I want to protect my family and our belongings, but a monthly home security monitoring fee and system installation just isn’t in the budget. What do you suggest?
Protecting your home and your possessions doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many simple steps that you can take to make your house unappealing to burglars and thieves. In any situation, thieves want the easy way to take something. If it appears too hard or too risky to break into your home, bad guys are more likely to move on to easier pickings. Here are a few suggestions that may help you keep what belongs to you.
1.) Landscaping adds beauty and value to your home, but the placement of some greenery can create obstructions. Many people have trees and shrubbery planted too closely to doors and windows. If your view to the street is obstructed, so also is a potential burglar obstructed. A bad-guy could be hidden behind a large hedge or tree and out of the view of your neighbors and patrolling police.
2.) Check your property for items left lying about that can be utilized by bad guys. Ladders are often left unsecured or even extended and against the house. Are trees growing too closely to the house giving access to the second floor after a short and easy climb? Do you use a “Hide a Key” fake rock to keep a key near a door? Remember, thieves know what these tools look like.
3.) Take a good look at the locks that are on your doors. If there are glass panels in the doors themselves or beside them, as many decorative front doors have, be sure to use what is known as a “key in, key out” lock and not the turn-type deadbolt mechanism. At night, remove the key and place it near the door but not within the reach of an arm extending through a broken window. The down side to this system is that it does not make for a fast escape in the event of a fire or medical emergency.
4.) Video and camera systems are more available and do sell for less than they did 10 years ago, but peepholes are still a good idea. The installation of a peephole enables you to see who is at your door without opening the door itself. Just remember, if you have children make sure that they can see through it or consider installing a second peephole at their eye level.
5.) Good exterior lighting is always a good idea. The two things that thieves and burglars hate the most are bright lights and the sound of a barking dog. Motion lights are great, but make sure that they are out of reach and too high to be tampered with.
6.) If you are considering an alarm system, remember to always shop smart. Many, if not all, alarm monitoring companies offer specials and discount deals. They want to sell you the service, so don’t be afraid to negotiate what hardware comes with it. Systems include door and window contacts and a keypad. Often if you ask for additional contacts or a keypad, you may get it. Do your homework and ask questions about response time as well. For this, talk with your neighbors or the police, they can guide you. Beware of false alarm set-offs. Many municipalities will give you so-many calls but then charge you for any additional false alarms.
7.) Lastly, I am often asked, “I thought I heard something the other night, should I have called the police?” My answer is always ABSOLUTELY! No matter where you live, there are officers on patrol who are tasked with keeping you safe. Never hesitate to call the police if you hear noises or see a suspicious person or vehicle.
As always… Better to be safe!