I’m fortunate enough to live in a nice neighborhood, but last year when I learned there had been some break-ins nearby, I started thinking about the security of my home. According to the FBI, in 2015 more than 1.5 million burglaries occurred in the U.S. for an estimated $3.6 billion in property losses. It’s something you may not think about until something happens near you, or to you, but it’s important to be prepared. Of course an easy solution is to get an alarm system, or a DIY security system, but they can be pricey. Today I’m going to look at some ways to achieve affordable home security so you can protect your family and your possessions.
Affordable Home Security Tips
The number one way to secure your home is through solid deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. You should change the locks when you first move in, anytime you lose your keys, and after a bad breakup with anyone who has a key, even if they return your copy. Do not keep an extra copy of your key in your mailbox or anywhere on your grounds that a would-be burglar can find.
Make sure the exterior of your home is well lighted, especially the front and entryway. Motion-sensor flood lights at the rear and near the garage can deter thieves as well.
Check your landscaping. Overgrown bushes near your doors and/or windows can provide cover for burglars, making your home an attractive target.
4. Sliding Doors
Sliding glass doors can be especially difficult to secure against break-ins. Even if you lock them, the locks usually involve a simple latch which can be jiggled open. Be sure to place a wooden dowel or metal bar in the track so that the doors can’t be opened from outside. Or purchase a security bar lock specially made for sliding doors.
Windows are another weak point of security. Make sure yours are locked when not in use and if you’re replacing them, consider shatter-proof glass.
6. Storing Valuables
It’s common wisdom to secure your valuables in a sock or underwear drawer, or even a freezer, but this wisdom is commonly known among thieves as well. Instead, consider a home safe or rely on a safety deposit box.
If you must hide valuables in your home, you can do what I used to do back when I was working the flea market and as a result kept a lot of cash in the house. I purchased a “diversion safe” that looked like an electrical outlet in the wall, but actually held my cash. Diversion safes come in all sorts of disguises such as dictionaries or closet lights.
7. Alarm System Signs
Consider posting an alarm system sign on your property. It doesn’t matter whether you actually have an alarm system…the sign itself serves as a deterrent. Fake security cameras and “beware of dog” signs are also available for this purpose.
Maintain a good relationship with your neighbors. Why is this important? Well, not only are they likely to be the ones calling the police when you’re not home, but they can be the guardian of your spare key (instead of hiding it outside your home) and when you’re away, they can pick up newspapers or flyers so it doesn’t look like you’re not home.
9. Stop Delivery
If you’ll be away and you don’t have a neighbor take your mail and newspapers, be sure to alert the post office and the newspaper to stop delivery until you return. Piled up mail and newspapers are a signal to burglars that your home isn’t occupied.
Most burglars look for opportunities when the residents aren’t at home. When you’re not at home, use inexpensive timers on the lights and TV to make it look like you are. If you have smart home accessories, you can even control these right from your smartphone.
11. Social Media
Don’t announce on social media when you’re going away. This includes checking in at different destinations or posting your tropical pictures. You don’t want to announce to any would-be thieves that your home is ripe for the picking.
12. When You’re Home
When you are home, it’s helpful to have a good-sized peephole to check out strangers who come to the door. If they claim to be from a utility or other company, ask for identification before opening the door.
While most burglaries are done when no one is home, that doesn’t mean you should relax your guard, especially if you’re going to sleep for the night. Be sure to lock your doors and windows (if not in use). And if you need a little extra security, you can always sleep with a baseball bat near the bed like I do. 😉
Of course while you should implement as many of these solutions as possible, nothing replaces the peace of mind that comes with adequate homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Yes, this does cost money, but it’s worth the investment to protect your property. However your policy does little good if you can’t document your claims. Be sure to create a home inventory complete with photos and serial numbers for proof.
If your home has been broken into, don’t go inside. The burglars may still be inside and it’s not worth your safety to find out. Call the police from a cell phone or a neighbor’s house.
It would be a wonderful world if none of us had to worry about the safety of our property. Unfortunately it’s just a fact of life that we need to guard against. Make sure your house is as secure as possible using these affordable home security methods, and you’ll feel a little safer.
Have you ever had a break-in? What strategies do you use to keep your home safe and secure? Would you have the nerve to hit an intruder with a baseball bat?