Home Security Ideas For Creating A Layered Defense Strategy

You may think a break-in will never happen to you, as people often do, but you’d be ill-advised not to take any additional steps towards preventing one before it’s too late!

Even if you live in a zip code that has a low burglary rate, it’s better to be safe than sorry- as the saying goes. A burglary can not only affect your personal finances and safety, but it can also intrude on your peace of mind. 

You may feel less secure after you’ve experienced a break-in. The lingering psychological effects of getting robbed, on top of the property losses, can be very hard to recover from.

Statistics may tell you when and how most burglaries occur, but they- alone- won’t prevent you from becoming a statistic yourself! 

However, having preventative steps in place to help you ward off would-be thieves in advance will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a target. 

There are many ways that you can make your home and family more secure- no matter if you live in an apartment, a single-family home, or a large metropolis. 

Your home should be the place you feel most secure and the best way to make it secure is to follow the layered defense strategy outlined in this article.

In this article, we will:

  • Showcase some affordable security ideas for the home that you can do yourself
  • Break down the 3 layers of defense to fortify your home from potential intruders
  • Interject some best practices from our many years of experience
  • Show you the most effective security products to incorporate into your home defense system

Security Ideas For Home Defense

If you’ve read any of our articles covering gun safes, you might have heard us mention our multi-layer defense philosophy that goes hand-in-hand with strategically placing a gun safe in the home.

Many of the best security ideas for your home are budget-friendly solutions that will add additional layers of protection that complement your living space, as the recommendations in this article will demonstrate.

A quick-access gun safe is a good first step in securing a firearm away from unauthorized users while granting you quick access to those guns while you’re at home.

*The safe below is a great example that we highly recommend to our friends, family, and readers alike.

Slide Out Drawer

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Gun Safe Tips

But, what about those times when you’re not at home? How much time will your gun safe buy you if a determined thief breaks in and finds it?

A lot of this will depend upon the burglary rating of the safe and the money invested in a gun safe with higher security ratings.

Most burglars are opportunists of the smash-and-grab variety who aren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to break into a safe (5-10 minutes max in most cases).

If they do happen to find your safe, they’ll likely try to take it off the property so they can break into it at their leisure.

That’s why it’s imperative to thoroughly anchor any gun safe you own to the wall or floor (or both) to prevent an easy lift and steal.

Heavier safes that weigh over 200 pounds will make removal highly unlikely, so burglars will often try to tip the safe on its side so they can gain enough leverage to try a pry bar attack.

Again, this is why bolting down a gun safe is so important! Another weak spot on most safes is their sides since they are typically made out of thinner gauge steel.

Chances are, a burglar won’t bother to bring a bulky cut-off wheel to a home robbery unless they already know a large safe is in the house (most thieves expect to find the more commonly available small safe models).

They may try to find tools to help them achieve the task once inside so don’t keep cut-off wheels or electric drills in plain sight.

Find a place in your garage to hide any tools that a thief could use to break into your safe.

Gun safes are only one part of a multi-layered defense system that should buy you a few precious minutes to deal with the threat until the police arrive- as well as make it harder to steal your guns when you’re away.

A gun safe’s main priorities are to:

  1. Keep your guns out of the hands of unauthorized users (i.e. minors, guests, etc.)
  2. Make it harder for would-be thieves to steal your guns.
  3. Provide a safe environment to store and protect your guns from corrosion and fire (if fire-rated).
  4. Give you quick access to your guns in a home defense situation.

On top of owning a gun safe, there should be additional layers added to your home’s defense that will greatly diminish the success rate of a thief attempting to break into your house.

The goal is not so much to prevent but to deter and decrease your odds of becoming a target in the first place!

Once implemented, these easy-to-implement security ideas for your home will help reduce how much time thieves will have to muck around inside your house should they manage to break in.

Cheap Ways to Secure Your Home

There are many affordable ways to secure your home that become exponentially more effective when added together as part of a layered defense strategy.

Cheap” doesn’t always imply a “poor quality” product (which should be avoided!) but refers to products that propose to solve a problem without costing a lot while also adding a lot of value in return.

Like most important things in life, you should aim to invest as much time and money as is necessary.

The steps you take to secure your home, in an attempt to prepare for a worst-case scenario, is a thought process that requires your full attention.

