Did you know that about 1/3 of would-be burglars use an open window or door to walk right into your home? [1] Because windows are often left unlocked or not properly reinforced, they can be vulnerable spots in many homes.

41% of burglars in one study admitted that the crime was born from opportunity, so securing your windows and doors is a great first step in helping to burglar-proof your home. [2] 


How to burglar-proof your windows?


Securing your glass windows is an important step for helping keep your home safe from burglars and potential intruders. And best of all, it doesn’t have to be costly.

We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks on how to burglar-proof your windows for every budget and time constraint.


1. Motion Detecting Lights or Sensors

Motion-detecting lights automatically turn on if they’re triggered by movement, illuminating the area, including a would-be thief.

Motion-activated lights help deter a burglar in three ways:

  • Once lit, anyone can see the thief.
  • Blinding the intruder by suddenly illuminating them.
  • Startling the burglar.

Exterior: Mount these lights anywhere a thief might hide or enter the home.

  • Next to the front and back doors.

  • Along the side of the home, especially near windows.

  • Next to gates, walkways, or paths.

  • The perimeter of your backyard.

On the other hand, motion-detecting sensors sense movement and signal your security system if an alarm event triggers the system. Once that happens, an alert is sent to your phone and the monitoring centers.

Sensors are not only an excellent choice for detecting unwanted guests but are also a great option if you want to know if someone is entering a room they shouldn’t be going into.

Interior: Place these devices in the corner of the room, aiming them towards the door.

  • Mount detectors 6.5 - 7.5 feet above the floor, along a flat wall or corner.

  • Ensure objects aren’t blocking the detector’s view and that it's in a stable location.

  • Make sure sensors are not aimed at the stairs, furniture, or other surfaces where a pet might climb or where a large pet (over 55-lb.) may be present and cause false alarms.

  • Don’t place it near a source of heat. It could cause a false alarm, e.g., a heating vent or fireplace.

Add both types of sensors to the interior and exterior of your home for the best results.



2. Window Bars

Window security bars are used in residential homes and commercial properties as a burglar deterrent because of their quality construction and versatile designs. They add enhanced security and protection against unwanted intruders and additional defense for small children and pets.

Burglar bars are often made of aluminum, steel, or wrought iron, and they can be installed on the outside or inside of windows. Choose from ornate style or simple, plain bars for customization that seamlessly integrates your interior decor or exterior landscaping to help burglar-proof your windows.

Burglar bars come in three main types:

  • Fixed Security Bars: These are permanent bars best for long-term, owned homes.

  • Swing-away Security Bars:  These bars allow you to swing the bars away from the window for an emergency escape or routine window cleaning. They feature either a lock or a quick-release mechanism only accessible from inside the home.

  • Removable Window Bars: These burglar bars are perfect for rental properties or if you only want to add burglar bars for only a short period.

Things to consider about window bars:

Always leave at least one window without bars in case an emergency escape is ever necessary. Alternatively, you can install swing-away window security bars to a window instead.


3. Window Security Film

Window film can help stop a burglar from getting inside your home while providing additional protection against glass shards from natural disasters.

The film is typically made with polyester or PET and adhesive layers and ranges in thickness, with thicker grade films being more durable. You can also choose transparent films or tinted ones for added security.

Place directly on top of your glass windows, and in the event of a break-in, it works similarly to windshield glass. The film keeps the glass from shattering and falling into your home, holding the broken shards in place.

Other advantages of security film include:

  • Easy to attach to any window in your home.

  • Comes with UV protection.

  • Very affordable.

  • You can easily cut the film to size.

  • Customizable options.


4. Update Screws

Many window frames use standard Phillips screws in the window. Since burglars often bring their own tools like a Philips-head screwdriver, adding different screws may make your windows harder to open.

You can update these screws to:

  • Special, tamper-proof security screws that require special tools for removal.

  • Head-cap screws.

  • Allen-head screws. 


5. Door and Window Sensors

Window sensors let you know if someone opens or closes a door or window. If you have these installed through your dedicated security system, you can get alerts sent right to your smartphone.

When installing, make sure you place the sensor contact on the door or window frame and the magnet on the part of the door or window that opens and closes. Ensure that the alignment on both pieces faces each other, and that they are less than half an inch apart when the door or window is closed.

Where else can you place contact sensors?

  • Cabinet doors or drawers where you want extra alerts like jewelry drawers, medicine cabinets, gun safes, or liquor cabinets.

  • Pet gates, so you’ll know when someone is taking Fido in and out.

  • Cat or doggy doors, so you know when your pet is in the yard.

  • A sleepwalker’s bedroom door, so you’ll be alerted if they take a stroll.

  • Someone sneaking into the pantry? Add a sensor, so you’ll know when they’re having a midnight snack.

  • Garden gates, pool gates, or shed doors that are sometimes left open.


6. Glass Break Sensors

These sensors detect a break-in as it’s happening, picking up the sound of someone hitting the window before the glass breaks. They are different from other sensors in that they use audio sensors and not motion sensors for detection.

Once a burglar smashes the window, a signal goes to your security system, then your phone sounds the alarm.

