Nearly 2 million burglaries are reported in the United States every year and only 17 percent of homeowners have a home security system. It’s highly recommended that you pick up a home security system in order to monitor your home for potential break-ins, but there are several things you can do to add an extra level of protection to your home. Here are 5 simple ways to prevent break-ins.

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    Lock Your Doors and Windows

    This is the simplest and most effective method, and hopefully, you’re doing this out of habit. High-quality door locks can be purchased at any department store for about the same price as a night out to the movies. If you have a deadbolt lock, that’s excellent. Aluminum window sills are dangerous because they can be easy to break into, so consider replacing those. Make sure to test your windows to be sure the locks are solid before leaving the house or going to bed. Some home security companies have developed tools that allow you to lock your doors remotely. All you need is a mobile device with a special app and the corresponding electronic locks. This way, if you leave for work or to go on vacation and you’ve forgotten to lock your doors, all you need to do is open up your app and tap a few buttons. It’s that simple. As long as you have internet access, you’re secure.

    Make Your House Look Lived In

    This mostly involves keeping tabs on your lights. The key to making your house looking lived in is to be realistic. If a burglar stalking your home notices that the living room light is still on at 3:00 in the morning, that may look a little suspicious. Doing things like keeping a porch light on during the night is a good idea, or maybe even a back porch light. Also, keep your blinds open or closed depending on what you usually have them. If you normally keep them open, but then you close them, this is a sign that you’re not home. This is another case where home automation can make this job a lot easier. Some advanced home security systems will have functions that allow you to turn lights on or off remotely or even set them on a timer if you’re away. This is especially helpful if you’re away for an extended period of time, such as a vacation.

    Install a Stronger Back Door

    Many houses come with a strong, attractive front door. A lot of homeowners might think this might be ideal for protecting against burglars and predators. Well, that’s not exactly the case. Burglars are actually much more likely to break in through your back door, and if you have a weak door made of cheap wood with an old, inexpensive lock, a burglar can have access to your home with one well-placed kick. It would be smart to get that replaced sooner rather than later.Go to your local department store and consult with an expert on what doors are best. Make sure to take the measurements of your door before you go, though. Most doors have standard sizes, but you don’t want to buy a door only to take it home and discover it’s the wrong size. Also, be sure to get a tough deadbolt lock to match. It won’t cost much more.

    Get A Dog

    Dogs aren’t a sure-fire way to ward off burglars, but it’s enough to make them think twice. For most burglars, a dog will make them pass up your home in pursuit of an easier target. That’s because dogs raise too many questions. Are they going to bark a lot and alert the sleeping family or neighbors? Are they friendly? If not, do I want to risk getting bitten? Because of these questions, most burglars will pass up your home from the get-go. If you’ve already got a dog, that’s great. Consider getting a “beware of dog” sign if you’d like to make it more obvious and put it somewhere that prowlers will be sure to see.

    Put Things In Front of Windows

    Make life as difficult as possible for burglars if they decide to climb through a window. Great objects you can put in front of a window could be tables and desks with plants or pictures. If a burglar has the chance to pull open a window and try to climb through, they have a stronger chance of passing up your home if they have an array of noisy obstacles to overcome before they can get inside. Most burglars will spend less than two minutes trying to ransack a house, so if they have to spend longer than this just getting inside, they’ll usually move along.

    The Extra Mile

    These steps are simple, but getting a dog or replacing a door might still cost a penny or two. If you’re planning on spending a few bucks to beef up your personal security habits, don’t rule out researching home security systems. Some systems cost much less than you may think, and many of these home automation features mentioned earlier are becoming more affordable. Take a look at top companies to see if any of their pricing plans fit your budget and needs.