Obviously, you want your family to be safe and secure, no matter what. But investing in a security system or high-tech security upgrades can get expensive fast. Fortunately, most threats are crimes of opportunity; thieves take advantage of low security standards for personal gain. Accordingly, all it takes are a few simple upgrades to deter most crimes.
Low-Budget Home Security Tips
These tips can keep your home safer, without costing you a ton of money.
- Shop around. Home security systems are less expensive than you might expect. Research the home security companies available in your area, and get a feel for what type of packages you can get for your budget. Chances are, you can find a monthly offer that fits with your family’s budget and still provides you with some security basics (like an alarm system and ongoing monitoring). If you shop around, you can ensure you get the best possible deal.
- Install simple window locks. Your windows may come with a locking mechanism outright, but it’s probably not very strong—especially if your windows are more than a few years old. Fortunately, additional window locks are inexpensive and relatively easy to install. It only takes a few minutes per window, and you’ll instantly make them harder to open or break into from the outside.
- Get some motion-detecting lights. Research suggests that better lighting leads to lower crime rates. The best-lit neighborhoods and streets tend to have fewer break-ins, but at the same time, you don’t want obnoxious spotlights around your house. The inexpensive solution is to install motion-detecting lights, which kick on when someone (or something) moves around your property. They’re highly useful for scaring away would-be burglars.
- Change the door locks. If you haven’t changed the locks after moving in, change them now. It’s painfully easy to gain access to a house if you have a duplicate of an old key. Plus, newer locks tend to be more durable and more secure. It might cost you a few hundred dollars, depending on what type of lock you’re interested in, but it could do wonders for your home security.
- Upgrade your door security. Speaking of doors, consider installing additional security on your front door and any side or back doors you have. A stronger deadbolt or an additional lock could dramatically increase its defense against intruders.
- Be smart with your spare key. Too many people make the mistake of hiding their spare key in an obvious location, immediately outside the front door. Burglars know all the common tricks, including hiding keys in fake rocks, so try to be clever. Keep your spare key with people if you can, and if you must hide it, hide it somewhere very difficult to access.
- Hide (and/or secure) your valuables. If someone does gain access to your home, you’ll want to make sure your valuables are secure. A strong safe will only cost you a few hundred dollars and should keep most of your goods in a reliably secure position. Alternatively, you can hide your valuables somewhere a thief wouldn’t consider looking.
- Keep the lights on indoors. If a burglar thinks you’re home, they probably won’t try to break in. It’s too much of a risk and too much of a hassle. You can simulate being home by keeping the lights on, or putting them on timers so they turn on and off at regular intervals. Just make sure the patterns aren’t too regular, or someone casing your property could easily learn them.
- Pay attention to crime in the neighborhood. Pay attention to what’s going on in your neighborhood. Some thieves try to target properties in the same area, since they have similar features, so if you hear that your neighbors have been the victims of break-ins, it’s a sign you should step up your own home security.
- Vacation wisely. When you go on vacation or otherwise leave the house for several days in a row, take some extra security measures. Consider getting a house sitter so your home is regularly attended, and make sure you either put your mail service on hold or have someone pick it up regularly.
Taking It to the Next Level
These security upgrades and tips will keep you and your family safer, but they aren’t foolproof. No home is impossible to break into, and there are far more upgrades you could make, assuming you have the budget for them. If you’re interested in building your home security further, look into maximizing the security of your doors and windows, and invest in more high-tech gear like cameras. Just make sure you do your research before finalizing any of your decisions.