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How to make a home more secure

Edited by Amy Reeves

In 2023, there were 246,580 reported burglaries throughout England and Wales, with Hackney, Lewisham, Wandsworth, Haringey, Lambeth, Enfield, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Kingston upon Hull and Coventry the 10 biggest crime hotspots.

Wherever you live in the UK, though, it’s important to secure your home – not only to deter burglars, vandals and porch thieves but also to make it a safer and more comfortable environment for your family.

So, how can you make your home more secure in 2024? Our guide to the best home security systems, which compares and contrasts the leading suppliers and tech on the market, is an excellent place to start – especially if you’re ready to get quotes from top security companies.

Read on to dive into the specific security technology you’ll need to safeguard your home. We’ll first explore how to identify and combat your property’s existing vulnerabilities and then delve into the seven best ways to secure your home in 2024.

Top ways to secure your house

Among the best ways to secure your UK home in 2024 are:

  • Installing a video doorbell
  • Fitting indoor cameras
  • Using motion sensors to keep an eye on unusual movements
  • Making your property’s entryways bright and noisy
  • Using a professional monitoring service
  • Harnessing a whole-house security system
  • Considering a smart security ecosystem

We’ll unpack each of these home security strategies below, looking at their pros and cons and whether they’re the right fit for your home. If you’d rather get straight to comparing different security setups and suppliers, though, we suggest starting with our guides on the best wireless home security systems or, if you live in an apartment rather than a traditional house, the best security systems for apartments.


Security essentials: Assess your home’s weak points

Before exploring what new additions could make your home more secure, it’s important to take stock of your home’s existing security setup – or, more pressingly, its vulnerabilities.


Setting up your home security efforts for success involves getting the basics right:


  • Ensure all entry points to your home, including doors, windows and accessible skylights, are equipped with secure locks
  • Check all windows, and replace any cracked or damaged glass immediately
  • Test your home’s outdoor and indoor lights to ensure they’re all in working order
  • Eliminate hiding places by trimming any bushes or shrubbery near your windows and doors and getting rid of overgrown vegetation in your garden
  • Compile a list of all the people you’ve given your house key to. If you can’t remember them all and can’t be sure who might have access, consider rekeying or even changing the locks
  • Verify that all aspects of your existing home security setup (be they a burglar alarm or motion detection system) are working properly, and if you already have security cameras installed, ensure they’re positioned for best effect throughout your property
  • Secure your most valuable items, especially important personal documents and jewellery, in a safe or locked cabinet
  • Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working by testing them and regularly replacing their batteries
  • Create an emergency plan for your household that specifies evacuation routes and designated meeting points, and make sure everyone in your family knows what to do should an unexpected crisis occur

Install a video doorbell

Video doorbells allow you to see and even talk to whoever’s on your doorstep via a two-way microphone and speaker system. So when there’s a late-night knock on the door, you won’t have to peer around your curtain or use a peephole to see who’s there – you can simply pick up your smartphone or tablet, open an app and get a crystal-clear view of who’s on your front porch.

Essentially, video doorbells film and store footage of your front door to make your home more secure. And they can even make your life easier – the next time an Amazon Prime delivery arrives, you’ll be able to tell the driver where to leave your package without having to get up from the couch. (You don’t even have to be at home.)

Video doorbells rely on motion detectors, so they’ll only start when someone enters their range of vision. This helps prolong their battery life and ensures you’re not falling foul of any privacy laws. (You don’t, for example, want to be running a full-time CCTV service for your local neighbourhood.)

By capturing footage when someone comes near, video doorbells can also help deter – and even foil – porch pirates looking to pluck any delivered packages off your home’s threshold.

Plus, video doorbells are relatively easy to install, especially if you already have a wireless doorbell. In this case, you’ll simply need to fit the mounting bracket for the doorbell to the wall next to your front door – a process you can DIY or, if you’re not so handy with a drill, hire someone to do for you. If your existing doorbell is wired, though, we recommend calling an electrician to help out.

Convenient: communicate with whoever’s at your door via an easy-to-use mobile app – even when you’re not at home.
Cloud or local storage: video doorbells save footage, allowing you to review past events and providing vital evidence in cases of theft or vandalism.
Deterrence: video doorbells can act as a powerful deterrent, dissuading criminals from targeting your home.
Upfront costs: video doorbells are, for obvious reasons, more expensive than traditional doorbells.
Ongoing costs: most video doorbell suppliers charge an ongoing subscription fee to access their software, meaning you’ll have to pay every month to review your camera footage.
Reliance on a good internet connection: if your internet goes down, your video doorbell’s ability to record and store footage goes with it.

