Home security alarm systems are a great investment, protecting you from fires and burglars, the two menaces of modern homeowners. While you are considering which system might be right for you, there are things you can do on a DIY basis that will help keep the burglars away.
The Puget Sound Consumers Checkbook reports that many effective security measures cost very little. Here are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself before you crack open your checkbook.
Most police departments will do this for free. You simply have to ask. The police won’t directly make you more secure, but they will point out vulnerabilities that ought to be secured. This will help you when you decide whether or not you want to purchase a security system. Also, if you do decide to purchase a security system, it will help you decide what questions to ask your vendor.
This isn’t free, but it also isn’t particularly expensive. A high-quality lock such as a Medeco lock will do a lot for your protection, and by extension, for your peace of mind. Basic locks tend to be rather inadequate for protection. An experienced burglar can quickly and easily kick down a door without a deadbolt, and gain access to your home.
Many sliding glass doors can be easily lifted off their tracks, but securing them is simple enough. A cheap wooden dowel inserted into the track of the door will keep them in place. You can also purchase a “charlie bar” which will keep your sliding glass door secure.
Sliding doors can also pose other challenges – because they are made of glass, they can show off valuables inside your home. You may also consider a privacy film to obscure the inside of your house, and make sure that you close curtains and blinds as a matter of course, especially when you are not home.
Hollow doors can be easily shattered by an attacker. A solid wood door is much more likely to stand up to bludgeoning.
You wouldn’t want a pizza delivery guy to see where all of your valuables are kept upon entering your house. Granted, most people are honest, but keeping your valuables out of plain view is a prudent practice. And it’s completely free.
Burglars typically won’t try anything if they think you’re at home – If you put your lights on a timer, you’ll appear to be at home, even if you’re away. Leaving a TV or music on also helps.
In addition, a motion-activated light can provide a lot of protection at night. If a skittish burglar finds they’ve accidentally activated a light while trying to make an unseen approach, they are more than likely to flee.
Many burglars will try to approach your home unseen. Trimming excessive shrubbery near doors and windows will reduce the amount of cover they can use, and potentially keep them from targeting you.
At the very least, get to know your neighbors. Having someone watch your property every now and then is the surest way to foil burglars. Having a friend bring in your newspaper when you’re gone, for example, will help to dissuade burglars by making you look like you’re home.
One of the most effective ways to secure your property is to rely on neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious activities.
We enthusiastically encourage all homeowners to use these DIY security methods. At the same time, we also know that professionally built and installed security systems have been shown to have a big effect on the safety of homeowners.
Just because you can make yourself reasonably secure with a small investment of time and money does not mean that you don’t need a home security alarm system. It only means that, depending on how concerned about security you are, you may want to take care of the small stuff first.
Most burglars will not target a house with an obvious alarm system, as easier targets are plentiful. If a burglar is surprised by an alarm system, most will flee. With a siren going off, there is a fear of being caught because the burglar doesn’t know how long it will take the police to arrive. For this reason, an alarm system is a very powerful protective measure.
However, if an alarm system is poorly installed, or doesn’t cover every potential means of egress for a burglar, it may be circumvented. A basic alarm system will cover all doors and easily accessible windows, but may not cover second story windows, skylights, crawlspace access, attic doors and so on.
If you decide that you want a higher degree of security and opt for a professional security system, make sure that you hire a reputable security company to install it for you, with technicians who will help you think through the best approach for your home, and install it properly. A well-installed basic security system will provide more protection than a high-priced system, poorly installed.