The ultimate goal in home security is to deter a burglar before making any attempts to intrude on your property. To do this you need to take several steps to make sure your house appears secured, whether it is or is not. While these methods are very simple and easy to implement they are also very effective.
While very simple and common sense, the more outdoor lighting you have the safer your property is. With the cost of LED bulbs dropping in price, replacing your outdoor lighting with LED and leaving it on through the night is a good first security step. Motion lights are also very effective and are now easier then ever to install. Battery-operated security lights, such as Mr. Beams Motion Detecting Spotlights, can be installed by anyone in 15 minutes or less. Leaving some lights on inside them home is also very important. Putting them on a timer or programmed on a schedule with a home automation system can be beneficial as well.
Alarm System Yard Sign & Window Signs
Whether or not you actually have a monitored home alarm system, those yard signs and window decals are very effective. While I highly recommend you get a professionally installed and monitored home alarm system, you don’t need one to get the signs – you can buy them on Amazon and other retailers like these: Brinks Alarm Systems Signs, First Alert Signs & BRICKHOUSE Security. You can easily get them for free by asking your local alarm company. If you tell them you you can’t afford an alarm system but want one of their signs they will most likely give one to you. After all, its free advertising for them.
Real (or Fake) Security Cameras
Putting up at least one security camera in a noticeable spot is an excellent deterrent. While real security cameras are great, not everyone wants them or can afford them. You can pick up a dummy security camera on Amazon for under $10 or ask around and you can probably find a non-functioning real security camera for free. Just make sure the camera doesn’t look fake. Appearance is everything when trying to deter burglars.
Beware of Dog Signs
Whether or not you actually own a dog, it doesn’t hurt to post a sign. While not everyone is afraid of dogs, everyone knows that disturbing the dog is going to make lots of noise and draw more unwanted attention to them. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, “burglarized houses are less likely to have dogs than are non-burglarized houses”. While dog ownership might not be a bad idea to help increase security, a sign might just be sufficient.
Car in the Driveway
A car in the driveway always helps to deter criminals. If you are away and have an extra car in the garage, leave it parked outside the garage in the driveway. When you go on vacation leave the extra vehicle in the driveway as well. The presence of the vehicle helps make the case for an occupied home.
NRA, GOA and other Gun Warning Signs
Whether or not your are a member or supporter or even if you dislike guns, you can’t argue that a sign would make any intruder feel a bit uncomfortable. Although there are no statistics to back this up, I believe that having such signs would be very beneficial in deterring criminals. You can find several varieties of signs on Amazon.com or other online retailers including this 2nd amendment sign, this NRA Decal Sticker and many others.
Leave the Radio or TV On
Leaving a radio on inside the home when you are away can give the sense of occupancy to an intruder. Keep it just loud enough so you can hear it faintly from outside the house 5 to 10 feet away. Another effective device is the FakeTV, or other TV-simulating deterrent devices that use a flickering light that looks, from the outside of your home, like the TV is on.
Don’t let Mail Pile Up
If you are going away for more than a day or weekend trip, make sure you have the mail held at your post office, make sure newspaper deliveries stop and packages don’t get delivered while you are away.
The Lawnmower Method
Pickup a non-functioning lawnmower (free from the trash) or ask around for an old broken lawnmower or other valuable-appearing item. Whenever you leave for more than a day, leave it out in front of the garage. This gives the appearance that you are home or that you’ll be back at any moment. Nobody leaves their lawnmower out. If the lawnmower is stolen you’ll know there is a thief nearby and you should beef up security.
Check your windows
Never leave first floor or accessible second floor windows opened or cracked while you are away. Besides just kicking in the door in, this is the second most popular entry way. An open window is is like posting a sign on your front lawn that says, “Please rob my house – I left a window open for you”.