Security is one aspect of our homes that we should never overlook. Instead, home security is something that we need to constantly evaluate and improve upon. There’s always an opportunity to improve the security of our homes; we just need to know where to look.

Here are some common mistakes that homeowners commit when it comes to home security, as well as some tips to make sure your home is always secure and your family is always safe.

1. Hiding a Spare Key Outside

This should go without saying, but you should never leave a spare key outside your home. Experienced burglars will know all the common hiding places, so just avoid it altogether.

If you absolutely need a backup plan to enter your home, consider giving a spare key to a trusted neighbor or purchasing smart door locks, which will allow you to remotely open your door, even if you can’t find your keys.

2. Leaving Doors and Windows Unlocked

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many instances where you may forget to close and lock your doors or windows. For example, during a hot summer, you may decide to leave a few windows cracked while you’re out of the house. Or if you’re in a hurry, you might leave the house without locking the deadbolt.

Leaving your doors and windows unlocked is an open invitation to burglars, so always double-check them before leaving the house. If you decide to get smart locks, you can also use your smartphone to make sure your doors are locked while you’re away.

3. Not Securing Your Garage Door

In addition to doors and windows, your garage is one of the most vulnerable areas of your home.

Most garage doors are electronically controlled by universal remotes, and a burglar can easily open these types of garage doors with their own modified remote. Burglars will also look for garage-door openers in cars, smash the windows and use the remote to gain access. On top of that, many garage doors also have an emergency release lever, which can be unlocked in just a few seconds by a savvy thief.

To protect your property, never leave your garage-door opener in plain sight, and always secure your garage with a heavy-duty padlock or an automated garage-door lock, which will automatically lock your garage as soon as it closes.

4. Having Poor Outdoor Lighting

A burglar wants to get in and out of your house as quickly and covertly as possible. Because of this, a home with a dark front or back yard will be their preferred target.

Make sure there are no blind spots on the outside of your home. Get a light for your front porch that stays on all night, and place motion-activated floodlights around your property.

Ring recently launched the new Floodlight Cam, the world’s first and only HD security camera with built-in floodlights, a siren alarm and two-way audio. Floodlight Cam streams 1080HD video and comes with two 3K lumens LED floodlights, and it starts recording and turns on the lights as soon as it detects motion. Pre-order your Floodlight Cam today.

5. Providing Hiding Spots for Burglars

Thick shrubbery and tall plants are great ways to provide some extra privacy for you and your home. Unfortunately, they also provide great hiding spots for burglars lurking in your yard.

If your entire front yard is visible from the street, a burglar will most likely think twice before trying to break-in. If it’s possible, be sure to keep the plants in your yard trimmed, and use accent lights and floodlights to expose dark areas.

6. Keeping a Ladder in Your Yard

If you live in a home with multiple stories, make sure the windows on the upper floors are always locked, and store your ladder in a locked garage or toolshed.

Leaving a ladder in your yard makes it easy for burglars to access your upper floors. And if it’s during the day, most neighbors would simply think that a contractor is working on your home and never consider it suspicious.

7. Making It Obvious That You’re Not at Home

One of the most effective ways to prevent a burglary is by making it seem like you’re at home – even when you’re away.

For example, with Ring Video Doorbell, you can answer the door from anywhere, and see, hear and speak to anyone at your door from your smartphone. By answering the door in real time, you can send the illusion that you’re at home, no matter where you are. Click here to get your Ring Video Doorbell today.

For more tips on making it seem like you’re at home while you’re away, check out our article on how to secure your home before leaving for vacation.

8. Posting Your Plans on Social Media

You should never be too trustworthy of your “friends” on social media. There are countless horror stories of people announcing their plans online and getting robbed by people in their social networks, so you should always err on the side of caution.

Wait until you return from your trip or event before talking about it on social media, and if you absolutely need to share your plans, do it with a private group of people you can trust.

9. Having No Security Visible Outside

Savvy burglars will know of all the latest security devices, and they’ll avoid homes if they know that they have effective security solutions in place. Sometimes, even just a security sign can deter a burglar from breaking in, so get your devices set up, and make sure burglars know that your home is protected.

Some homeowners will try to save money by mounting fake security cameras around the house, but experienced burglars will know all about the fake and ineffective devices you can buy. Home security is something you should never short-change, but there are ways to save money on effective home security solutions.

Instead of a traditional alarm system, which can cost up to a few thousand dollars a year to maintain, you can create your own DIY security system that’s easy to install and maintain on your own. For example, with a Home Security Kit from Ring, you can get a Video Doorbell for your door and Stick Up Cams for around the house, and you can monitor your entire property from one simple dashboard in the free Ring app.

10. Relying Only on Traditional Security Systems

Unfortunately, most traditional security systems are reactive solutions that don’t really prevent crime. In other words, most traditional alarms will let you know when a burglary occurred, but there is little that you can do to actually stop the crime from taking place.

With smart, Wi-Fi connected security devices, you’ll always have home security at your fingertips, and you can respond to and prevent suspicious activity as it happens.

By implementing the tips above and equipping your home with the latest home security technology, you can rest easier and get peace of mind for you and your family. For more home security tips, see our article on ways to prevent a home break-in.