You should also consider putting most of your investment dollars towards things like security cameras, safes, or a panic room (if you’ve got the extra space and budget).

So, let’s get into what these additional layers of defense are, and how to implement them to give your property the best chance of thwarting a burglary.

Starting with the 1st layer of defense: The Perimeter

#1: Securing The Perimeter

If you live in a house with a front and back yard, then having security spotlights installed all around the property in various locations- such as a pole or high up on a tree trunk- is KEY to removing the cover of night that attracts thieves to your property like moths to a flame.

Don’t make your home an easy target!

Solar-powered flood lights provide a strong, motion-activated light source that is a cheap and easy way to solve your security lighting problems.

Most models are budget-friendly and low maintenance- thanks to advancements in solar-powered LED technology that guarantees a longer lifespan.

2-Pack Security Lights

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Implementing this first layer of defense- alone– will deter a vast majority of thieves from labeling your property an “easy target”.

Let’s not forget that most of these security ideas for your home primarily serve as a deterrent, while also buying you time to enact your emergency SHTF plans– in the event the thieves are determined to break in.

A Word of Caution: In some instances, a criminal’s intent may be more nefarious than just to rob you, but even these more malevolent types of attacks can be greatly reduced with enough deterrents in place!

The more deterrents you employ, the better your chances of not becoming a target in the first place.

Another layer of defense for the perimeter around your yard will depend upon whether or not your property has a fence or gate.

If you happen to live in a gated community with a security guard who never sleeps on the job, that’s a great layer of defense to start with.

For neighborhoods without such a luxury in place, fences and gates alone are usually not enough to keep would-be thieves off of your property (unless they are unusually high or electrified).

However, when used in conjunction with motion-activated floodlights, they can be quite effective as an additional layer of defense.

Most properties (especially larger ones) can benefit from the placement of solar-powered proximity sensors strategically mounted around the perimeter, or any other key areas of your property.

These can send alerts to a wireless receiver inside your house when tripped.

Supports Up To 8 Sensors

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You can set the sensitivity to prevent them from being tripped too easily. These are great for giving you an early warning while at home and will buy you the most time possible to investigate or prepare for whatever threat may present itself.

Another layer of perimeter defense is outdoor security cameras. There are many camera surveillance systems available from wired to wireless options, each system having its own unique advantages and feature set.

The larger your property, the more cameras you will likely need to cover all your bases. It’s a good idea to have several cameras strategically placed to cover every angle of your property and prevent any blind spots from occurring.

The price of high-definition security cameras with night vision capability has gone down considerably with decreasing manufacturing costs of microchips, camera lenses, and sensors.

One of the best-rated systems (shown below) comes with 4 WiFi HD security cameras and a box receiver that has 1 terabyte of storage for a very reasonable price!

1 Terabyte of Storage

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There has never been a better time to buy one of these affordable systems than the present and there’s no good reason to go without one.

In the past, I’ve opted to put up fake surveillance cameras with those “blinking” red lights to mitigate the cost of those expensive systems of the past.

Those gutless camera props that ran on a single 9-volt battery were solely intended as a “deterrent”, but there’s no longer a reason to use those antiquated relics in 2024, so I’ve since moved on to real solutions!

Another great option to consider- that can send alerts to your smartphone even while you’re away- is the now ubiquitous Ring Doorbell.

These front-door Wi-Fi cameras are like Tony-Stark-tech versions of the old-fashioned peephole- except you can see and communicate with whoever’s at your door without being anywhere near it!

Rechargeable Model

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The Ring Doorbell has several generations available for sale, some of which can be hard-wired to your existing doorbell wiring, while others are battery-powered (should you want a simpler install).

Our favorite is the Gen 3 wireless version with a rechargeable lithium battery that sells for a reasonable price for the added security you get.

When a would-be thief sees one of these, they’ll know that you take your home security very seriously and will most likely try their luck elsewhere.

Moving on to the 2nd layer of defense: The Exterior

#2 Securing The Exterior

The exterior pertains to the outer walls of your home, including the doors, windows, lights, and locks.

Starting with the doors- a strong door that can take a lot of punishment before it fails is paramount.

Securing the exterior zones of your home

A solid wood door that is reinforced with steel at the weakest points is key to providing the most resistance to a potential break-in attempt.

