Holiday Checklist: Home Security & Peace of Mind

By on December 6, 2016

Take steps to improve your home’s security while you’re out this holiday season, and give yourself a peace of mind.

From Dec. 8 to Feb. 2, over two dozen international holidays take place. Shopping, dinners, observances, overnight stays and extended holidays leave millions of homes and apartments vacant, for hours or days. These are opportunities not lost upon burglars.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of tried and true home security measures to do before you step out, or pack the family in the car. Advanced security measures to install ahead of time (now?) help to make sure your house is not an easy target.


Lights are left on. (Use a timer for extended periods).

TV or radio left on. (Use a timer for extended periods).

Dogs inside.

Mail and packages taken in (not left at doorstep).

All doors and windows locked.

Curtains drawn. Blinds let down.

Dimly lit entryways to basements are barred from inside.

A car parked in the driveway helps, even better to have it moved daily. (Long weekends or more).

In case of snow, arrange to have driveway plowed, walk shoveled; fresh tire track and footsteps give impression of someone home. Make arrangements with a neighbor or hire someone you trust. (Long weekends or more).


Check your deadbolts. Make sure they throw an inch. If they don’t, replace them.

If you’ve lent out your house keys to lots of cleaning people, friends, and dog sitters over time, replace the key cylinders in your existing deadbolts, with high-quality, high-tech cylinders. Upside: you can have one key work in every exterior door. Very effective security upgrade. Buy ANSI Grade 1 only. Mul-T-Lock is one of the best.

 A basic function of your exterior doors is to keep bad guys out. If you’re concerned that your old door may not withstand the force of being kicked, install steel reinforcements at the hinges, jamb, and latch/deadbolt area. I find Armor Concepts product line to be well thought out, rigorously tested, and very affordable.


Steel window pins secure double-hung windows to one another. They are easily installed with a drill. Stay one-inch away from the edge of the glass and the pane to avoid window breakage during drilling.

For double-hung windows (two sashes that slide up and down), I suggest window pins to secure them to each other.

Finally, a product we’ve really liked is the home alarm system, made by SimpliSafe. It’s affordable, DIY (install yourself in an hour or less), there’s no contract, and when you move–you take it with you. A professionally monitored system is optional. You can buy a package or build your own.

Few gifts are more rewarding to give or receive than simple products to keep you, or loved ones, safe wherever home is.


Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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