Homeowner content is free. We may earn a commission when you click links through our site. Advertiser Disclosure

Is your home protected? Adding a home security system with security cameras, a smart lock at each door entry point, and motion sensors to your home is an excellent way to stop a potential intruder from accessing your home when you’re there or away.

Get A FREE Home Security Quote Now

However, there are still several home security mistakes you could make if you’re not aware of their potential repercussions, and they might put your home at risk.

  1. Hiding a Spare Key Outside Your Home
  2. Not Being Mindful of Your Trash
  3. Maintaining Hiding Spots Around Your Home
  4. Not Updating Your Smart Home Security System Regularly
  5. Not Keeping Valuable Items Out of Sight
  6. Installing Static Lights Rather Than Motion Sensor Lights
  7. Keeping the Garage Door or Windows Unlocked
  8. Not Having a Reliable Neighbor System
  9. Not Thinking About Landscaping
  10. Displaying Security System Signs Outside
  11. Not Being Careful About What You Post
  12. Letting Your Home Look Vacant

Did you know that a burglary happens about every 15 seconds in the United States? While many of these are likely the result of not having enough home security or commercial security in place, some of them can also stem from homeowners making common home security mistakes that leave their homes vulnerable to intruders.

Criminals are aware of each common home security mistake and use their knowledge as opportunities to breach security services.

Even with the best home security system in place, squatter insurance added to your homeowners insurance, and smart locks added to all your doors, your home and valuables could still be in the line of sight for a burglary.

Home Security Mistakes

Consider these home security mistakes you might be making and how you can fix them to keep your home more secure.

1. Hiding a Spare Key Outside Your Home

The biggest mistake many individuals make is leaving a spare key to their home somewhere outside. You might do this just in case you lock yourself out of your home so you can always get back in. Or, you might leave a spare key outside when you’re on vacation so your neighbor can look after your pets.

🔑 Always give a spare key to a trusted person rather than hiding it outside, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

Although the reasons for hiding a spare key might be valid, this mistake is a significant one that puts your home at risk.

If an intruder knows the common places to look, they could find your key and enter your home without any trouble. Make sure whoever needs a spare key to your home has a copy rather than hiding one. If you get locked out of your home, you can always use a locksmith service. Your home or auto insurance may even include coverage for locksmith services.

2. Not Being Mindful of Your Trash

When it’s trash day, you might have to leave cardboard packaging outside waiting to get picked up. If the packaging doesn’t display what was inside, this isn’t a problem. However, large packages that housed TVs, gaming systems, audio equipment, and other high-value items provide advertising to others that you probably have whatever was inside the package inside your home.

Instead of sticking those packages out with your trash, cut them down, bundle them up, and take cardboard to your local recycling center. If you don’t have one close, secure the pieces of cardboard in a black trash bag to leave out with your trash.

3. Maintaining Hiding Spots Around Your Home

Although adding trees, shrubs, and fencing around your home can give you more privacy, these privacy elements also make excellent hiding spots for intruders, which can affect your home’s security. Thieves can easily take advantage of large shrubs that outline the front of your home or tall fencing around your backyard to use as a place to hide until they’ve found the right moment to enter your home.

Consider shorter shrubs and fencing that don’t give as much opportunity for someone to hide. If you don’t want to give up your privacy fencing, be sure to add home security cameras around your fenced area to allow you to see all angles inside and outside of the fencing.

4. Not Updating Your Smart Home Security System Regularly

Technology needs to be updated routinely to work its best, and your smart home security system is no exception. Smart door locks, security cameras, motion detectors, video doorbells, and similar products all run on a central technology system that needs to be updated and maintained to prevent security threats.

By missing just one required update for your system, you could make your home vulnerable. Security updates prevent hackers from gaining access control. Updates also keep your devices running smoothly, ensuring that they work reliably when you need them most.

Software updates vary by company and system. Find information for your specific system via your connected app or the company’s website.

5. Not Keeping Valuable Items Out of Sight

Anything valuable in your home should not be in plain view from the outside. This includes anything you use every day that you don’t automatically think of as valuable, like light fixtures or your television. Keep your first-floor windows properly covered or valuable items tucked away from immediate sight through a window to keep them out of an intruder’s viewpoint. Store valuables that don’t need to be on display, like jewelry or firearms, in a locked safe.

