Whether you’re a longtime home owner or you just got the keys to your new property, home security should be a high priority. Unfortunately, security tends to take a back seat to decorating and renovation projects. Even if you live in a safe area, you should take the necessary steps to protect your home and your loved ones. Based on data from Safewise, more than 2.5 million home intrusions are reported ever year. Don’t be another statistic. Here are five simple ways to boost your home security.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
While there are countless cool gadgets to help you protect your home (and we’ll get into some of those below) don’t forget that your neighbors are a free, reliable home-safety resource. Instead of hiding your spare key outside, which is ineffective since most burglars know exactly where to look, ask a trustworthy neighbor to hold onto it in case you or a family member is locked out.
When you go out of town, ask your neighbor to collect your newspapers and mail. Burglars look to unoccupied homes and a pile of paper or mail is an easy indication that your house is vacant. Your neighbor can also contact you in the event of an emergency. Your neighbors can also keep you in the loop if anything seems amiss in your community. If you and your neighbors are really serious about cracking down on security, find out how to start a neighborhood watch program.
Install an Alarm System
Installing an alarm system is one of the best ways to discourage potential burglars. According to Safeguard the World, homes without alarms systems are up to 300 percent more likely to be broken into. Some people balk at the idea of an alarm system because they assume it will be costly. With new wireless alarm systems, you don’t need to pay a startup fee or hefty monthly maintenance fees. Simply choose the components that work for you and sync them to your wireless network. You can install motion detectors, door and window alarms, motion-activated lights and more. Some alarm systems even allow smartphone integration so you can activate your alarm system from your mobile device and keep tabs on your home while you’re away.
Add a Fake Security Camera
If you really want to know what’s going on at your house at all times, you can install a security camera. High-definition, Wi-Fi cameras cost around $300. If you want peace of mind for a cheaper price, however, use a strategically-placed fake security camera. “Fake surveillance cameras run on batteries and do not require a power supply, which allows them to be placed almost anywhere,” according to experts from The Home Security Superstore. “A fake video camera looks just like the real thing; a potential thief won’t stick around long enough to figure out whether your camera is the real thing or a decoy!”
Lock Your Doors
This may seem like an overly-obvious suggestion but 32 percent of burglars walk right through an unlocked door. Lock your doors every time you leave your house. You may even want to leave them locked while you’re at home.
If you have a bad habit of leaving doors unlocked or you want more peace of mind, install a keypad lock or a smart lock. Some smart locks have an access code, some auto lock and others have remote lock and unlock features that you can control with your smartphone.
Use Your Landscape
Did you know that your landscape can actually encourage or discourage potential intruders? Burglars look for houses with places to hide. If you have tall trees and overgrown shrubs, they know they have a place to take cover. To increase visibility, trim your bushes and hedges to three feet or shorter.
Tall trees next to windows provide an additional access point to your home, make sure you consider this when you plant trees in your lawn. You can also plant thorny bushes beneath your windows; burglars would rather find an easier target than crawl through prickly foliage. You can still have an aesthetically-pleasing lawn, just be smart about where you plant your trees and flowers.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your home safe; try these simple safety strategies to protect your home, your valuables and your loved ones.
Maile Timon is a full-time blogger and content editor. She writes on health and fitness, lifestyle and family, education, business, how-to and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University.