Practical and Frugal Home Security

by Jeffrey U. Moats


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Politicians are not the only people who prey on our emotions. I recently have been seeing more and more home security advertisements showing creepy scenarios meant to trigger a homeowner's fear and emotion. While there are a number of legitimate home security services, home security services are usually expensive and often cause a homeowner numerous problems. Just perform an Internet search for home security scams, and you will see a myriad of complaints from individuals, telling their tales of contract problems and disappointing services. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that a homeowner can take to secure their own home with minimal expense.

To begin, look at your home from the perspective of a possible thief. While we think of home break-ins involving breaking glass windows and kicking in doors, studies of reported home break-ins indicate that it is relatively unusual for a thief to do either of these. Thieves want to slip in and out unnoticed and breaking glass and kicking in doors makes a lot of noise. In fact, statistics from the US Department of Justice indicate that in 2005 almost 2/3 of all home burglary was committed without any use of force. With that in mind, here are some practical questions to ask in order to identify problems and some practical solutions to the problems.

Is your home easy to approach without being seen? Perhaps you need to add motion detector lights on the exterior of your home. Motion detector lights are inexpensive and easy to install. If you aren't up to changing your own light sockets, there are solutions for you too. For a little more cost, there are motion detectors that simply screw into existing light sockets and the bulb then screws into the detector. Further, you can buy wireless motion detectors that will turn on specified lights around your home. These systems are available from numerous sources, such as your local hardware or home improvement store and Internet sources.

Are there easy ways to silently enter your house? Areas to look for are windows that don't lock and especially sliding doors. Sliding doors and most windows can be secured with a stout piece of wood (such as a broom handle) that is cut to the proper length and wedged into the frame. If all else fails, having the window or door repaired by a professional is a small price to pay to secure your home. Be certain that doors and windows that do lock cannot be easily unlocked from the outside. An obnoxious barking dog inside the home or patrolling the yard is another time-tested burglar deterrent.

Do you display possessions that are appealing to a thief? Things such as computers, stereo equipment, guns, tools or anything else that can be easily carried and quickly unloaded for cash should be kept out of sight as much as possible. It should be obvious that cash, checks, and credit cards should be stored out of sight as well. Walk around your house and look in the windows and see how it looks from a thief's perspective.

Does your house appear empty? Simply leaving a television or radio and light turned on when you are away may cause enough doubt to make a thief move on to the next house. For long absences, look into a house sitter or at least use some timers to turn different lights off and on throughout the night. A car parked in the driveway is another good idea.

In addition to the above-mentioned steps, there are also many more measures that an individual can take to secure their home. Video cameras, fake video cameras, door and window alarms, and wireless security systems are all further steps that a homeowner can install. If you are determined to purchase a home security monitoring service, please research the company and carefully review all documentation before signing.

In any case, don't let all those commercials instill a sense of fear in your life. Unless you live in a high crime area, the chances of your home being burglarized is very small. While many people that are trying to sell you something will quote statistics that a home is broken into every 16 seconds, they don't tell you that most of these break-ins are domestic and drug related. If you live a quiet life in a quiet part of town, the odds indicate that there are better investments of your money than home security systems. Instead use the money to prepare for the real dangers in life by buying disability or long-term care insurance or adding to your retirement savings. Or you can just use the money to buy gas for your car.


Jeff Moats lives in Davisville, WV. He graduated from Fairmont State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Science and History. He works in Behavioral Health teaching life skills and is a freelance writer whose works have appeared both in print and online publications.

Take the Next Step:

  • Look at your home from the perspective of a possible thief. Thieves want to slip in and out unnoticed. Determine if your home is easy to approach without being seen and if there are easy ways to silently enter your house. If so, remedy this immediately as suggested above.
  • Install a Screw-in Motion Sensor.
  • Visit your hardware store for other inexpensive home security devices.

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