A home security checklist can be a useful tool for determining where you’re at regarding home safety. It’s great to invest in a home security system, but there are plenty of other opportunities to strengthen your home security that you might not have thought of before. Below, we’ve organized categories into basic things anybody can do, intermediate measures that will strengthen your home considerably, and advanced features that will give you all the bells and whistles to make your home an automated fortress.

Basic

  • Window locks
  • Deadbolt door locks
  • Doors made of dense wood or metal
  • Trimmed bushes
  • Motion-activated floodlights
  • Home security yard sign

When it comes to the basics, a lot of it is stuff you might already have. A lot of doors come standard with a deadbolt lock installed, but if not, installing one is a must. Window locks should also come standard on all windows. Have these locked when you’re not home, even on second- or third-floor levels where you think a burglar won’t reach. If a burglar knows you’ll be gone for a while, there’s nothing stopping them from bringing a ladder to break into your home.

Make sure your doors are made of sturdy material. Most people have doors (especially a backdoor) that have been weathered over the course of years or sometimes decades. If that’s the case, it’s time to replace it. A flimsy door can easily be kicked in, especially if it doesn’t feature a deadbolt lock as mentioned before. Trimmed bushes are also important because tall bushes provide burglars a place to hide as they case your home or run from an alarm.

Two extra precautions that will make a big difference are motion-activated floodlights and a home security sign. Floodlights will automatically turn on when their infrared sensors detect motion, which can make some burglars think that someone is home watching. Place these above your garage door or by your front porch. A home security yard sign–even a fake one–can tell potential threats that your home is monitored, but naturally, it’s better to get an actual home security system.

Intermediate

  • HD security cameras
  • Door sensors
  • Window sensors

Most of these features are standard in a basic home security system. Any home security company worth their salt will offer security cameras that can record at 720p with some options that can record at 1080p. Depending on the seller, you can check the live feed one a smartphone app or on a secure website.

If you put the camera in an obvious place, such as your front or back porch by a door, burglars will be more apt to stay away.

As for door and window sensors, these are wireless devices that are attached to your door or window sill. These devices operate with two plastic pieces that are placed next to each other and communicate an alarm whenever the pieces are pulled apart. Naturally, these pieces are pulled apart whenever a window or door is opened, and the alarm will only sound if the system is armed at the time. A lot of home security systems will have more advanced features as listed below.

Advanced

  • Remote locking doors
  • Remote lights
  • Remote garage door control
  • HD security video cloud storage
  • Smoke and fire monitoring

These get into smart home features that help you regulate your home even when you’re away. Remote locking doors are helpful when you leave the home and forget to twist your deadbolts. Through a handy smartphone app, you can command your door to lock even if you’re halfway around the world. All you need is internet access. Remote lights and remote garage door control also work the same way. With remote lights, you can also regulate your lights to turn on and off whenever you please, creating the illusion that someone is home. This will turn burglars away in pursuit of an easier target.

HD cloud storage has also become more helpful when you happen to experience a break-in, despite your precautions. If you’ve enabled cloud storage from your HD video cameras, which usually costs an extra fee, you can send the video files to your local police department and that will help them identify the perpetrator. You can access these files online through the providers of the home security cameras. Make sure to check with your home security provider if this feature is available.

Advanced home security features will also have smoke and fire monitoring, which will dispatch emergency responders in the event that your home catches fire and you’re not around.