or other protected place.

Vacation Preparation

1. Arrange for incoming mail while on vacation

An overflowing mailbox is a telltale sign that a homeowner is on vacation or away for work. When leaving your home for an extended period of time, arrange to have the post office hold your mail, or coordinate with a neighbor, friend, or relative to retrieve your received mail on a regular basis.

2. Use light timers when traveling

Many homeowners have a tendency to turn on exterior lights while away. This is certainly a great tactic to deter burglars at night. However, exterior lighting that shines all day, for days on end, can serve as an indicator that a homeowner is away.

Install timers on your lighting systems that can be set to turn on and off at specific times during the day. Many timers can also be controlled and monitored remotely from smart devices for better peace of mind.

Other Home Security Considerations

1. Install a home security system

From doorbell cameras, to motion lighting, to alarm sensors, to smart fire detectors, and more—home security systems have become a staple in most households in recent years, and for a good reason. These systems are affordable ways to protect your home and family, and can often be controlled using smart devices. 

2. Check smoke detectors and fire extinguisher(s)

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that all homes have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

Smoke detectors should be tested at least monthly, and batteries should be replaced one-to-two times each year. Every 10 years, the whole system should be replaced. You should also invest in a quality home fire extinguisher and conduct regular testing based on the type and size.

3. Keep valuables stored securely

Most homeowners know they should keep valuables in a secured location, but sometimes we forget. Mistakes happen, but you should always do your best to keep valuables such as jewelry, identification, credit/debit cards, important documents, and other important or expensive items in a locked safe. This is even more important when it comes to firearms or other concealed weapons—which should always be stored unloaded, in a locked rack or safe.

4. Have an emergency plan

Last but not least for our home security checklist is an emergency plan. While we may hope for and expect the best in every scenario, it’s still important to have a plan in place for emergencies. Whether it’s a fire escape plan, storm safe room, a quick exit path in case of an intruder, or a nearby meetup location, having a family emergency plan can help protect your family in the rare instance disaster strikes. 


The pros at Modernize can connect you with trusted, local contractors to assist with your home security needs. From updated windows and doors, to smart security systems that will keep your family and belongings safe.

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