Moving into your first home is an exciting moment. However, before decorating and settling in, it’s crucial to ensure that your home is secure. It’s especially important for new homeowners to understand security risks as they may be unfamiliar with their new home, property type, neighborhood or living situation. Do your part to protect yourself, your loved ones and your property in your new home with these five tips.

  1. Learn the security situation before you make your purchase

Be knowledgeable about whatever new neighborhood you’re buying into. Consult your real estate agent or others who know the area, give the neighborhood a test drive during the day and night, check for neighborhood watches or other programs and look up local crime statistics.

  1. Get to know your neighbors

Meeting your neighbors and keeping in touch is both neighborly and practical. It allows you to stay current on local happenings, learn to recognize residents from strangers, coordinate with neighborhood watches and other cooperative efforts and encourage concern for each other’s wellbeing.

  1. Audit your home’s security

Once you’ve moved into your home, be sure to inspect every point of entry to identify and correct any obsolete or broken locks and lighting. Pay particular attention to window and rear door locks and exterior and garage lights. Make sure to re-program your garage door opener as well.

  1. Employ prevention

Making your home appear less appealing or vulnerable to criminals is an effective crime deterrent. Avoid showing off valuables indoors or out (including their discarded packaging), keep your garage door closed at night or whenever no one is home and be mindful of the people you let into your home if you don’t know them well.

  1. Shop smart

Do your research and shop around before buying any home security products. Cheap locks may be easily defeated, and high-pressure salespeople may sell you a security system for more than it’s worth. Decide what you want to accomplish, and find the professional or do-it-yourself solution that best fulfils your objectives. Include any potential insurance rate discounts or utility savings in your security or smart home system considerations.

Crime in the U.S. is at a multi-decade low, but safety precautions are still important. By taking these steps, you can enjoy your new home with the peace of mind of knowing that it is more secure.