Having a security system can help protect your home from burglary, home invasion, and nosy neighbors trying to invade your privacy. All of that is wonderful, but a top-of-the-line security system can cost a small fortune, and not everyone has a money tree in their back yard. If you're like many Americans and you're trying to keep your home safe on a budget, start with a basic alarm system and implement some of these hacks.
Having a security system with remote-access cameras is a great way to keep an eye on things, even when you're not home. It can also increase the cost of your system significantly. The good news is that inexpensive decoy cameras can deter crime in much the same way as a real camera at a fraction of the cost. It's simple: aim a fake camera at each entry point and many criminals will think twice before trying to break and enter. Alternatively, placing notices around your home indicating that you have hidden cameras may also perform the same service, and spare you the expense of a decoy camera.
If you do purchase a decoy camera be sure to avoid common dead giveaways that the camera is fake. Features like flashing lights (which are not features of real cameras) are likely to tip a thief off to the presence of a decoy camera. Stick to an authentic-looking camera.
Use Your Car Alarm to Your Advantage
Whether you have a security system that allows the use of alarms, silent or otherwise, or not, you can use the security features of your car to your advantage. Thieves and intruders have a strong aversion to attention, as calling attention to themselves is generally a good way to get caught. Keeping your car keys with you in your bedroom offers a second line of defense after your main system is breached. Hitting the panic button draws the attention of the whole neighborhood, and most would-be criminals will book it out of there.
Make Yourself a Difficult Target
Many thieves are criminals only when a convenient opportunity arises. Unlocked car doors, easily-breached door locks, and vacant houses are prime targets because they are easy money. Even if you live in a safe neighborhood, you should always, without fail, lock your doors, starting with your car doors when you arrive home.
Also keep in mind that many door locks are vulnerable to picking or to brute force. Installing locks with security pins prevents thieves from gaining easy access to your home by picking or bumping (using a special tool and a small mallet to force the pins into place) the lock. You can also install deadbolts, chain locks, and other locks that are designed to be locked from the inside only. They may not be tied to your security system, but they will help prevent criminals from gaining access to your home nonetheless.
Additionally, if you're going to be taking a vacation or even just a weekend away, ask a neighbor, friend or family member to stop by and check things out once in a while. They should stop by daily and turn on lights, run water, turn on the TV or otherwise give the appearance of someone being present in the home. Criminals casing your neighborhood will be less likely to choose your home while you're away.
As long as there has been stuff to steal, dishonest people have stolen it. You don't have to be their next victim with a little forethought and planning. A security system will go a long way, and these tips will only strengthen it.