Ways To Improve Your Home Security
The days when home security had to cost an arm and a leg are behind us. Today there are all types of extremely high-tech (as well as some dependable low-tech) gadgets available that will ward off intruders intent on turning your things into their things. And the best part is that none of them are going to break your bank. There are many ways to get rid of an intruder but if you can avoid an intruder- even better. Below we look at 10 great low-cost ways to make your home more secure.
Install Smart Locks
Keys ruled the roost for the centuries on end but their hegemony is finally being challenged by the advent of the smart lock. The smart lock allows you to control access to your home via your smartphone. You can come and go as you please without ever having to search for your key. You can monitor who is coming and going from the house no matter where you are in the world. And some smart locks can be voice activated.
Smart locks are easier to install than you think and they won’t cost more than an afternoon at the ballgame with the kids. And speaking of the kids, you won’t have to wonder who your teenagers are bringing into the house while you’re away because you’ll be able to see exactly who is entering and exiting from your hotel in Tokyo or London. You’ll also know exactly when they leave as well.
Get a Dog
In many cases, the absolute best alarm system/security system you can have is a dog with an impressive bark and a stout heart. Often times all a burglar has to do is hear your dog barking as he approaches a door or window to decide it’s just not worth it and move on to the next house (who hopefully also has a faithful watchdog guarding the premises). Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a Rottweiler, German shepherd or Doberman. Any medium-sized K9 will do the trick.
Just remember a dog is not a security device. It’s a living, breathing, highly intelligent animal. As such you need to be 100% committed to the long term well-being of that dog before you bring it home. If you aren’t able to make the necessary commitment, that’s fine. Just try some of the other security methods on this list instead.
Don’t Leave the Porch Light On
In the days of yore (way back in the 20th century), it was common for people to turn on their porch light when they went away. When the sun went down the illuminated porch was supposed to give the impression someone was home. Problem is, Ye Olde Porch Light Trick almost never worked in the days of yore and it isn’t going to fool anybody today. You have to assume they’re on to the fact that you’re not home and take appropriate precautions.
One of the smartest and most affordable things to do is to install outdoor lights and motion detectors. This way if someone approaches one of your ground floor windows or sneaks onto your porch while you’re away they’re immediately bathed in light. You could also hook the motion detector up to an audible alarm. Although you have to be more careful in that case because you don’t want falling leaves or squirrels triggering sirens all night and driving your neighbors crazy.
Install a Security Camera (or Two)
Security cameras have become an omnipresent aspect of modern life for one very simple reason: they work. Like guard dogs the mere presence of security cameras is often enough to chase away would-be intruders. Another great thing about security cameras is that, in the decades since they first gained widespread acceptance, their cost has plummeted. Today you can get all types of highly effective, easy to use, WiFi enabled security cameras for less than a good pair of athletic shoes.
When buying security cameras be mindful of the resolution (you should shoot for 1080p), whether it’s smartphone compatible, whether it provides night vision (most, but not all, do these days) and whether it provides a backup power source. Because you don’t want your security camera failing during a power outage when your smart home is most vulnerable.
Make Sure Your Valuables Aren’t Visible from Outside
This may be easier said than done but if you can do it your home will be a bit more secure. The idea is to set up your valuable high tech devices, Ultra HDTV, artwork, computer and other things worth stealing in such a way that they are not visible to anyone who might peer into the window while you’re asleep or away. Also, make sure your valuables like jewelry, money watches are safely stashed in your home safe.
Many times breaking and entering weasels case your home before deciding whether it’s worth breaking into or not. They go from window to window seeing what you have and weighing the potential risk of prying open your door or breaking a window against the potential reward. If they can’t see your $3,000 TV or your Mac or your original Warhol lithograph it’s likely they’ll take a pass and check out another house where they can see what is available before they break in. Keep in mind too that if you put the box for that big, expensive TV out at the sidewalk for the trashman everyone who passes by, including any burglars, will know you just bought a $3,000 TV. Instead, cut the box up into pieces and put those pieces in a trash bag.
Invest in Anti-Theft Landscaping
One of the best, most cost-effective ways of keeping burglars from entering your home via the windows is to plant thorny bushes under those windows. Invest in rose bushes, gooseberries, crataegus and other plants with attractive blooms and painful thorns.
Statistics prove that thorny bushes are among the most effective means for preventing intrusion ever devised. In the mind of a burglar, no TV is worth the pain of coming out a window and landing on the long spiny thorns of the crataegus bush. And while you can’t put roses in front of the entryways to the house, once you eliminate the windows as a potential point of entry all you have to focus on securing are the doors.
Don’t Let Social Media Betray You
Social media is a great way for friends and loved ones to keep up with you while you’re away on vacation. Unfortunately, it can also be an easy way for tech-savvy burglars to know that your home is empty. Some spend all their time surfing various social media landscapes to look for those people in their area who have indicated they are on vacation or out of town on business.
Once they know your name and town and that you’re not home it doesn’t take much cross-referencing for them to figure out where you live and let themselves in. So be mindful when you update your status, be careful when it comes to indicating when you’ll be back, think twice about location tagging pictures on Instagram and if you can go away without ever mentioning it on social media it might be the best thing to do. Though we know that’s easier said than done.
Install a Wireless Doorbell
You’ll notice a lot of these tips are focused on the front door either directly or indirectly. That’s because the overwhelming majority of burglars enter homes through the front door. To make sure the burglar posing as a delivery person doesn’t gain entry to your home install a wireless or smart doorbell.
A wireless doorbell is much easier and cheaper to install than a wired doorbell and will allow you to see who is at the door on your smartphone before you go anywhere near the door. If you have any doubts about who the person is, simply tell them to leave the package or come back later (when you are not alone).
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve home security. Every entry door on your house should have a robust deadbolt. By that, we mean that the bolt should extend into the frame of the door at least 1 inch. While the knob with the push button lock is easy to use and provides the illusion of security it is no match for an experienced burglar. So even if you have a dog and a wireless doorbell and a security camera and rose bushes make sure you install big, meaty deadbolts too.
Join a Neighborhood Watch Program
Neighborhood watch programs are only as good as the people who comprise them. But in most cases, statistics show that they do make neighborhoods safer. Joining a neighborhood watch then is a common-sense way to help make your home a bit more secure without having to hire a private security firm. There may already be one in place in your neighborhood that you can sign up with. Or if not, your local police department can advise you on how to get one started.