How to Safeguard Your Home If You Can’t Afford a Home Security System
by Joanne Troppello
According to FBI Crime Reporting statistics, there are approximately 2.5 million burglaries annually in the U.S. Now, if you’re like me, reading those statistics may scare you—especially if you cannot afford a home security system. We had one a few years ago and it did make me feel safer. Right now, we’ve moved and haven’t yet purchased a new security system for our home.
We eventually want to get the SimpliSafe home security system to keep us and our new place safe. This system—after equipment costs—is available for $15 a month with no annual contract, which I like. Having a security system that is monitored 24/7 by professional dispatchers can effectively protect your home from intruders, fires, water damage, medical emergencies, and more.
Safeguard Your Home with These Simple Tips
Now, the best way to safeguard your home is to install a security system. If you cannot yet afford to do that, there are still some basic steps you can take to keep you and your family safer without such a system.
1. Light Up the Darkness
Your home is less likely to get robbed if you have a light on like one over the garage or by your front, side, or back doors. Yes, that adds to your electric costs. However, we keep a light on over the garage at night and turn it off in the morning. It makes us feel safer that at least that could impede someone from trying to break in.
If you want to save on electricity, install a motion detector light near the garage, side of the house, or in the back. You may need to hire an electrician to ensure that the new wiring and switch is up to code.
2. Keep All Doors and Windows Locked
This sounds basic, but don’t make it easier for someone to break into your house by leaving the doors and windows unlocked. Double check that all doors and windows are locked before you go to bed. Don’t forget to lock the garage door. Don’t leave it open for long periods at a time. You never know if a burglar is nearby casing the area and they might see your tools or other items you’re storing there.
Consider adding paper accordion shades to any windows in the garage. They’re inexpensive and provide cover for anyone looking inside the garage windows. We got our Redi Shades for $4.89 at Walmart.
You can upgrade from the standard door locks for about $10. Make sure that all exterior doors have a quality lock and a deadbolt lock. Depending on the fire safety codes for your community, you should opt for double-cylinder locks that provide optimized security. Otherwise, you’ll have a single-cylinder deadbolt lock that is controlled through a latch knob. The double-cylinder locks are keyed on both sides.
If possible, upgrade to newer windows that are more energy efficient and provide better locking mechanisms. Check out this window guide to identify which windows would be better for your home.
· The most common entry point for burglars is the front door at 34 percent.
· First floor windows are the second entry point at 23 percent.
· Back doors are responsible for break ins at 22 percent.
· The garage is the preferred entry point for 9 percent of burglars.
· An unlocked entrance is accessed by 4 percent of burglars.
· Only 2 percent of burglars access a home from the second floor.
3. Be Strategic in Hiding Valuables
The top items burglars look for when robbing a home are cash, jewelry, and high-end electronics. Since cash and jewelry are high on the list, they’ll likely make their way to the master bedroom first. Be strategic and make it difficult for burglars to find your valuables.
Invest in a high-caliber safe which is bolted to the home foundation such as fireproof safes from Liberty Safe. Check out this article in Business Insider to find more information on budget-friendly safes where you can store your valuables.
4. Invest in Firearms and Firearm Training
I have never fired a gun and admit that I am scared to do it. My mom and stepdad recently got their firearm licenses, bought guns, joined the local gun club, go to the local gun range, and have gotten firearm training. I was so surprised when she told me this. She started this as a hobby that she and my stepdad could do together after trying golf—which he loves—but she didn’t.
Make sure you get firearm training and store your guns in a secure, locked place. Check out these 5 Basic Firearms Safety Rules to follow as you start your journey.
5. Use Automatic Timer Lights
If you are not home until after dark, purchase automatic timers to enhance the security for you and your family. Burglars generally tend to scope out homes that are dark and where they assume that the family is not home.
You may want to set these automatic timers to keep lights on during the night in the hallways, foyer, or front room to discourage a robber from entering. They will likely tend to move on to a home that looks less secure.
6. Light Up Your Yard
Make sure that anyone trying to break into your home is in the spotlight. Again, this will add to your electric bill, but if you cannot afford an alarm system, this is another good way to deter burglars. Add lights along your driveway, pathways to your doorways, by the garage, and near any other outdoor structures like a shed or pool house.
Save on electricity by using timers, solar powered lights, or motion activated lights. Additionally, this will help you walk more safely inside at night without stumbling.
7. Don’t Give Burglars a Place to Hide
You may have planted shrubs and trees around your house to beautify the area. Make sure you keep the shrubbery trimmed to remove hiding places for burglars. Plant smaller bushes and flowers closest to your home. Don’t plant trees close to windows. They shade the house, but also are great places for thieves to hide and also to use as a natural ladder to second story windows.
When using ladders and stools outside to clean the gutters, always bring them back in when finished. Remember to lock any sheds, outdoor buildings, and gates to your property. If possible, keep high-quality items inside and don’t display them on your lawn or front porch. Consider adding security stickers to windows and a sign to the front yard as another deterrent.
8. Get a Guard Dog
Now, I have severe allergies to dogs and cats. We can’t have any at our place due to my allergy issues as well as because we’re renting, and the landlord doesn’t allow pets.
Check out this article from Good Housekeeping on the best guard dogs. Police commonly use German Shepherds for their canine units, but they also make loyal pets and guard dogs. When we buy property and build a ranch home in the future, my husband wants to get a German Shepherd for guard dog purposes.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to afford a home security system in the future. We hope we can as well. In the meantime, we are using these tips to secure our home. Which of these tips have you used to safeguard your home? Are there any that you’ve done that are not on this list?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.