Fortunately, there are ways to make the average residential door much stronger without having to replace it with a prohibitively expensive commercial steel door.

One such way is purchasing a 3-piece Armor MAX Door Reinforcement Set by Armor Concepts.

Complete Door Kit

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This set includes a 16-gauge Jamb, Frame & Hinges, that reinforce the weakest points of the door making it much more secure than the typical door.

Best Ways to Secure a Door From The Inside

One clever way to reinforce your door from the inside while you’re at home is a 3-inch home security door reinforcement lock (shown below).

This simple invention was designed to withstand a maximum of 800 lbs of force for inward swinging doors. It helps prevent doors from being easily kicked in while you’re at home.

Enhances Door Security

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According to FBI robbery statistics, most burglaries happen during the time of day when most people have left for work.

Thieves that attempt break-ins during the day will likely check to see if a door or window is open, so always triple-check that you locked all of the doors and windows before you leave home!

If someone is at home while you’re away at work, it’s always a good idea to have additional layers of resistance to all your doors and windows- where possible.

How to Secure Windows Without Bars

Next, come the windows- a major weak point in most homes!

Depending on the age of your home, the size, style, and type of glass used on your windows will vary but most houses don’t come standard with shatter-resistant windows– regardless of age.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune to fortify your windows, but it is going to take some time and effort to install this security film we recommend yourself.

You can also opt to install a tinted one-way film that will prevent someone from seeing inside your home to scout for security weaknesses and property to steal.

Recollections From The Past: Thinking back on my childhoodI recall a period in the mid-1980s when my family home had some tinted one-way film on all the windows that looked like a mirror from the outside and reflected the heat on hot summer days, making it easier to keep the house cool.

We also had cast iron burglar bars on every window (we had a lot of large window panes) and a deadbolted set of bars in front of every door. It almost felt like living in a prison but it was also a great barrier to thwarting break-in attempts!

Fortifies Your Windows

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Adding a security film to all of your exterior windows will make it much harder for a thief to break them. If the window is putting up a fight, most thieves will retreat once they realize it will take more than just a few blows to get through.

How to Secure Windows Without Bars

Time and noise are not on the burglar’s side, so when there’s too little of one and too much of the other… the best option for a would-be thief is to find easier prey!

Another great addition to sliding window panes is adding some simple sliding window locks made out of strong, high-quality aluminum.

Simply locate a rail to mount them on and finger-tighten the large thumb screw with a few short turns.

Secures Up To 15 Windows

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This cost-effective device is a cheap and easy way to improve the security of all your windows. Remember, every little thing you add to your multi-layered defense system buys you some time and also helps discourage a thief looking for an easy target!

While we’re on the topic of windows, it might be a good idea to add some window alarm sensors to alert you, or neighbors within earshot, when a window is breached.

Cheaper models tend to come in a pack of a dozen, but we prefer the higher-quality Noopel brand that comes in pairs.

These small alarms produce a loud, high-pitched, 120 dB pulsating alarm that will ward off most burglars and get the attention of any neighbors should you not be at home.

Ear Piercing Sound!

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These are not dependent on an A/C outlet to function, so they’ll still function if the electricity gets cut.

This is important because some burglars may attempt to cut the power to your house to disable security systems that are hard-wired into mains power.

You can add these to doors or cabinets as well but, as for their role in a multi-layered home defense strategy, we find they’re best used on every window of the house.

Just make sure to stock up on some spare button cell batteries and check on them monthly to make sure their batteries are functioning properly.

Moving on, we will now take a look at the exterior lighting of your home. We think the best way to ward off thieves who use the cover of night to go undetected is a good set of motion-activated flood lights.

Like the solar lights we discussed earlier, the exterior lights are also motion-activated but can also be hardwired for more intense illumination.

Below, you’ll find one of our top recommendations that shoots a strong and wide beam with excellent motion detection set at variable sensitivities that you can change (and it’s also a great deal).

65-Watt LED Mult-Direction Floodlights

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They work best mounted on the sides of your house and porch. There are many different types you can buy, such as solar-powered models, but we think the wired variety provides a much stronger beam of light that will last much longer and provide the most effective deterrent to trespassers.

Our last focus for the exterior of your home will be a great set of deadbolts on every entry door leading to the outside of the property.

