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Low Cost Home Security Tips

Updated on January 18, 2015
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© 2013 Express10

No matter where you live or how much or how little you have, it's yours and you've likely worked hard to acquire it. Once your things are damaged or stolen, you will not easily regain your peace of mind in your own home. There are many ways that you can prevent a theft, assault, or worse by being vigilant and mindful of the things that you do. You don't have to purchase a home security system or move into a gated community if those are not things you wish to do or can't afford to do. Home security should start with your habits and this is just one of many low cost home security tips.

Keep all of your windows and doors locked and teach your children and visitors to do the same. This includes screen and storm doors. Make sure that all window and door locks work properly and repair or replace ASAP if they do not. If you enjoy getting fresh air, make sure you lock the windows (and any entry doors) when you leave that room, don't leave windows and doors open for extended periods of time when an area or room is unoccupied. Crooks can make quick work of getting in, even during broad daylight in the best of neighborhoods.

Some homeowners prefer out swing doors because they can be more difficult to be kicked in and do a noticeably better job of keeping wind and weather out of your home when installed properly and kept in good repair. The same principle is at work if you can choose casement or crank out windows. While these aren't among the lowest cost options, they can be helpful security wise and contribute to the energy efficiency of your home as well. Another low cost home security option is putting a deadbolt on your door. Don't neglect to actually use it.

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Spare Keys, Refuse To Live In A Fish Bowl, Lights

Never leave any spare keys outside your home and be sure to take your keys out of the door immediately after you've opened it. When the sun begins to set, make sure that all of your blinds and curtains are closed. This is one of the best low cost security tips that too many people simply ignore. You may need to keep your windows and blinds closed during the day or night to keep people from looking in, studying, literally casing the material things you have and your habits to help them plot a burglary or suggest one to a criminal minded friend. Take into account how close your home is to the street or sidewalk and the typical times of day you spend at home. At night it is very easy to see inside a home with even the faintest of lights on inside when the windows are not well covered.

In addition, make sure your exterior lights are on at night or switch to motion sensing lights if they are allowed in your neighborhood. You don't need floodlights on 24/7 to tell crooks they are not welcome. You should also consider plugging various items into a timer such as lamps, t.v.'s. or radios when you are away. This gives the impression that someone is at home and many crooks would find somewhere else to go. Set the timers to activate the items during the day or night, whenever you are gone. These timers can be found at many hardware stores and online. You may wish to get a timer for your exterior lights as well.

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Privacy To Reduce Crime, Window A/C's

Keep your belongings as well as comings and goings off of the web and out of the neighborhood gossip. Too many people seek attention online and off but they don't think about the potential consequences of this dangerous and silly behavior. Never mention anything online about trips, gifts, new purchases, electronics, etc. More than a few people have had their homes burglarized with the assistance of this information. Others have suffered burglaries, attacks, or worse all because they chose to share private details online. Monitor your child's activities online to make sure they always adhere to this rule as well. Bullies, pedophiles, and others could take info your child puts online and put you all in jeopardy.

Having a neighborhood watch could be helpful, but in too many neighborhoods the term neighbor doesn't mean much. In some unfortunate cases, you may find that at least a couple of your neighbors are among the very people you are trying to protect your home and belongings from. You may also find that other neighbors use any and all interactions with you as their prime gossip topic. This behavior happens regardless of what type of neighborhood you live in or how much your home is worth. Crime has no boundaries. You will simply need to be careful of which neighbors if any, whom you trust with personal information or access to your home.

If you have a window A/C unit, especially on the first or second floor, make sure it is screwed into the window sash or frame. It's most common for thieves to push in the A/C on the first and second floors of a home, don't be tempted to think they won't bring a ladder or create one to get up to the second floor as well. As for windows on the third floor and higher, you still should be careful not to leave your windows unlocked and be sure any window A/C's are securely screwed in. While it's highly unlikely a crook will bring a 30 or 35 foot ladder to get into your home or apartment three stories up, stranger things have happened.

