Although many of us hoped that the pandemic would be over and forgotten by now, the latest data shows us that those hopes were dashed long ago. And while you probably have enough to worry about as it is, you’ll also need to protect yourself from harm unrelated to the novel coronavirus.

Tips to Improve Your Home's Security While You Shelter in Place

During the pandemic, internet crime — which involves the use of online communications that involve false or fraudulent consumer interactions — has been on the rise. But in-person crimes and tragedies can also take place, even as you stay home. Now that many of us are working or learning remotely and spending even more time inside, it makes sense that you’d want to start 2021 with a stronger sense of home security. With that in mind, here are some basic tips to follow to keep your home safe while you shelter in place.

Store Valuables in a Safe

You might never have considered using a safe to store your valuables before. And since you’re home more regularly now, you might think the risks of being burgled are a bit lower. But that doesn’t mean that criminals won’t target your home — and if you’re using expensive work electronics or are investing more in material things rather than memorable experiences, you might be unknowingly enticing theft. At the bare minimum, you should get used to hiding your valuable belongings. But it’s better to get yourself a fireproof safe that’s bolted to the wall. That way, even when things open up again, you can have peace of mind in knowing your most prized possessions won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Secure Your Property Line

It’s often a good idea to keep criminals off your property completely; that way, they won’t have a chance to check for vulnerabilities in and around your home itself. Solid wood fences can reduce wind flow by as much as 50%, but many fences can keep intruders out and encourage them to not go to the trouble of infiltrating your homestead. Keep in mind that while privacy fences and shrubs can help you feel more secluded, they can also give criminals more chances to hide. Consider trimming your shrubs and trees to reduce coverage for burglars and investing in some motion-sensor outdoor lights that will make criminals think twice. In general, it’s best to light up your property consistently to eliminate any dark areas that could provide concealment. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to install a security camera system, particularly in any areas you can’t readily see by looking out a window at night. That way, someone will always be watching.

Reinforce Your Windows and Garage

Windows and garages tend to be among the most vulnerable areas in a home. While you should always keep your windows locked, you should know that a locked window won’t deter criminals every time. Window pins, sensors, and safety glass are all options that can keep your windows usable yet protected. Window bars, although not the most attractive protective method in the world, can be great for first-floor bedrooms — though you’ll need to check with your municipality to ensure they’re allowed.

If you have a garage, you’ll also want to evaluate the protection it provides. While parking your car safely in the garage can prevent auto break-ins, keep in mind that the typical garage door is pretty weak and can be a common entry point for criminals. If you have an attached garage, always lock the interior door to your home. You may also want to get a reinforced garage door or set up an automated system that will close your garage door in case you forget to do so manually.

Don’t Forget About Home Alert Systems

Home alert systems can really help us stay safe while we shelter in place. Around one in 15 U.S. homes is estimated to have radon levels at or above the EPA action level, so you may want to get yourself a radon detector to use alongside your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Remember to test these systems regularly to ensure they’re working as they should.

Of course, you can’t forget about a home security system. Security systems are now more accessible than ever and are often pretty easy to install. You can even view footage on your phone, which makes surveillance all the more convenient. There are smart automation systems that can lock your doors or call for help on your behalf (in addition to setting your thermostat), as well. If you’d feel better having 24/7 monitoring, there are plenty of options that will give you the support you’re looking for.

Just because you’re spending more time at home, that doesn’t mean that criminals will be deterred. In order to keep yourself and your home safe, you’ll want to follow some of these security tips in 2021.