Fit indoor cameras

The best indoor cameras can be armed/disarmed remotely, and have privacy settings to be turned off when desired. (Adobe)

Indoor security cameras won’t be for everyone, but if you’re concerned about a break-in, they can be a highly effective way of deterring – and even catching – would-be burglars.

Like video doorbells, indoor cameras are part of a smart system that remotely and securely connects them to your mobile devices. The best home security cameras will also enable two-way communication, enabling you to interact with whoever’s at home when you’re out. On one level, an indoor camera is convenient, as you can use it to communicate remotely with family members. But on another, it could be life-saving because you could use the camera to let intruders know they’re being watched and that the police are on the way.

When it comes to positioning your home’s indoor cameras, target the entry points (doors and windows) as well as high-traffic areas such as living rooms and hallways. You might also want to ensure there’s a camera where valuables are stored – such as safes or jewellery drawers – and, if you have young children, place a camera in their room for extra peace of mind.

However, despite their budget-friendliness, some cheap home security systems on the market may not meet the entirety of your home’s surveillance needs.

So, be sure to look out for key indoor camera features such as night vision – enabling round-the-clock monitoring even at night – and arm/disarm functionality. These will allow you to initiate or disengage your cameras based on your conditions and schedules and customise them to the precise, ever-changing needs of your home and family.

Burglar deterrence: even if a burglar has already entered your home, the mere presence of cameras inside can be enough to stop them in their tracks.
Evidence collection: footage from a break-in can be used to support insurance claims and give you and the police a clearer idea of what happened.
Remote monitoring: indoor security cameras allow you to keep tabs on your home from afar, viewing live video to check in on family members or pets while away.
Privacy concerns: placing cameras inside your home, particularly in bedrooms or bathrooms, raises valid questions about privacy for occupants and guests.
Costs: for cameras with better features, the initial costs can be high and some require a monthly subscription to unlock extra features.

Use motion sensors to keep an eye on movements

Motion sensors are a key feature of both video doorbells and indoor cameras and are designed to detect movement in a specific area of your home, which then triggers an automated response.

This could be for simple convenience or utility – turning on a light to help you find your way around when it’s dark outside, for example – but it could also be for security. For instance, motion sensors can set off an alarm or send an alert to your smartphone so you can remotely keep tabs on happenings at your home.

Motion detectors come in different kinds, including:

  • Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, which detect changes in infrared radiation to pick up warm objects (such as people or animals) in their field of view
  • Microwave motion sensors, which constantly emit microwaves – but not that kind of microwave – to detect changes caused by movement. They’re highly sensitive and can even pick up motion through walls or obstacles
  • Dual technology motion sensors, which combine the approaches of PIR and microwaves. They require both heat and movement to trigger an alarm
  • Entry sensors, which are designed to monitor your home’s entryways. They involve placing two components – a sensor and a magnet – on your home’s doors or windows. If a door or window is opened, the sensor and magnet separate, setting off an alert
  • Pet-friendly motion sensors, which let you tinker with the settings, such as weight or height, to prevent your pet from constantly triggering frustrating false alarms

Better still, motion sensors are getting even smarter, with many now utilising AI algorithms to learn and adapt to your home’s typical patterns of activity. If that sounds a little too Big Brother-y, don’t fret – this simply allows your motion sensors to distinguish normal behaviours from the suspicious kind, which reduces false alarms and improves your home’s overall security.

Integration with a smart security ecosystem: motion sensors can be wired to trigger lights or appliances in your home, making it look like someone’s there even when you’re out.
Customisable: many motion sensors allow you to adjust their sensitivity, coverage range and detection pattern to set them up according to your specific preferences.
False alarms: motion sensors can be triggered by pets, moving objects and even environmental factors, leading to unnecessary alerts.
Limited coverage: motion sensors will only pick up activity in a defined zone. This leads to blind spots and the need to spend more money on more sensors to provide extensive protection.
Dependent on power and batteries: motion sensors rely on a consistent source of power to function, so grid outages or drained batteries can render them ineffective.

