We’ve all seen the Hollywood movies where wealthy CEOs or oil tycoons are basking on the verandas of their mansions, protected by two black dobermans and a couple of dark-suited guards wearing sunglasses. Most of us don’t have mansions, let alone the matching dogs and personal militia, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our home security or sense of protection. In fact, it’s easier and easier these days to protect your home, family and belongings without spending a lot or giving up high-tech features.
According to the Department of Justice, in 2011 there were more than 3.3 million burglaries in the U.S. While this number is down from its peak in 1994, the percentage of high-value items reported stolen, such as appliances or electronics, was up in 2011, as was the median dollar amount of items stolen (from $389 to $600). As people commonly own valuable electronics such as flat screen TVs or cellphones, the importance of taking safety measures remains high.
Here are some easy and low-cost ways to keep your home safe:
If your home has shrubbery or trees that make for easy hiding places, cut them back or eliminate them completely. The same is true with sheds or other structures that obscure the view from the road. Consider relocating any structure that obstructs the view to another part of your property.
Secure the Access Points
Windows and doors are common ways thieves access your home. Make sure your windows have locks; these are inexpensive to add and easy to install. Just keep the key nearby so you have easy access in case of an emergency. Buy the locks from the same manufacturer so the keys fit all locks universally. When it comes to doors, install a deadbolt if you don’t have one. Or, if you have the budget to replace your door, Pella makes impact-resistant doors with lock mechanisms in three locations, which makes it difficult or impossible for an invader to kick or force the door open.
Get a Security Camera System
Camera systems aren’t just for the rich and famous anymore. Now just about anybody can afford a home security system, and we’re not talking about the kind that comes with monthly or ongoing fees. Starting at about $380, you can have your own complete system, including cameras, a digital video recorder and a monitor. Look for important features such as remote connectivity (for monitoring from your mobile device), night vision and weatherproofing. Oftentimes, thieves will even avoid your house entirely at the sight a camera system.
Vary When You Come and Go
Thieves watch houses and look for patterns. Make your habits of coming and going unpredictable. This will lessen the likelihood a burglar will see your home as a target. And, it won’t cost you a dime.
Monitor Your Home With Your Phone
If you have an iPhone or an Android, it’s easy to monitor your home from wherever you are. These systems allow you to set a schedule for your lights, control multiple lights simultaneously, and keep track of motion-activated lights. When combined with your security cameras, you’ll have peace of mind wherever you are.
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