So you want to up your home security, but you don’t really want to take out a second mortgage to do it? We’ve got a few tips for you .

Tip 1 – Lights, lights, lights!

Burglars, robbers, assailants, petty criminals – they all share one thing; they don’t want to get caught. The chances of being caught skyrockets once they’re seen, and that’s why many – most – of them keep their activities to the darker hours. Nighttime, that is. The good news is that man kind has had a way of conquering darkness for some time now – it’s called lamps and lightbulbs. These nifty things are your friends.

Outside lamps, triggered by movement, has been around for some time, and since it’s nothing new, prices go down. You can get motion-triggered floodlights for as little as $10! With a little patience and a few household tools, these are easy to set up. If you’re not especially handy yourself, get a friend to help you – or a neighbor, perhaps. If you trust’em. This little home improvement doesn’t only work against would-be criminals, it also works for you, by lighting your way on dark mornings or late nights, making sure you see where you’re going, and if there’s anything in your way. Lights have been tested and proven for a long time, and it’s clear that burglars and robbers try to avoid well-lit properties.

This isn’t only for outside either. You can install motion-sensor lights inside your home, to light your way down stairs or for a little extra comfort when you’re fixing yourself a little night-time snack. Mount these, for example, in strategic places.

Tip 2 – Reinforcing doors

This isn’t as hard  – or expensive – as it sounds, and you can easily do it yourself in just a few, simple steps. An experienced burglar won’t be stopped by your average handle-lock. It’s going to take more than that, and that’s why we have door-stops, for example. This one will even wake you up if someone tries to open your doors, and it’s just another $10 or so. If you prefer something a little bit more sturdy, there are security bars that will make it very hard to open or even break down your doors, and even these can be had for about $15. Place one of these on each door before you go to bed, add one to your back door when you go away on vacation, and the door will stay closed even if the burglar manages to pick your lock.

There’s one more thing you should do, and that is getting a steel-core door, with no window, but a wide-angle peep-hole. That’s not really cheap, however, but we thought we’d mention it anyway…

Tip 3 – Don’t fall for Gimmicks

Installing fake dogs that bark in metallic voices don’t help. They’re simply money out the window – usually quite a bit of money. Common sense goes a long way, and that includes not underestimating the burglar. He or she may have been watching your house for days, as one of several possible targets, perhaps, and may know that you don’t actually have a big, scary dog watching over you. You could get a real dog, of course, but that’s a whole lot of work and money right there.

Scarecrows are for birds in fields, not for burglars in suburbia – or anywhere else.

Expensive security systems are good if you’re in a mansion, and you have countless heirlooms to protect, but don’t be fooled by sales-pitches for these kinds of things unless you know that you need one.

Tip 4 – Keep your yard tidy

This only applies if you’re in a house, of course, and you have a yard, a lawn or a driveway or similar. Keep your lawn mowed, even when you’re away. Pay a kid from the neighborhood to mow your lawn or get the snow out of the driveway when you’re away, maybe he/she can make a path in the snow to your front door, to make it look like there’s some traffic.

This also applies when you’re actually at home, too. An unkempt lawn might make a burglar think that you’re not at home, and make a run at your house when you’re there. Sleeping. Burglars that are cornered are a little bit like cornered animals – not safe at all.

If you have trees in your yard, make sure that they don’t have branches that can easily be reached from the ground – if they do, you may as well leave the ladder out.

Tip 5 – Secure your windows

Most people overlook their windows when they consider security, which is strange. Windows are weak points in any security plan – but we gotta have’em, right? Breaking windows is a good old method of getting through them, but that’s not something that a burglar will prefer to do – despite what all the movies show.

Breaking glass makes a lot of noise, no matter what method you use to do it, and noise is something a burglar wants to avoid. Pring the window open or simply finding an open one is the preferred MO. Close your windows, and install window locks to further ensure that no one can open them that aren’t supposed to. The good news? Window locks can be had for less than a buck a piece. That’s nice.

As a bonus, check out our path to a security blueprint! Failing to plan, as we all know, equals planning to fail.

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