Make entering your property bright and noisy

Security lights are best with a motion sensor included, while gravel driveway can help deter burglars. (Adobe)

Making your home’s entryways bright and noisy can deter potential intruders. This can include installing outdoor lighting around your property’s perimeter and by your home’s entry points, such as gates, doors and windows. (Motion-activated lights are, again, crucial here – you don’t want your home to always be lit up like the Blackpool Tower.)

Similarly, a sturdy fence and lockable gate, while not foolproof, can provide an initial deterrence barrier against opportunistic thieves, such as porch pirates.

Even something as straightforward as a gravel driveway or path, which crunches underfoot, can make a difference, as will motion-activated alarms or sirens when someone sets foot on your property after dark. Consider, too, what signs you could place to deter burglars from making your home a target. These could be decals displaying the logo of your security company or signs to draw a potential intruder’s attention to the presence of security cameras on your property. (A basic “Beware of the Dog” sign works, too!)

Affordable: making your home brighter and noisier or adding signs to ward off burglars doesn’t have to be expensive.
Peace of mind: noise and bright lights engender a sense of security and safety on an almost evolutionary level and can help alleviate fears of burglary or intrusion.
Disturbing your neighbours: more lights and sounds coming from your property may impact those who live nearby, causing conflict.
Not energy efficient: if you don’t light your home smartly – that is, with motion-activated sensors and automated triggers – a well-lit home won’t be energy efficient and will increase your electricity bill.

For more information about securing your home’s exterior spaces to prevent burglars and intruders from entering your property, browse our guide to the best outdoor home security systems in the UK.

Use a professional monitoring service

For the ultimate peace of mind, subscribing to a professional monitoring service provides your home with remote, real-time and round-the-clock protection by trained professionals.
Monitoring services keep an eye on your home 24/7 to check not only for intruders but also for fires, carbon monoxide leaks and other emergencies. This 24/7 monitoring ensures police and fire services are promptly dispatched to your home if you’re away or unable to call for help yourself.

Through a live feed, professional monitoring services can instantly assess any unfolding situations, verify alarms (or discount false ones) and act accordingly. Many services even offer two-way communication via a mobile app or control panel in your home, allowing them to convey potentially life-saving information to you in perilous situations.

You can also provide these companies with your emergency contact details, so if they’re unable to get a hold of you, they can contact your friends or neighbours for assistance.

A 24/7 approach: professional monitoring services don’t sleep, so round-the-clock protection of your home is guaranteed.
Instant notification: professional monitoring services let you or your designated contacts know straight away if unauthorised entry – or environmental hazards such as smoke or carbon monoxide – is detected in your home.
Costs: professional monitoring services come with a monthly fee. Some are reasonable, but some are a higher cost, especially the better ones that provide more comprehensive security coverage.
Limited control: while professional monitoring services are highly effective, they may impact personal control over security events and how they’re responded to, limiting your ability to customise monitoring settings or intervene in incidents remotely.

Harness a whole-house security system

Video doorbells, security cameras and motion sensors are all excellent ways to make your home more secure. However, these elements are best used not in isolation – ie as standalone, “set and forget” pieces of technology – but as part of a living, breathing, whole-house security system.

A whole-house security system incorporates several elements to fortify your home in a package customised to the specific needs of your property and the people within it.

This approach offers maximum flexibility, allowing you to build a system that fits your home rather than the other way around. However, such a comprehensive system will likely come with comparatively high costs – both upfront and ongoing, especially if you subscribe to a professional monitoring service – so it won’t be right for everyone. Unless you’re comfortable with a DIY approach (if so, we recommend exploring our guide to the best DIY home security systems) you’ll also need to factor in installation costs as well as the price of regular maintenance and camera footage storage.

Comprehensive: a whole-house security system covers all entry points and generally all outdoor and interior spaces, providing a layered, intricate defence against burglars and intruders.
Maximum deterrence value: homes with high-tech, robust (and visible) security systems aren’t easy targets so will discourage burglars from trying anything on your home.
Complex: integrating multiple security technologies into a whole-house system can be time-consuming, difficult and patience-trying, especially if you’re doing it yourself.

Consider a smart security ecosystem

The only security setup more effective than a customised, whole-house system? A smart one.

A smart security system isn’t just a system – it’s an ecosystem. Like the whole-house security systems we discussed above, a security ecosystem involves several components but has a key difference. Smart systems have a network of interconnected devices, sensors and technologies that work together and can be accessed, controlled and monitored from your smart device – wherever you happen to be.

