A big part of being a homeowner is protecting and maintaining your property. While many people only worry about security once the sun goes down, most burglaries actually occur in the daytime when we’re away at school, work or out running errands. It’s important to take the necessary precautions anytime you leave your property, whether it’s day or night. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help protect your home from break-ins and thieves:

1. Install a security system with motion detectors and cameras

A UNC criminology study found that 83% of convicted burglars check for alarms, and of those who do, 50% say they’d go elsewhere if a home had an alarm. If you can’t afford an alarm system for your home, you may want to consider putting up vinyl stickers or lawn signs advertising an installed alarm system as a deterrent. As long as they’re believable, they could be the difference between dealing with a break-in or not.

2. Use window locks to keep intruders out

If you love to open your windows, make sure you don’t underestimate a thief’s ability to use that spot as an easy entryway into your home. Always be sure to shut and lock your windows when you’re not home and ensure the locks can withstand tampering should a potential thief try to force them open. It’s also important to mention that patio doors should have vertical bolts and wooden rods in the track to prevent them from being forced open or lifted off the track by an unwanted visitor. The door in an attached garage is one of the easiest entry points into a home as it’s often ill-protected or left unlocked entirely. Gaining entry this way means that the thief has the added bonus of breaking into your home while protected by the security of a private garage.

3. Keep your doors and windows well-lit at night to deter potential criminals

Keeping your entry points well-lit can definitely deter any burglars from attempting to break in. Motion-activated lighting can also be a huge benefit as it draws attention to the area while flooding it in light. If a burglar is trying to break in using the cover of darkness, motion-activated lighting will definitely throw a wrench into their plan.

4. Get an alarm dog

If you’re still making a pro and con list about whether to get a dog, make sure to add this benefit to the pro section. Not only are dogs wonderful companions, they can also do a lot to prevent burglars, regardless of their size, as their barking alone can make a thief reconsider targeting your home. While beefing up your home security is never a reason to get a dog, if you’re already considering it, you can rest assured that their ability to help protect your property is a bonus.

5. Place signs outside of your home warning potential burglars about dogs inside and informing them they will be arrested if caught trespassing

One cheap and simple way to deter burglars is to put up “Beware Of Dog” signs on your doors or fences. Want to really sell the illusion that you’ve got a guard dog? Leave out a large dog food bowl on your front porch.

6. Stow expensive items in your garage

Anything left outside on a regular basis is an easy target for thieves. Whether it’s a BBQ, bikes or the family vehicle, keeping it stored inside a locked garage creates an outer layer of protection that complicates theft for burglars. You may also want to consider equipping your garage with a security system or alarm to further deter break-ins and scare off anyone who tries to enter unannounced.

7. Build a fence

If you don’t already have one, installing a fence is a great way to keep unwanted visitors off your property. If the only way to quickly enter your home is from the front yard, you can help eliminate burglars who may try to enter in the shadows or corners of a backyard or private back entrance.

8. Trim trees and shrubs by doorways and windows

The last thing you want to do is create more spaces for thieves and burglars to hide on your property. If a break-in requires the thief to spend a few minutes picking a lock, providing them with an easy cover while they do it, could make the operation less risky and your home an easier target. Trim all shrubs and bushes near the entrances of your home, windows and doors. You may even want to consider strategic landscaping that has you place thorny or prickly plants at the base of windows to even further prevent suspicious activity at those access points.

9. Keep doors and fences locked

It may be worth investing in padlocks for any of your outdoor entrances to your home, garage or backyard, even if you only lock them up at night. Whether it’s a digital keypad or a heavy-duty master lock, the more secure your entrances are, the less likely thieves will consider them an easy target.

10. Change your locks after moving in

When you first buy a home, you can get so caught up in the big picture of renovations and resettling into your new space that you might overlook small details like changing the locks. Not only is this a simple fix, but it also ensures that the previous homeowners, and anyone they may have given keys to, don’t continue to have easy access to your home without your knowledge.

While there’s no guaranteed way to protect your home, there are plenty of steps you can take to deter burglars and thieves. At the end of the day, burglars are always on the hunt for easy targets. The more hurdles you throw at them, the more work it’ll be for them and the more risk they’ll have to assume as a result. Even if you don’t have a budget for a fancy home security system or big upgrades, there are still lots of small changes you can make that will do wonders to deter home invasions.