Most would agree that establishing and maintaining the security of your home is a major priority. It is where your family lives, and it’s where everything valuable that you own resides.
We all know this, but the fact of the matter is. Not all of us can afford what many tell us we need to maintain the security of our homes.
The Most Affordable Home Security Measures
Thankfully, it is not always necessary to pay to set up expensive security equipment and then pay a monthly fee to have someone monitor that equipment. There are actually some measures you can take to improve the security of your most valuable asset that is very low cost. Some of them are even free.
Secure the Main Doors
It may surprise many people, but roughly one-third of home burglars come through the front door. Inspect all exterior doors to make sure the door frames are strong, and the hinges are properly protected. If there is a mail slot on the door, make sure it’s not possible to reach in to unlock the door.
Experts recommend installing a deadbolt and perhaps some smart locks. Your door should certainly have a strike plate, to discourage attempts to pry open the door with a tool. Video doorbells are also increasingly popular. They can send a signal to a smartphone app when someone may be trying to get in, and you can see what’s happening in real time.
Reinforce Sliding Glass Doors
These are a favorite of burglars, so make sure yours are properly protected. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to do this. For instance, you can place a metal rod or dowel on the track, to prevent the door from being forced open.
There are also high-tech solutions, like a sensor to detect if a door is being tampered with or the glass is broken. Many of these have alarms loud enough to scare off potential thieves.
Fences and Walls Are a Psychological Deterrent
Fences, hedges, and walls don’t have to be high to be effective. They set up a property boundary. And while they won’t deter professional thieves, they do deter casual burglars.
Make sure the wall or fence is not so high that a burglar can work on your property without being seen. One trick many uses is to place a wooden trellis along the tops of garden walls. Because it makes climbing the wall harder to climb without breaking the trellis and making noise that could draw attention.
Lock All the Windows
It may seem counter-intuitive, but not every burglar picks a lock, kicks in a door and breaks a window. In many cases, they just look for a door that is unlocked or a window that slides open. Every time you go out, close and lock all the windows. The key to home security starts with making sure thieves do not have easy access to your home.
Light Up the Yards
Burglars, vandals, and criminals in general work hard to stay in the shadows, so one of the most effective security measures is making sure you have adequate outdoor lighting. Place lights around both your front and back yards.
Light up pathways, and you’ll not only discourage thieves, but you’ll also make it less likely that you or others will trip and fall. Save energy and money with solar-powered lights, or use motion-activated lights or set the lights on a timer to save.
Eliminate Hiding Places and Reduce Temptation
While trees and shrubs add to your home’s curb appeal, they can give burglars a convenient place to hide. Keep them trimmed, to reduce their use as a cover for a thief. Better yet, opt for smaller flowers and bushes that are too small for a burglar to hide behind.
Along those same lines, you should always put away ladders and stools, to prevent their use by thieves, always lock all gates and outdoor buildings like sheds and workrooms, and don’t tempt thieves by leaving expensive things lying around in the yard. If a neighbor just installed a security system, see if you can snag a sign or a sticker and place them around your property.
Remember the Garage
Thieves are increasingly using the garage as an easy and often invisible entry to your home, but even if they can’t get into your home, you probably have valuables stored in the garage. Make it a habit of locking all doors in and around the garage. And while you find it convenient to keep the garage door opener in the car, it may be a better practice to keep it in the house, so burglars or others won’t break into your car.
If opening your garage requires a security code, keep it secret and never key it in front of neighbors, delivery people or anyone else. Consider upgrading to a smart garage door opener, which will alert your smartphone if someone is trying to open it. It will always close the garage door after you’ve left home, thus never having to worry if you left it open when you went to work.
Start or Join a Neighborhood Watch
This is a very affordable and quite effective way to keep your home secure. In some neighborhoods, there may be a small number of membership dues, but for the most part, this type of security is free, and it gets the entire neighborhood working together to watch out for each other.