Home security can be a luxury many middle and working class families simply think they can’t afford. Fancy alarms and camera systems are only for the rich, right? Well, perhaps. However, there are plenty of things the average consumer can do to protect their home with minimal financial investment.
First, assess what areas you feel need work. If you have poor lighting by your back door, you can install motion-activated floodlights purchased at your local home improvement store for under $30. These are usually easy to mount, and often are battery-powered to avoid the need for wiring.
Consider a ‘dummy’ camera mounted to your home, or pop for a very simple, model of the real thing for a little more than $100 at most electronics suppliers. These cameras come easy-to-install, are weatherproof, and you can hook them up to a computer feed to remotely monitor activity from the internet, or feed into a VCR to record, or a TV for live viewing within your home.
The fake eye-in-the-sky will be considerably cheaper, running you between $5-20 (depending on realism and where you purchase it) for a reasonable facsimile of the real thing. It may not be as useful in the event of an actual incident, but it should deter most nefarious characters from loitering or tampering in its presence.
More great fake-outs include stickers and signs that advertise an alarm system and monitoring service are in effect on a property. True, not everyone who has a sign has an alarm, and not everyone who has an alarm has a sign. And yes, criminals do know that. However, most evil-doers aren’t going to take the chance that you’re pulling a fast one when your neighbor down the street has nothing posted at all.
Don’t neglect to change locks when moving into a new home. Too many homeowners forget that even if they bought new, various real estate agents, contractors and builders may have copies of the key to their home. If others have occupied your home before you, there’s no telling the number of copies floating around. For an average front door, back door, and patio door, you can do this job yourself for under $100 with supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store. You may also consult a locksmith, but you will pay for labor as well as materials.
A dog can provide a wonderful measure of ‘budget’ security, in several ways. A dog’s bark can be enough to quickly dispatch someone attempting to break in, or trespass on your property. Depending on the breed and size, dogs have the potential to provide a good measure of physical protection as well, or at least present as such. My dog is a big old pussy cat with the family, but when a stranger comes knocking, believe me, I know about it. Dogs can cost no more, and often less, than an average monitored alarm system (around $30 per month, after initial costs), with far more benefits. However, as living creatures, dogs always have the potential to become more expensive, due to injury, liability,or other unforeseen costs.
For a cheaper alternative, with at least half the potential benefit, consider a fake-out barking device. You can expect to spend up to $100 on this device, however it is a one-time purchase that will help protect your home for years to come. Some models can even detect movement through walls or other barriers, so you can be alerted (and the trespasser be scared off) before any further violation occurs.
There are also many kits available to help the do-it-yourselfer get more protection without breaking the bank. These kits often cost a couple hundred bucks, and are either unmonitored, or require service agreements at an additional monthly fee, but are fairly easy to employ in your home, with no prior knowledge of the system. These systems offer motion-sensors, window and door breach alarms, and panic buttons (when hooked up to a monitoring service).
For more information on these and other choices in home security, visit this site:
Whatever you choose, keep in mind there are several free things you can do to improve your home security. Keep bushes and hedges under windows well-trimmed, keep your property well-lit, and be aware of your surroundings when entering and exiting your home. Keep an eye out for suspicious people in the neighborhood, and pay attention to inconsistencies in the way you left your home when you arrive back.
If you notice a door or window ajar that wasn’t earlier, and it cannot be easily explained away, immediately clear the area and call the police. Notice a group of kids loitering on your street, watching you as you leave? Drive around the block, and swing back by a few minutes later, just to check. Simple as it sounds, keeping vigilant and aware is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect yourself!