You see on the evening news that there have been several home break-ins in your area. Suddenly you begin to notice people walking the streets that you haven't seen before. Strange noises at night have you wondering if someone is casing your house. For peace of mind, you decide to add security features to your home. Researching on the internet, you find that there are several companies that will sell you thousands of dollars worth of equipment and charge you for a monthly service plan.
But you begin to think: Do I really need to shell out big money just to protect my living space? If you're like most people, the answer is that you really don't. Unless word has gotten out about your solid gold coffee table, you're probably fine taking one of the following inexpensive security measures.
Put Your Dog on the Case
If you've got a canine companion, have it sleep next to the front door, which is where most thieves enter a home. The idea isn't to have Fido attack intruders, but rather do enough barking to scare them away.
Don't Broadcast Your Plans
Burglars are pretty technologically savvy these days. They have been known to check the social media accounts of their neighbors to see when they are planning a vacation. Never post on any of your social media pages the times when you will be away from home. Also strongly consider low-tech measures to avoid letting the world know you are away from home. Have your newspaper subscription and mail put on hold while you are away and ask a friend to check in on your place at different times of day.
Lock Up Well
Believe it or not, a significant number of home invasions occur because the owners forgot to lock up. In addition to being diligent about securing your property, also think about how much protection your doors and windows give you. If your doors don't have a deadbolt and reinforcement plate, you should add them now.
Shows Signs of Security
It may sound like a superficial step, but simply placing signs or stickers for a security system around your property could make the difference between being robbed and being skipped over. Law enforcement officials confirm this time and time again. You can find the signage for sale cheap on eBay.
Light it Up
Another easy step that could send a thief packing is to install motion-sensor lights around your house. The last thing a criminal wants is to be in the spotlight. If you are away from home a lot, considering installing a light timer that can turn on your inside lights on and off at random times or set intervals even while you are away.
Make Friends with Your Neighbors
A common ploy criminals use is to pose as a moving company and walk off with all your stuff in broad daylight. Often folks who live right next to the victims say nothing because they think it's just a sign that the occupants are relocating. If you know the people who live around you, they are much more likely to step in and ask questions if something doesn't seem right. These same friends may also be willing to look in on the place when you are away.
Install a Camera
It may sound like something from a TV program, but burglars really do case homes to see which look like easy targets. If they see a few security cameras mounted around the home, it can change their estimation of your house's desirability to rob. The kicker is that the cameras only have to appear to work.
No Display Cases
More often than not, the person looking to rob you is not a diabolical career criminal cat burglar, but a local person who is just desperate for something they can sell fast. If a peek in the window makes your home look like a mini-department store full of fancy electronics, jewelry and other items easily sold on the black market, you may just be increasing the chances you will be robbed. You don't necessarily have to lock up everything in a safe each night, but try to keep it out of the view of prying eyes.
Make Glass More Like Walls
Security film is a great way to start with making your windows less criminal-friendly. This relatively inexpensive measure makes your windows harder to break, meaning a burglar would have to create a lot of ruckus trying to get through. If you have sliding doors, always put a dowel in the gutter to make it harder for an intruder to force open the door.
Hi-Tech but Low-Cost Solutions
There are a number of James Bond-y gadgets that don't cost a lot but can make your home more secure. One of the most popular these days, commonly known as a wireless or doorstop alarm system, is a fairly simple combination of motion-sensors and alarms. If anyone trips the motion-sensors while you have them turned on, a loud, burglar-scaring noise is blasted. If you want to go even more high-tech, you can install an app on your smart mobile device that will notify you if the alarm has gone off, give you the option of calling the police.
Another simple but effective gizmo is the fake TV light generator. Designed to give the impression that someone is watching TV in your home, this device shines lights on your windows that look just like someone is inside zoning out to the latest reality show. Instead of leaving your TV on the whole time you are away, this gadget allows you to give the impression that someone is home without facing a staggering electric bill.
If you are going to sleep better with a set-up that has all the latest and greatest features, and you can fit the cost into your budget, you can certainly consider going with a full-on alarm system. However, it's important to know that are many steps you can take to secure your belongings that won't mean having to sell them off to pay for it.