Keeping your home and family safe is a priority we all share. But beyond locking the doors and getting a home alarm, there are numerous steps we can take to protect who—and what—we love, and it doesn't have to break the bank.
1. Change your locks
Did you change your locks when you moved into your new home? Yeah. Neither did we. That means someone might already have the most important thing they need to get into your home: a key.
2. Upgrade your door security
While you're changing your locks, look for those that give you more secure options. If you're not sure how important this is, consider what Family handyman reports about FBI burglary statistics: "65 percent of break-ins occur by forcing in the front, back or garage service door."
3. Remove that extra key
The FBI also reports that 12 percent of break-ins are caused by thieves simply finding your hidden key. If you have one sitting under your welcome mat or in a planter, it's time to remove it.
4. Use timers
"Put interior lights, TVs, and radios on timers so that you can create the illusion that someone is home when they're not," said Bob Vila. "Modern digital light timers offer a key benefit over traditional models by having lights cycle on and off randomly."
Make sure to include motion detector lights in key spots around the exterior of your home. A light that pops on just as a burglar is approaching your back door may be enough to make him back away form your home. Home automation products make all of this easier than since you can control lights, TVs, and other items via Smartphone.
5. Get a dog
Seriously. Homes with dogs are less likely to be broken into, according to a study by The University of North Carolina, because they bark to create a ruckus and can also harm an intruder by biting.
6. Fake the alarm
If you can't swing the cost of an alarm, pretend you have one. "Thieves look for an easy mark; making your home look tough to crack will encourage them to move on," said HGTV. "You can easily put up security system decals - a clear deterrent - even if you don't have a system."
7. Install a camera
"Thanks to relatively inexpensive DIY systems, you can install a security camera outside (or inside) that lets burglars know you're watching their every move," said HGTV. A variety of cameras are offered, and you can pick one up for under $100.
8. Check doors and windows
You might think your home is more secure than it is. Maybe that backdoor is easy to open with a good push or the guest room window isn't shutting all the way. Eliminating easy access points by shutting doors and windows and locking everything up will cost you nothing, but if you need a backup for that easy-access slider door, a good old broomstick cut down to size will do the trick.
9. Call the police
In many areas, a police officer will visit your home to give you tips on how to make your home more secure, and it will cost you nothing.
10. Eliminate hiding spots
"If your shrubbery is too tall, bushy, or not well spaced, you're providing a nice hiding spot for a potential burglar," said Consumer Reports. "Trim and prune plantings."