This post is originally authored at the home security blog at family + home security.
If you’re limited in financial resources, the cost of a monitored home security system may not be within your budget. Although having a monitored home security system is one of the best ways to protect your home’s security, there are other tips you can use to make your home more secure. These low-cost methods rely a lot on your own common sense, as well as your ability to be creative.
1. Turn on the Lights.
It’s a statistical fact that burglars are much less likely to target a home that is well-lit. To a burglar, a house with lights on is a house where there is potentially someone home. Since a lot of a thief’s motivation is to be able to steal without getting caught, they will usually avoid burglarizing a house that is well-lit. Leave a few lights on when you leave home for a few hours, in order to help protect your home. If you’re worried about the electrical expense, switch to fluorescent light bulbs, which do not require as much electricity.
2. Keep Door Locks in Good Condition.
Another low-cost way that you can keep your home secure is to regularly test and maintain your locks. If you don’t have a deadbolt lock, it’s highly recommended that you install a deadbolt lock on your doors. Deadbolt locks offer increased security, and usually cost under $30. You can discover how to install a deadbolt lock by reading “Step by Step Tips for Installing a Deadbolt Lock“.
3. Keep Track of Your Keys.
Be sure that all copies of your house key are accounted for, and are not stored anywhere near the entrances to your home. Though it may be tempting to hide a house key under a flowerpot or doormat, remember, criminals are aware of these hiding spots too. If you want to have an accessible extra key, leave it with a trusted family member or neighbor for safekeeping.
4. Get a Guard Dog.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a family dog, you may also want to consider choosing a breed that can also make an effective guard dog. If you’re only looking for a dog that will alert you by barking at intruders, there are many breeds that make good “watchdogs” as well. When choosing a dog that will be good with other family members, you do need to exercise a bit of caution. You can read “Choosing the Best Family Guard Dog Breed” for more information.
5. Secure Your Windows.
A significant percentage of burglars are able to enter a home through an unlocked first-floor window. Remembering to lock your windows isn’t simply a precaution – it’s a necessity. Get into the habit of checking all of your windows before you leave the house, just as you would check that all of your doors are locked. Try to encourage other family members to follow this behavior as well.
6. Consider Installing Door/Window Alarms.
A door or window alarm is a simple device, and usually costs under $20. It operates by having two “contact points”, which are separated when a door or window is open. When this occurs, the device emits a high-pitched alarm to alert you of the intrusion. As a low-cost security option, window and door alarms are extremely effective. You can purchase these alarms at most home goods stores, usually in the same section as security lights and other devices.