Your home is the one place where you should feel safe and sound, and if you’re not feeling confident about its ability to keep intruders out–it’s time to beef up your security. Although installing an alarm system that’s closely monitored by a third party is a great way to protect your fortress, systems such as these may not fit comfortably within your budget. If you don’t have an alarm system and you can’t afford to get one, don’t worry just yet–there are many things you can do to improve your home security, and many of them don’t cost much at all.
Put Better Locks on Doors and Windows
One way to make your home more secure is to install stronger locks on all exterior doors and windows. Put deadbolt locks on doors that lead into and out of the home–all deadbolts should be at least 1″ in thickness. Check to see that all of your windows have locks and test them out so that you know they actually work. Locking all doors and windows before both entering and leaving your house is a good habit to get into, and consider the time of day and the neighborhood you live in before leaving them open for extended periods of time to let air in. If you want to open your windows, open the ones located on the second floor to make it more difficult for someone to break-in.
Use Lights Both Indoors and Out
Using lights both inside and outside is a great way to keep unwanted guests at bay. When there are lights on, it can be difficult for an intruder to determine whether or not you are home–and in many cases this can scare them off. Put motion-activated lights outside around main entrances to your home, side doors that are otherwise not very visible, and near entry points to your garage, if you have one. Whether you are home or not, don’t leave it pitch black. Turn on some lights and utilize a timer if you’re not there to turn them on and off. When using a timer for lights, change the pattern frequently so that someone scouting out the area doesn’t become privy to your security secrets.
Install Video Cameras
Installing a couple of security cameras near easy access door or windows may be enough to deter anyone from breaking in. Place them high out of reach, and put a protective cage around them if you’re worried about someone breaking them. If you can’t afford real cameras, install fake ones. A camera is a camera and someone that’s up to no good isn’t going to know that it isn’t the real deal.
Put Up Warning Signs
Even if you don’t have a professionally installed security system in your home, you can make it appear like you do. Fake security system signs and stickers can be found online–or if you really want to be sneaky, you can design your own and have them professionally printed. Also, warning signs that indicate a guard dog on the premises can be intimidating to intruders. If it looks like a dangerous dog resides at your house, the trespasser may not want to press his or her luck and will most likely move on.
Get a House-Sitter
If you’re going to be away on vacation or frequently travel for business, ask someone to watch your home and property while you’re gone. If you have a reliable neighbor, ask them to maintain some of your daily routine so that it looks like you’re actually there. Simple things like getting the mail, collecting the morning paper, watering flowers and plants, taking out the trash, or even mowing the lawn will hide the fact that nobody’s home. If you don’t have a neighbor that can help you out, ask a close friend or family member that lives nearby to keep an eye on things until you get back.
Maintain a Home Insurance Policy
Although an insurance policy can’t prevent someone from breaking and entering into your home, it will compensate you for stolen items and help you clean up the mess an intruder leaves behind. Update your policy on an annual basis, and pay your premiums on time to avoid any lapse in coverage. Home insurance can provide some much-needed relief should the unthinkable occur.
As you can see, there are many ways to improve the security of your home without spending a lot of money. You and your family’s safety should always be a top priority. By making your home more secure, you and your family members will feel more at ease both at home and away.
Guest post from Chris Black. Chris writes for RentersInsurance.com.