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How to Keep Your Home Secure Without Spending a Dime

Your home is your castle, and your family your greatest asset, so you want to keep everything safe. But if you've priced home security systems lately, you might have felt your bank book cringe. I'm not going to tell you not to buy an alarm system, but if you're not at a point where you can invest thousands of dollars, and you just want to do a few things to make your home safer, this article is for you. I'm going to give you a list of tips you can use to make your home safer without spending any money. The most important thing to keep in mind is that burglars are lazy. Like most people, they want the highest reward with the least possible risk and effort.

The more challenging you can make your house appear, the more likely the burglar is to pass on by and pick on somebody else (or--let's hope--go away altogether). So, how do you make your home appear secure without screeching alarms, video surveillance cameras, barbed wire fences, and a yard full of Dobermans? Here are your tips: Trim shrubs back from doors and walkways (this ensures would-be thieves don't have any shadowy nooks to hide in). Lock your storage shed and don't leave tools out in the yard (burglars can use ladders, shovels, etc. to gain access to your home). Keep the lawn mowed and the exterior of the house maintained (a downtrodden appearance can suggest you are away from home a lot or that you just don't care enough to worry about your house).

Plant thorny shrubs beneath first-story windows (if you wouldn't want to climb through a tangle of thorns to reach an open window, chances are a burglar won't either). If an outdoor light burns out, change it right away. Don't display your valuables conspicuously (i. huge plasma TV on a living room wall that is visible from the street), as this only tempts thieves. When you make new purchases (such as said plasma TV), don't leave the boxes by the curb to announce your valuable acquisitions--break boxes down and stuff them in your recycling bin. Don't store house keys under the doormat, a rock, etc. (thieves are wise to all the tricks--if you always lose your keys, consider a fingerprint activated lock instead). Keep tree branches trimmed back from windows and your roof. Make sure the garage doors are sturdy (no loose panels or damaged corners), especially if the garage is attached to the house.

Check your garage door opener if you haven't changed it from the factory setting. There's usually a row of 10-12 switches. If all except one is pointing the same direction, the combination is easy to break (the thief has a 1 in 10 or 1 in 12 chance of getting it). Always shut and lock your doors when you leave the house. Hopefully these tips will help you make your home less of a target. Remember, home security is as much a matter of employing common sense as it is a bunch of expensive gadgets and gizmos.


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