You really shouldn’t cheap out too much on your door locks and a high-security deadbolt- along with the steel door frame reinforcements we talked about earlier- will buy you the most time possible whether or not you’re at home- should a break-in attempt occur.

So, what is our most highly recommended deadbolt lock to secure every exterior door in your home?

The Lock Picking Lawyer’s Pick:

The Easilok Deadbolt

Our favorite candidate- by far- is the Easilok Deadbolt which is very well-built at any price, easy to use, and has ingenious security features built-in that even impressed The Lockpicking Lawyer (watch the video below to get his take).

The Easilok deadbolt is awesome to behold and is built like a tank with its cast stainless steel construction.

It contains multiple internal bearings to ensure a smooth, maintenance-free action for years to come AND the best feature has to be the ability to disable the exterior lock by engaging a switch when you’re at home.

Most Advanced Deadbolt Design

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With this mechanical switch activated, even the key can’t open this deadbolt from the outside and the twist lock also won’t function.

It also has a switch on the outside that will prevent you from turning the twist-lock knob and accidentally locking yourself out should you forget to bring your keys.

In practice, this has never really been an issue for me, but it may be useful if you’ve got kids that can’t help but turn this fidgety knob when outside.

This deadbolt is unpickable with its switch activated while you’re at home asleep. Even when you’re away, its dimple lock is not the easiest for amateurs to pick!

If you want to save some money, or just want something that will improve the security of the deadbolts you already have, you should seriously consider adding at least some bump key and picking protection while you’re at home sleeping soundly in bed.

Secures Your Deadbolt!

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I’ve got a couple of these on my older deadbolts and they work great for their intended purpose.

My front door has one of the 1st gen Easilok deadbolts and this device is not compatible with those (but they’re unneeded with this feature built-in).

#3 Securing The Interior

This next bit of futuristic indoor drone technology is one of the coolest and most creative innovations that I’ve seen in this space.

It comes from the same creative minds that brought you the Ring Doorbell as the aptly named “Ring Always Home Cam”.

Dockable Security Drone

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Unfortunately at the time of this writing, it’s by invitation only and exclusively sold on Amazon.

Interior Security Ideas For Your Home

We’d love to get our hands on one of these to test, but you can try your luck and put your name on the invite list to get early access to one of these surprisingly affordable security gizmos!

ring always home cam

One of the simpler and cheaper methods for adding additional layers of defense to your home comes in the form of a simple lamp timer.

These timers come in digital or analog flavors but they essentially accomplish the same goal of making it seem as though someone is home- even when you’re away on vacation.

I tend to prefer the digital timers but you can save even more money if you’re frugal and buy the analog type. Either one is fine, but these are must-have additions in my opinion!

Digital Timers 2-Pack

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Pro Tip: If you plan on taking a vacation, tell as few trusted people as possible.

Also, don’t put up a calendar on your fridge with your vacation dates marked as it may be seen from an outside window, thus informing potential crooks how much time they have to rob you blind!

Just locate some free outlets at key areas inside your home, plug a lamp into each one, set the timer, and you’ll always appear to be home!

Setting each timer at different times will give the illusion that people are in the house and this is a great way to deter would-be thieves on the cheap.

This is just one piece of a multi-layered defense strategy that- when combined- will provide you with the best possible chance to thwart a break-in attempt.

Having a dog in the house that is always on alert and barks incessantly at the first sign of potential trespassers is a good addition to a layered defense, but not everyone is so inclined or can take care of a dog.

That’s when a good alternative- such as an indoor security camera system- can come in handy.

Without a dog in the house, you won’t have to worry about sensors tripping the alarm or having to adjust them to allow for larger pets in the house.

Ring comes to the rescue again with an affordable 4-piece camera system that is powered by any A/C outlet and uses Wi-Fi to connect to the Ring App on your smartphone.

Home Security 4-Pack

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You can use the App to communicate directly through the built-in speaker in the Ring Cam like a walkie-talkie, which is pretty useful, especially in larger two-story homes.

Final Thoughts

You may be tempted to dismiss the need for having a layered defense strategy for your home, but you’re rolling the dice and betting that disaster will never strike.

In real life, lightning can and does strike the same place twice, and those who’ve been burglarized multiple times are proof that you should at least accept the possibility!

Just like life or health insurance, your home’s security is a policy that you should be willing to invest time and money into to potentially save you thousands down the road.

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