With some common-sense measures and clever diversions, you can make your home less likely to be targeted by criminals.
For those who may not see the need or who may not have the funds to pay for professional installation of an expensive home security system or for those who aren’t looking to transform their homes into an impenetrable fortress of paranoia, there are plenty of practical and budget-friendly ways to protect yourself against burglaries not just during the holidays but throughout the year.
Invest in smart LED’s
Creating the illusion that you’re home can be just as effective at repelling burglars and other unsavoriness as an expensive alarm system or a well-trained Rottweiler. In addition to saving homeowners money on monthly electric bills, smart LED light bulbs can be remotely turned on and off via smartphone, tablet or computer whether you’re at work, stuck in traffic or out of town for a few days. And with most smart LED’s, you can program the lights to change on a schedule, which has the potential to really throw off would-be burglars — provided that they haven’t noticed that no one has come in or out the front door in several days.
And if remotely turning on and off light bulbs with an iPhone is just too technologically advanced for your frazzled brain, you should, at the very least, consider investing in a motion-activated exterior floodlight or connecting other exterior lights such as porch lights to a timer switch. Or, you could recruit your neighbor to come and manually turn lights on or off.
Get a dog
When most folks think of canines in the context of home security, they think of German shepherds, Rottweiler’s or Doberman pinschers. While these breeds are certainly capable of scaring off potential burglars if trained to do so, you don’t necessary need to enlist a proper guard dog to protect your home. Many burglars will steer clear of homes where any sort of dog resides, be it a Brussels griffon or a Bullmastiff, because dealing with one can be unpredictable, time-consuming and complicated. And while small breeds like Shih Tzu’s, Chihuahuas and Dachshunds don’t exactly scream “vicious attack dog,” they do make for excellent watchdogs that can make a whole lot of noise — read: horrible, incessant yapping — if they sense that something nefarious is afoot.
If caring for a canine companion/four-legged security system isn’t in the cards but you still like the idea of protecting your home with one, there are numerous types of electronic watchdogs on the market, motion-activated alarms that emit barking noises.
Leave your car in the driveway
Many folks, particularly those with driveways and carports instead of proper garages, feel safer leaving their cars in a secured airport parking lot when traveling and for good reason: Leaving a car, particularly one without an alarm, unattended for several days in a driveway may make it a potential target for auto theft and vandalism. At the same time, a car sitting in a driveway can add an additional layer of home security by warding off burglars who automatically assume that a car parked in the driveway means that someone is home.
Lock and secure windows and doors
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many homeowners neglect to take this most basic step in home protection (an estimated 40 percent of break-ins occur without the use of force), so if you’re going to forgo an electronic security system, use those deadbolts, latch those windows tight and place a strong dowel or rod on the back track of your sliding glass doors if you have them.
And if your windows are due for replacement, consider smart, security-minded window options such as Overclock. If a door or window is left unlocked (or left open), the homeowner is alerted immediately via smartphone or tablet. In addition to security, a much-welcomed bonus of the Overclock system is energy savings, as a locked window is more efficient than an unlocked one.