As a new homeowner, it can be challenging not to be overwhelmed by all your new responsibilities. Houses require near-constant maintenance, for example, and getting settled in to your new home requires considerable energy—not to mention money—as you discover any number of unanticipated needs. But buying your own home is also an investment in financial stability and security. Which brings us to some more practical aspects of security. As a new homeowner, it’s important to take steps to secure your property. You might think that doors, windows and locks are all that’s required to secure your home. But burglars would beg to differ. A burglary occurs something like every 10 seconds in the United States, and the majority of such intrusions happen to residential properties. Surprisingly, a majority of those incidents involved access gained through an unlocked door or window. Here are some examples of mistakes not to make: 1) Don’t bother to lock your doors and windows. Clearly, safety begins with locking your doors and windows. Don’t make it easy for criminals. Invest in quality locks, with top-tier strike plates, and remember to use locks whenever possible, even when home. Criminals are opportunistic. They’ll grab any opportunity that presents itself. The trick is to make your house more difficult to breach. 2) Don’t hide your valuables. Leaving high-value items in plain sight is asking for trouble. Research suggests that once inside, criminals typically head for the master bedroom, where they’ll look for lightweight, portable items such as jewelry, expensive electronics, or cash. Leaving these items out in plain view is playing with fire. 3) Don’t have visible security. Just the sight of a camera on your property is likely to deter criminal activity. If a potential burglar evaluates homes in your neighborhood for vulnerabilities and sees that your neighbor has a surveillance system, but you don’t, guess which property he’ll choose to steal from—and which he’ll avoid. 4) Don’t trim back any thick shrubs around the perimeter of your home. Low, especially thorny shrubs can discourage criminals from lurking beneath windows. But large, dense shrubs, or other landscaping elements, could simply provide cover. Strike a logical balance between these two extremes. Keep landscaping in check, so criminals have nowhere to hide. 5) Do rely on a single security system. It takes more than just motion detectors to deter crime. Consider installing a variety of security systems for the best possible protection. Alarms, motion detectors, motion-activated cameras (programmed to begin recording when triggered), and night vision for those cameras are all important elements of a comprehensive system of security systems.