💎 Store valuable items out of sight from windows to avoid attracting attention from outside observers.

Don’t forget to secure your security alarm system keypad out of view, too. When you install it, keep it out of any window’s line of sight, like behind a door or near a mudroom closet, so that a potential intruder can’t spot where it is before even stepping foot into your home.

6. Installing Static Lights Rather Than Motion Sensor Lights

Lights that remain on outside at all times might help you feel better as they brighten up a dark backyard or driveway. However, static lights don’t offer the same security as motion sensor lights, which only turn on when they detect movement.

Think about this: If a burglar is familiar with your home, they’ll know you always have your outside lights on and can determine a workaround, like finding the best hiding spots around your home where your lights may not reach as well. However, motion sensor lights are less predictable, therefore helping deter potential thieves who try to lurk around your home.

7. Keeping the Garage Door or Windows Unlocked

Locking any door leading to the outside of your home, even if it’s on a second-floor balcony, is an excellent way to boost your home’s security. But keeping your doors locked isn’t enough, as criminals will often seek other easy access points to make their way into your home.

🚪 Always lock all access points, including garage doors and windows, to prevent easy entry for intruders.

Be diligent about locking anything that provides entry into your home, like the garage door, windows, or even a fence outlining your yard. A back porch door can also be easy to forget to lock. If you need help remembering to lock all doors and windows, consider buying smart locks. You can check your smart locks using an app and lock any that you might have forgotten via the app, even if you’re away from home.

8. Not Having a Reliable Neighbor System

One of the best home security tips to keep in your back pocket is to have at least one trusted neighbor who you can rely on to help you look after your home. Even better: Develop a network of trustworthy neighbors who help each other out and offer additional sets of eyes on one another’s homes and properties.

When you’ll be away from home for a few days, let your trusted neighbors know so they can keep an eye on your home when you’re gone and alert you if they see anything suspicious.

9. Not Thinking About Landscaping

Many homeowners want to have a beautiful landscape around their home without thinking too much about anything besides its aesthetic. Although its looks are a top priority, the right landscaping may also help deter thieves and increase home safety.

Consider the areas where intruders can walk up to your home, like the yard space directly outside of porches and windows. Grass is silent to walk on, not allowing you to hear if someone is nearby. On the other hand, placing a noisier material here, like gravel rocks, can alert you if someone is walking around your home.

10. Not Being Careful About What You Post

It’s natural to want to share what you’re doing when you’re having fun away from home, but posting your whereabouts on social media is an easy way to alert others that you aren’t home. When you leave for vacation or even on a day trip, wait until you get back to share your adventures in a public setting like social media.

11. Letting Your Home Look Vacant

Avoid letting mail pile up or landscaping get out of hand if you need to be away from your home for an extended period. An unkempt home can make it obvious that no one’s currently occupying it or checking on it.

📬 Manage mail and upkeep appearances to avoid the impression of a vacant home during extended absences.

Ask a trusted neighbor, family member, or friend to keep an eye on things while you’re gone. If needed, pause mail and package deliveries. Also, consider contracting a landscaping company to visit weekly until you return to mow or trim bushes.

12. Displaying Security System Signs Outside

If you buy a security system from the best home security companies, they’ll probably offer you a sign to place by your door showing that your home is protected. These signs may scare off a potential burglar, but they could also have the opposite effect for more seasoned intruders.

If a potential intruder knows how to access control systems for security systems from your security company, they could find your home an easy target now that you’ve advertised what company you have. Consider using a sign from a different company or more generic signs that don’t name a company to show that your home is protected without giving away your system details.

Remember That Home Security is About More Than Potential Burglars

Although keeping a home safe from potential intruders is usually the first thing that comes to mind when talking about home security, other things, like fires and weather, also play a role. It’s easy to make home security mistakes in these areas, too, but protecting your home against them is equally important.

Keeping your home in good repair is the best thing you can do to protect it against damage. Do a thorough roof inspection annually, upgrade electricity and plumbing if you live in an older home, and make sure tree branches are trimmed back away from your home. Also, anchor down anything that can blow away in a windstorm, like porch furniture or a trampoline.

Ask your homeowners insurance company for a home security checklist. Many have one available for homeowners to use as a guide for ongoing home protection.