There are two different types of glass break sensors:

  • Acoustic Glass Break Sensors

An acoustic glass break sensor is triggered by sound. These are often installed around windows or glass doors to maximize their potential to alert you of glass breaking. These sensors tend to have a more comprehensive detection range, so you may only need one or two for your home.

  • Shock Glass Break Sensors

These detect the vibrations from glass breaking and are usually placed directly on the window or door. Because they sense the vibrations, you will need to put them on every window or door.

Glass break sensors add another layer of added protection for your home and work well in addition to motion sensors.

Benefits of glass break sensors:

  • They sense glass as it breaks for windows, patio doors, and front or back doors.

  • Acoustic sensors can cover up to 25 feet, eliminating the need for needing one in every window.

  • Long-lasting battery life means it works even when the power is out.

  • Also a good choice for protecting display cases or trophy cases.


7. Shatter-Resistant or Shatterproof Glass

This type of glass is also known as laminated glass, safety glass, or tempered glass. It works by shattering into a spider-web pattern while keeping its shape. By breaking this way, this glass is less likely to create shards that could cause injuries.

The shatter-resistant glass is made by sandwiching layers of glass and plastic or resin together to create an incredibly durable window that withstands brunt force against burglars and weather. 

Commonly used in storefronts, cars, and new homes, it’s an excellent option for adding security and durability to your home.

Five more benefits of shatter-resistant glass:

  1. Reinforce your home against weather-related damages.

  2. Tinted glass can help reduce your energy costs.

  3. Many home insurance policies offer discounts for shatter-resistant or shatterproof glass windows.

  4. Many types of windows that use this glass offer additional UV resistance.

  5. It looks just like ordinary window glass, so you can still see your landscaping or garden..


8. Window Security Screens

These screens are like typical window screens, except that the woven construction is highly resistant stainless-steel mesh.

Security screens anchor to the window frame with a sturdy screw-clamp mechanism for added safety.

The mesh design is not only an excellent burglar deterrent but also ideal for:

  • Providing ventilation while still offering safety and security.

  • The stainless-steel design also provides protection from extreme weather.

  • The screen helps keep bugs out while allowing airflow.

  • Creating a clean layout that lies flat against your window may appeal to some more than adding window bars.


Six additional ways to secure your windows:

  1. Keep windows closed and locked.

  2. Upgrade your existing window latches to sturdier or newer locks.

  3. Leaving your porch light on and illuminating your home may be a deterrent to some burglars.

  4. Maintain the exterior of your property, especially hedges and shrubbery around your windows.

  5. Add an outdoor security camera outside your home.

  6. Opt for professional home monitoring for added protection.


Different Types of Locks to Help Burglar-Proof Windows


Many window locks come with a simple flip lock, but a simple upgrade could make your home safer.

These locks all help keep your windows secure, but which one is right for you depends on the window type and the amount of ventilation you want.

  • Keyed Lock. This lock replaces a standard latch and requires a key to open. As long as you know where the key is, you can easily unlock it.

  • Pin Lock. A pin lock goes in through one sash and into another, using a pin to keep the window from opening. Pin locks are used in cylinder locks and tubular pin tumbler locks found on double-hung windows. (We recommend also using them for sliding patio doors, too.)

  • Hinged Wedge Lock. These locks keep the window track in place on a double-hung window. The wedge is moveable, so you can open and rise the window freely. 

  • Ventilating Lock. These locks screw into the sash and have a pin that can slide in according to how high you want to raise the window.

  • Folding Latch. Aka hung window locks can be used for top hung windows like awning or casement windows. The latch folds down to lock and unlocks once you pull it up.

  • Sliding Lock. You may already be familiar with these locks since they are relatively popular in window security. They attach anywhere on the track of the window to prevent it from opening, allowing you to open your window for easy ventilation.


A security system from ADT can help safeguard doors, windows, and more!


Whether you choose to add motion-detecting sensors or a window lock, or if you upgrade the windows themselves with laminated glass or tempered glass, these are just a few things you can do to add additional security to your home.

ADT provides a full range of products and services to meet your security needs, whether you’re looking for additional window sensors or smart home security for added peace of mind.


Frequently Asked Questions about Burglar-Proofing Your Windows

How do you fix glass windows that don’t lock?

Sometimes your window latch gets stiff. When this happens, a lubricating spray is often your best best for unsticking the lock. If that doesn’t work, a window security stay is another option.



How do you put a lock on a sliding window?

Putting locks on the inside of the window can go a long way to helping keep your home safe. Sliding windows are a popular window choice for their ease of use. Casement windows can be closed with a door-bolt-like device that operates with a key. Screw the lock to the window and slide the bolt into the metal cup that mounts to the windowsill.

Should you put window bars on the inside or outside of the window?

Placing burglar bars on the outside of the home is a more obvious deterrent to would-be thieves. However, putting them inside your home may go better with your current aesthetic and make the safety bars easier to remove in the event of an emergency with a quick-release button.


No matter where you install your burglar bars, you should make sure that you adhere to egress requirements.

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