Home Safety and Security Tips: Exteriors

As children our homes provided a sense of security, demonstrated by TV shows such as Leave it to Beaver and The Brady Bunch: home was where we were safe and protected from the dangers and uncertainties of the outside world.

We want to give our own families that same sense of security, but today’s reality sends a different message, again reinforced by TV shows like Criminal Minds or CSI: our home is a fortress that we must protect and defend from potential predators. Residential security is a priority in today’s world.

Protecting your home and family is your #1 concern. Following are some exterior home safety and security tips that can provide your home with real security benefits, and not merely a false sense of security. Next month we’ll provide some interior home safety and security tips… including online safety tips!

Exterior Home Safety and Security Tips

1. Lighting

  • Good lighting is a deterrent to crime. It not only makes your home safer for you and your family, but also forces an intruder to work in an area where he may be exposed and reported to the police.
  • Put lighting in areas that cannot be easily reached by an intruder and light all entry doors and carports or garages.
  • Motion detectors provide lighting when it’s most needed: when someone is moving in the immediate area.

2. Landscaping

  • Trim shrubbery and trees so doors and windows are visible to neighbors and from the street.
  • Prune trees so they can’t help an intruder climb to second story windows.
  • Plants near sidewalks, driveways, and doors or gates should be less than 2 feet high.
  • Plants under windows should not reach above the window sill.
  • Trees should be trimmed so that lower branches are more than 6 feet off the ground.
  • Plant thorny bushes along fences and under windows to discourage intruders.

3. Doors

  • Doors are an intruder’s easiest entry into a home. Burglars often enter a residence through an unlocked door, or simply break the door or a side window and reach in and unlock the door. A sturdy storm door with a lock is necessary if you want to keep your door open to let sunshine or fresh air in your home.
  • Exterior doors should be constructed of solid core wood or steel, and should fit their frames tightly, with no more than 1/8 inch clearance between the door and the doorframe.
  • Entry doors should have a wide-angle peephole to permit occupants to see visitors without opening the door.

4. Locks

  • When you buy your new home, change your locks: you don’t know who has copies of the door keys.
  • Deadbolt and chain locks provide good protection for an entry door.
  • Deadbolt throws should be at least 2 inches in length.  We recommend a 3 inch “throw”.
  • Strike plates should be attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least 3 inches in length.
  • The lock cylinder should have a steel guard around the key section.
  • Spare keys should be left with trusted neighbors or well-hidden. Do you have a spare key hidden under the flower pot next to the front door? First place we’d look…
  • If you have a keypad entry to your home, be creative in choosing your entry code: your house number is not a good idea. Teach your children that this code is a family secret: not to be shared with all their best friends.
  • If you have a keypad entry to your home, be creative in choosing your entry code: your house number is not a good idea. Teach your children that this code is a family secret: not to be shared with all their best friends.

5. Misc

  • Large prominently displayed house numbers will make it easier for emergency responders to find your home.
  • Do not display your last name on or inside your mailbox: why make it easier for criminals to target you?
  • After holidays or birthdays don’t leave empty electronics, jewelry or equipment boxes on the curb prominently advertising your new purchases to thieves searching for a home to target.
  • Are your trash cans always at the curb on pick-up day? If they’re not there, you’re advertising you’re not home. Ask a helpful neighbor to bring your cans to the curb – even if they’re empty – and back again.


At Security Dynamics Corp our #1 priority is your safety. Contact us for a free quote on home safety and security measures we provide to protect your family and home.

We can help keep your community safe with our Chicago neighborhood security services.  Our team of off-duty police officers has years of experience and training.

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