06 February 2015
Increasing Your Home Security on a Budget

Think a burglary can’t happen to you? In your neighborhood?

The FBI reports that in 2010 a burglary took place in the U.S. every 14.6 seconds.* That’s four a minute, 240 an hour. Burglaries happen – and they could happen to you and your family.

However, home security systems can be expensive, and you pay by the month – month after month after month. It adds up, but for some families, this level of home security provides peace of mind.

You can lower the likelihood of becoming a burglary victim without spending a lot of money. Here are some low- and no-cost tips to help keep the bad guys away and your home safer.

Call the cops. Your local police department may offer a free risk assessment of your home, pointing out potential problems that can be fixed for little or no money. Arrange to have a police official show you how to make your home safer.

Form a neighborhood crime watch. First, it’s a great way to meet the neighbors. Second, it creates a community of potential crime fighters. And third, it works. Neighbors looking out for neighbors. It’s a natural way to help lower local crime, build a sense of community, and make new friends.

Many police departments will help set up a community crime watch program. Give them a call, get some signs up, and lower the likelihood of a burglary where you live.

Clean up the homestead. Trim the bushes. This makes the house look “lived in” while providing less cover for a burglar looking for an unlocked window.

Paste security stickers on all entryways. You don’t have to pay the price of home security to get some of the benefits. A few fake stickers, available on the Internet, will help deter door handle “jigglers” – novices looking for easy pickings.

Lock doors and windows, even if you’re just running to the store. Burglars don’t know you’re making a quick run to the store for milk, and the last thing you want is to interrupt a burglar inside your home, so lock up, even for a quick run.

Upgrade door locks. Add a couple of deadbolts so your entryway doors can’t be kicked in while you’re kicked back on vacation. Good deadbolts may keep out the rookies looking for an easier target than your lock-tight house.

Add lights. Burglars hate lights. They like to work in the dark where there’s less chance of getting spotted. A few flood lights, controlled by simple-to-install motion detectors, will shine a light on bad guys.

Teach your kids. From the time they can reach the doorknob, teach your children not to open the door to strangers. Keep doors locked even when you’re home, and make sure your children know who can come in and who can’t. It’s a good idea to teach older kids the house alarm code if you use one. Teach them how to set the alarm before leaving the house empty.

Get a dog. And if you don’t want a dog, get a few BEWARE OF DOG signs. You don’t need a big, junkyard dog to keep the kids safe. Just put up a few signs to let burglars know that Fido is on the prowl. Again, burglars look for easy targets, and signs warning of a mean, barking dog, do not indicate an easy target, so the bad guys may move on.

It doesn’t take a bundle to make your home safer from burglaries. Lock it up. Spruce it up. Add some security hardware and lighting, and a few stickers and signs, and chances are you won’t look like an easy target.

 

*www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/standard-links/national-data

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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