|A Honeywell home alarm system control panel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Secure the Windows and Doors
This may seem obvious, but the FBI reports that nearly a third of all burglaries in 2010 were unlawful entries without force. Unsecured doors and windows are like a welcoming invitation for intruders. Upgrading or installing locks on windows and doors is affordable and extremely effective. Place a wooden stick in the track of sliding doors so they can't open. Drill a hole in your window frame where the top and bottom portions overlap and insert a long nail as a backup if the window lock fails. Make sure everyone in the family uses the locks regularly.
Tidy Up Your Landscaping
Trees and shrubbery offer excellent hiding places for burglars. Take a close look at your landscaping. Could someone hide in the bushes beneath a window while prying it open? Do overgrown tree branches offer lots of dark shady areas around the lawn at night? Make some alterations so your landscaping is sparser, making it more difficult for criminals to hide.
Brighten Things Up
Proper lighting deters criminals both inside and outside the house. Motion-activated lights around the garage and doors are an excellent way to turn burglars back. The lights alert you to movement outside the home while illuminating the burglar's activities. When you're away, set timers on lights inside the house so it always appears as though someone is home.
Consider an Affordable Alarm System
Not all alarm systems are expensive. There are many affordable options that will give you protection and peace of mind on a budget. Browse a site like TopHomeAlarms.com for an idea of what your options are. The mere presence of an alarm system deters burglars, so don't think that only the pricey options are worth your money.
Get a Dog – Or Simulate One
A dog is a major deterrent for burglars. If you're a fan of these furry friends, by all means add a canine companion to your family for added protection. If you're not ready to bring a pet into the family, you can make burglars think you have an animal instead. Motion-activated alarms are available that play the sound of a dog barking when someone is outside the door. A "Beware of Dog" sign and some proper accessories, like dog toys, in the yard will enforce the illusion.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
If your neighbors are familiar with you and your family, they'll recognize when something isn't right and an intruder is lurking around the house. Neighbors are also able to make it look like you're home when you're out of town by picking up mail or leaving some of their trash on your curb as well as their own. Leave spare keys with people you trust and never place them in false rocks or hideaway flower pots.
Don't leave your security to chance. Take these low-cost measures to protect your home now.