Also, don't leave piles of debris, tools, furniture, etc. outside. Lock down or remove ladders and other things that may be used to break into your home or simply could be stolen. The idea behind low cost home security is to take away any opportunity and to make your home less desirable to thieves. Make it as hard for them as possible so they don't even try.

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Dogs And Security Systems

While some might argue with the low cost aspect of home security, getting a yippy dog or two might deter intruders. Having a dog inside and one outside may be even more of a deterrent. Seeing the first dog outside the home could make thieves find another target to rob and hearing a second dog inside the home may ward off anyone who slipped past the exterior dog. In case your home is burglarized despite having interior and exterior dogs, that person could know you and have something very personal against you. This type of problem is more dangerous than random thieves.

Get a security system and use the window stickers or lawn signs that are provided. The costs of getting a home security system could well be worth it. It simply doesn't make sense to wait until you are robbed to get one. If you don't wish to go this route, remember that you can also purchase security cameras from stores such as security stores or even Wal-Mart and mount these on each exterior side of your home or at entryways. If you are not very tech savvy, you can have someone set everything up for you or you could get a professional security company to secure your home. Sign up for a monitoring service that allows you to view your home from interior cameras while you are away at work or on a trip. Monitoring systems are also very handy to see what the babysitter, repairman, nurse, or nanny are up to.

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Common Sense

Another low cost home security tip is to never leave your garage door open for extended periods, even while doing the lawn or having a "quick" chat. Just one criminal minded passer by or even a neighbor can see what type of entry door you have leading into your home through your garage and try breaking into your home. Others may simply love the tools or vehicles they see and covet them so much they decide to make a go of stealing them...whether you're home or not. It is common for crooks to sneak into the garage to afford themselves more cover and time to break in through this weaker entry door. If your garage door that leads to the interior of your home is the typical builder's grade door, it will be easy to get through or will likely even be unlocked. Crooks know this. Get a steel entry door that leads from the garage into your home for extra security and make sure it's locked unless it's in use.

If you have any valuables in your home, don't ever think that you are "hiding" them in your master bedroom, it's closet, or under your bed. Find a less obvious place to locate a safe and your valuables or simply do not keep cash or jewelry or other valuables in your home. You can get a deposit box at a local bank, put a safe in a detached garage, in your laundry room, in your pantry, a kitchen cabinet...the less thought of places are numerous.

Also, avoid leaving delivery boxes, electronics boxes, or Christmas gift boxes outside for anyone to see. If you receive deliveries regularly and this is not possible, at the very least put up a sign that tells people entering delivery areas/entryways that they are under video surveillance so they will think twice about walking up and walking off with your things. If they are bold enough to actually do so, you'll have evidence. Break boxes down and put them into trash cans so they cannot be read by anyone who isn't willing to go through your trash to see what you may have. Coordinate deliveries for your place of work, family, friend, or a stay at home neighbor that has proven to you that they can be trusted. You may also request to pick up your delivery at a local depot or store if this option is available.

Contact your local police station for additional low cost home security tips that may help you and your family stay safe. Vigilance is key to security no matter where you are.

© 2012 Express10

Video By HomeRemodelWorkshop

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    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks LyricWriter. I had to learn the hard way and hope this hub prevents others from doing so.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up and useful. These are great tips. Our valuables are priceless and it truly does pay to be prepared for anything. You can't go wrong with cameras. They are out there and affordable. A big dog is a help also. Informative article Express 10.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I am worried either way, but definitely more so if I were to be at home if this were to happen to me ever again. As for unlocked cars, the owners can easily resolve that. Thanks for stopping by.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Don't worry much about people breaking in when I'm not home. Stuff is expendable. What worries me is when I am home. Good information.

      The crooks in our neighborhood just take stuff out of the unlocked cars.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks so much. It is very sad and it is not smart to get lulled into a false sense of security. I don't want to make anyone paranoid or overly cautious, but having my home robbed during broad daylight really opened my eyes.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I am glad that you and your husband are okay. That is very frightening. Stay safe.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thank you so much. Better safe than sorry.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great advice - I especially liked the tip to keep your garage door closed so that people cannot see what type of doors you have. It is indeed sad that we have to worry about home security to this degree.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      Very good information. We have implemented some of these things at our home in Brazil. We were robbed after being here for 12 days.

