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Thursday, April 10, 2014

20 Inexpensive Ways to Safeguard Your Home

Original Article

by Code Name Insight
Protecting your home and property is a given.  You want the things that you buy and the home that you live in to be safe and secure which has made home security a multi-million dollar industry what with home alarm companies, home protection camera systems, and even private security guards/security companies.  Here's some simple, inexpensive ways to safeguard your home.

  1. Choose a reasonably safe place to live.  If you are moving to a new house or apartment, do a bit of sleuthing around and figure out which neighborhoods are safer than others (start here).
  2. Put up a "beware of dog" sign.  You don't need an actual dog as the sign itself can be a deterrent.
  3. If you like and want a pet, choose a dog.  I know that there are dog people and there are cat people but dogs make a better guard/alarm system for your home than a cat.
  4. Buy new locks (or re-key your current locks) if it has been a while since this was done, especially if you have lost track of who has keys for your place.
  5. See if your neighborhood has a neighborhood watch program.  If such a program is available in your area, join up.  If it is not available, start one.
  6. Get to know your neighbors.  Ask them to call you and report anything unusual they see happening at your home and offer to do the same for them.
  7. Make sure basic repairs are made ASAP, especially if it impacts your home security.  Make sure all window and door locks are secure.  Make sure the garage door is secure.  Make sure outbuildings can be locked down tight.  Replace outdoor light bulbs as soon as you notice them burned out.
  8. Landscape for safety.  Make sure your doors and windows are visible and not hidden by overgrown bushes and shrubs.  Plant roses or other spiky/thorny bushes beneath windows.
  9. Light up for safety.  Install motion detector outdoor lights around your property.  Add flood lights at various places around your property if needed.  Make sure you can light up all of the property around your home with the flick of a switch from inside of your home.
  10. Hold regular home lock down drills in which your family locks down your home as quickly as possible. 
  11. Before you leave your home or go to bed at night make a sweep of your home to make sure all doors are locked, necessary exterior lights are turned on, all windows are closed and locked, the stove is turned off, nightlights are turned on, etc.
  12. See if your local $1 store or hardware store offers cheap window and door alarms.  These are basically two plastic pieces that attach to the door and the frame or two parts of a window.  There is a battery which creates an electrical current and if the pieces are jarred or moved a shrill alarm is set off.
  13. Set up a fake video security system around the exterior of your home (this is the cheap option and is a slight deterrent).
  14. Set up a real, wireless video security system around the interior and exterior of your home (this is more expensive).  Many of these systems can be monitored via computer or smartphone.
  15. Don't make it easy for burglars/intruders to enter your home (make sure they can't enter through a dog door, can't pull out a window AC unit and enter than way, that you don't leave your garage door open unless you are actively coming or going in this area, that you don't leave your front or back door unlocked--both while you are at home or while you are gone, that you don't "hide" a key outside in case you get locked out, etc).
  16. Don't do stupid stuff (like posting your vacation plans on Twitter or Facebook, never changing your alarm system code if you do have an alarm system, leaving a stack expensive looking stuff at the curb on garbage day like a MacBook box, an iPhone box, a box from your new 60" TV, etc).
  17. Hide your valuables when you leave your home (ie: stick your MacBook air under the sofa when you leave the house instead of leaving it on the table where it can be seen through a window; if you do have a safe, don't just stick it in your bedroom closet, hide it in the attic under a blanket of fiberglass insulation, etc).
  18. Keep your wallet, cell phone, and car keys on your nightstand instead of sitting by the front door or on the kitchen table where someone can see these items through a window or door.
  19. Be aware of who you let into your home.  Your home can be "cased" for a future burglary by your teenage kid's friends, door to door salespeople, etc.
  20. Make it look like someone is always home (don't allow mail or newspapers to pile up, keep the radio or TV on when you leave to make it sound like someone is home, use timers on your interior lights to make it look like someone is home/awake at various times during the day and night, etc).