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Some home improvements don’t just make your house look better, they also make it a safer place for your family and your belongings. If you’re rolling up your sleeves to start the next project, consider some of these improvements that make your home better looking and more secure.

Trim the Hedges

Overgrown shrubs and bushes around the house make good hiding places for would-be criminals like burglars and peeping toms. Security experts recommend trimming the hedges lower than the bottom of the windows in the front of the house. Make sure hedges don’t offer protection for a person hiding out to plan mischief. When landscaping, select low growing plants like hostas, monkey grass, and flowers like daisies, impatiens, or roses instead of tall, sprawling shrubs and bushes.

Put Up a Privacy Fence

The best way to keep a thief from being tempted by your stuff is to never let him see it. Not only does a privacy fence block the view of your toys in the garage, expensive lawn care items in the storage building, and pricey grill setup, it also keeps predators from watching your kids play. Don’t just depend on the fence to keep intruders out. Install secure locks on the gates. This is also helpful for keeping little ones safe in the backyard when mommy has to run and grab the phone.

Use Adequate Window Dressing

No one wants someone watching them eat dinner, watch TV, or do the dishes. You certainly don’t want people eyeing your new flat screen TV, the expensive computer system, or the state of the art gym equipment. Choose window coverings that completely block the view from outside. Wooden blinds and thick drapery are excellent options. Don’t assume the front of your home is the only way to see in. If you don’t have a privacy fence, it’s equally important to block the view from windows in the back of the home.

Add Motion Detection Lighting

Motion detection lights serve multiple purposes. First, you’ll have a light when you get home without having to leave it on all day while you’re away, eating electricity. Second, unexpected guests won’t have to stumble to your door to knock. Third, these lights pop on if an intruder comes near, usually scaring them away. Most break-ins are done by criminals who don’t want to meet up with the family – they just want to take stuff and run. Well-lit homes are just too much trouble.

Replace the Garage Door

Old garage doors are easier than you might think to decode and break into. Get a new programmable garage door, which also adds to the curb appeal of the house. When you take your car for repair or maintenance or leave it at the car wash, take out your garage door opener. Crooks can use the code from the opener to break into your home later. Protect your garage door opener as well as you do your house keys and debit card.

The smartest family is the safest family. Tour your home using the eyes of a criminal. Can you find ways to break in or cause trouble? If you can think of it, a criminal can too. Address security issues before a thief is tempted to make you a target.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to keep their family safe.

Image courtesy of zeevveez via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.