This doesn’t mean you need to lie awake at night with a baseball bat clutched to your chest. But it does mean it’s important to acknowledge that home burglaries can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Regardless of whether you rent or own, it’s important to take steps to protect your home’s security before a burglary occurs. But many people fail to do so because they believe that it won’t happen to them or that home security systems are prohibitively effective.
The FBI stat disproves the first assumption, and the following strategies will disprove the second. It is possible to enhance your home’s security even on the tightest budget. Here’s how.
Lock it up.
One of the simplest and cheapest home security strategies around is to simply keep your home’s doors and windows locked. But not all locks are created equal. Enhance the security of your locks by making sure all your doors are equipped with heavy-duty dead bolts and reinforced strike plates. (You can do this with a cheap one-time investment.) Also make sure to secure sliding doors by inserting a wooden rod in the door’s track to prevent anyone from sliding it open from the outside. And don’t forget to outfit your windows with sturdy locks and always close and lock windows before leaving the house.
Most burglars prefer to get a sense of the layout and content of a home before they go through the effort of breaking in. If you constantly leave large windows uncovered, this provides easy sightlines for would-be burglars to case the property. You can inhibit these views by fitting all of your windows with curtains or blinds (and keeping your most valuable items away from windows in the first place). As an added bonus, keeping the shades drawn makes it more difficult for burglars to determine whether or not anyone is home.
Maintain human presence.
Research has found that most home burglaries happen between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This makes sense when you consider that people are most likely to be at work during these hours. Short of quitting your job and barricading yourself in the house all day every day, you can help enhance your security on the cheap by creating either the illusion or the reality of human presence during the day. For example, you might set the TV to randomly turn on throughout the day, leave a second car parked in the driveway, schedule housecleaners or landscapers to do their work during those hours, and so on.
Embrace the light.
Lighting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to deter criminals, and enhancing your home security through interior and exterior lighting can be done for cheap. Here are a few proven lighting strategies:
- Conduct a “lighting audit” on your home by standing outside at night. If you notice any areas that are especially dark or shadowy, those are strategic places to locate exterior lights
- Purchase cheap sensors for your exterior lights that will trigger the lights to turn on when it gets dark outside
- Invest in motion-activated lamps around your home’s entrances and exits. Solar-powered options now exist, so you can purchase these without increasing your electric bill
- When it comes to interior lighting, purchase cheap plug-in timers for lamps and program the lamps to turn on during the night and/or while you’re away from home
Of course, no strategy can guarantee your home will be 100 percent burglar-proof. But these simple tips are tried-and-true approaches to enhancing home security without breaking the bank.