      We now have locks and a metal bollard on our gate. We had a local welder make it. He had never seen one before. We have 3 dogs and Joy L Anderson is correct. We had a thief arrive with treats for our dog. He was stealing our fish while the dog ate. We also have bars on the windows which I love because I can leave the windows open. We have 12 rows of barbed wire running the perimeter of our property.

      Security lights, cameras etc.

      It is ashame we have to have all this but having a knife held to my throat and a gun to my husband's head, I feel it is necessary.

      Now if someone enters our house to rob us, we have a Brazilian Mastiff who will start what we will finish.

      The police here are great. We had to call them once and they arrived in 4 minutes. Here, criminals may get off too lightly in the courts, as they do everywhere, but if thieves are in your home the right to protect your home and property is still accepted here.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Excellent advice and well-written hub. I probably should lock the house while I'm out in the garden, but I seldom do.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Sad to think that we have to be so security conscious all of the time in this day and age, but that is reality. Your tips on home security were excellent ones. I remember the days when all of this was unnecessary, many years ago. Voted up, useful and will share.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks Charlu. I spent a couple years in Lake Arrowhead, CA living in a very safe place but I still locked up at every opportunity. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

      Great info for keeping yourself and belongings safe. I live in the boonies about 150 yds from the road and nearest neighbor probably 3/4 mile but at night and when I go to town I still lock up. Thanks for all the tips. Voted up, useful interesting

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I hope it helps you. Our homes should be our castle without fear and worry of intruders whether you are or are not at home.

    • Joy L Anderson profile image

      Joy L Anderson 5 years ago

      I like the video camera idea! That's a good one.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      That is very frightening. Perhaps you should get pepper spray, a taser, or a gun. I would ask for increased patrols in the area and get a motion sensing light outside the area they are trying to break into. But don't rest on your laurels after making this request. Keep in mind this will not deter a fair number of crooks. Maybe you could get a video camera mount it so that you can get a view of these people and then take that video to police AND post that video online to sites such as YouTube. You can also buy reasonably priced home security cameras online and off.

    • Joy L Anderson profile image

      Joy L Anderson 5 years ago

      @express10 I just wanted to update you. We found pry marks on our back door last night. I'm not sure when they got there but it has been SINCE getting the alarm. The room they would have broken into has some valuables they weren't able to get the 1st time. Which means my theory is right: they think they can trip the alarm, get what they want, and get gone before police arrive. I just hope they aren't desperate enough to come when we are home.

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 5 years ago from Thailand

      Excellent tips in this troubled world. We are getting paranoid for good reason. Living in a gated community has shielded me to a large extent. It is frightening to think that another person can invade your home and privacy, while police and technology stand by helpless. Voted up and shared.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      It is so frightening knowing that someone invaded your home. I don't want to taint your frame of mind just because I could never get back to the same level of comfort. People are different and it's possible that you can and probably will never have to deal with this type of thing happening to you ever again.

    • Joy L Anderson profile image

      Joy L Anderson 5 years ago

      I'm really having issues with that as well. Even with the new alarm I get very nervous when I have to come home to an empty house. I had a scare this morning that ended up being nothing (cat, actually) and I'm still a little shaky.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks, some were learned the hard way after a break in at my home in broad daylight while I was at work.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Wow, I hadn't heard of that one. The officers that investigated the burglary of my home recommended that I get a dog as there were no others homes that had any outside and because I was a single female. I was never comfortable in that home again.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      very good security reminders and tips :)

    • Joy L Anderson profile image

      Joy L Anderson 5 years ago

      The officer that investigated our robbery said that if they know you have dogs, they will often bring treats. We have 2 dogs, one small, one not so small and it wasn't a deterrent at all..

      Good article! Unfortunately most people are like I used to be and probably won't follow any of the advice on these articles until they are already robbed. I just didn't think anyone would want anyone that we had enough to go to the trouble of breaking in to our house. Wrong.