This means that, remotely and from a single smartphone app, you can:

  • View real-time footage from your video doorbell or indoor cameras 
  • Lock or unlock your front door with the best smart locks available
  • Open or close your garage door with a smart garage door opener

Smart security systems can also integrate with voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, as well as other, non-security-related smart technology such as smart light bulbs, smart light switches, smart speakers and even smart kitchen appliances. 

With a smart system, you could, for example, programme smart lighting to turn on or off at specific times throughout the day or configure music or the TV to turn on when motion is detected outside to deter would-be intruders by creating the illusion of occupancy. And because this system also works with voice commands, you can manage your home’s security and general needs simply by speaking to it.

Imagine a situation where you’re preparing dinner but need to pop to the shop to grab a couple of ingredients before you get started. With a smart system, you could say something like, “Hey, Google. Lock the doors, arm the security system and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.”

On top of in-app control, you’ll also have a smart home “hub” – essentially, a central control centre for your smart security ecosystem that unites each piece of smart tech on a single interface. Generally, these hubs support different communication protocols (such as wifi, Zigbee and Z-Wave) to enable interoperability between your devices and systems.

Our top three recommended providers

Making a house more secure FAQs

There’s no way to completely burglar-proof your home, but you can take steps to minimise your home’s desirability as a target for thieves and intruders.

This would incorporate not only the multiple security technologies (such as video doorbells, cameras and motion sensors) we’ve discussed here but also a certain set of behaviours. Be mindful, for instance, of posting your holiday plans on social media, as burglars can use this information to target your home while you’re away. Establishing good relationships with your neighbours – and, if possible, joining a local neighbourhood watch group – is important, too.

When burglar-proofing your home, don’t, however, forget about the basics: secure your windows, install high-quality locks and ensure your property is as bright and noisy as possible – even when you’re away. And if you have a smart security ecosystem, all the better because you can link your lights or TV to convey occupancy while you and your family are out.

When it comes to securing your home, deterrence is half the battle – which doesn’t have to be expensive. You can, for instance, put up signs around your property indicating that your home has a security system installed (even if it doesn’t) and add fake cameras to deter thieves. Similarly, trimming overgrown vegetation around your property costs nothing and gives lurkers fewer places to hide and watch your home.

As for more concrete cheap home security measures, you can better secure your property’s doors and windows with strike plates, door jammers or door and window bars. These inexpensive reinforcements aren’t perfect, but they’ll make it harder for intruders to force their way into your home.

Many of the techniques and technology that apply to securing your home also apply to your garage: securing its windows and installing cameras and motion-activated sensors.

Another key, if rather basic, way to secure your garage is simply being more vigilant about closing its door when you’re not using it. To this end, a smart garage door opener – especially one integrated into a wider smart security ecosystem – is a big help.

These devices do away with remotes and key fobs and instead make your smartphone your garage door opener, allowing you to check your garage door’s status even from a remote location and satisfy that nagging fear that you forgot to shut it this morning. This also helps prevent thieves and vandals from entering your garage when you’re not home or – worse – using your garage as a way of gaining access to your house.

Securing your doors and windows is a crucial aspect of safeguarding your home, so we recommend getting in touch with a security professional for advice and installation rather than doing this yourself. However, some DIY door-securing might include:

  • Installing deadbolt locks (ideally with at least a one-inch throw bolt) on all your home’s exterior doors and ensuring the strike plate is securely attached to the frame
  • Reinforcing door frames with strike plates – essentially, metal plates or bars that reinforce weak points around your door’s lock and hinges
  • Using video doorbells and smart locks, which offer remote access, keyless entry and activity logs so you can see who’s been coming and going

As for strengthening your home’s windows, try:

  • Installing window locks and reinforcing your window glass with security film to make it harder for intruders to shatter
  • Fitting your home’s windows with sensors that will sound an alarm or send an alert directly to your smartphone when tampered with
  • Paying special attention to your basement windows – these are often most vulnerable to break-ins given how easy they are to access and the fact that activity there often isn’t visible from your home’s main windows. We recommend securing your basement windows with bars or screens to make them less of a target for burglars

Rob Binns


Rob is an experienced writer and editor, with a wide range of experience in many topics, including renewable energy and appliances, home security, and business software. He has written for Eco Experts, Home Business, Expert Market, Payments Journal, and Yahoo! Finance. . 

Rob has a passion for smart home technology, online privacy, as well as the environment and renewables, which leads him to the Independent Advisor where he writes about related topics, including cyber security, VPNs, and solar power.