You’re concerned about protecting your home and investment, but it’s not always feasible to spend thousands of dollars on a new home security system or expensive detection technology. Here are four easy DIY home security solutions that won’t cost a lot, but can significantly improve your peace of mind.
DIY Home Security: Target Hardening
This is a term often used by police agencies and describes the host of ways homeowners can make their home a “harder” target for criminals. It starts with yard clean-up and maintenance — overgrown lawns or piles of leaves suggest no one is home or that anyone living in the home isn’t paying attention, which may lead a criminal to try a quick break and enter. Well-cut lawns, trimmed trees and clean gutters indicate attention to detail and can warn off intruders.
In addition, it’s a good idea to clear any lines of sight that may be obstructed by trees, patio furniture or other yard items — would-be robbers want to approach your house undetected, so it’s best to limit their options.
Next, think about lighting. This might mean keeping a porch light on all night or making putting inside lights on timers. It’s also a good idea to consider security lights which illuminate based on movement — this will scare off most criminals. Finally, take a look at your doors and windows. Exposed window screws can be secured by dripping small amounts of solder on the heads, and it’s possible to protect sliding glass doors by installing a thick wooden dowel or metal bar in the track, making them impossible to open from the outside.
If you have a bit of money to spend on DIY home security, consider installing a motion-detecting outdoor light. They range from $50 to $200 and depending on how much you’re willing to spend come with a number of useful features. Most can replace existing light fixtures with minimal effort, while newer wireless models can be mounted anywhere on your home, so long as they have access to a power source.
It’s also possible to buy lights with an adjustable field of vision (FoV) allowing you to customize the detection distance and angle. This allows you to avoid getting unwanted light responses from stray animals or birds and focus only on your property. In addition, many newer lights use LED technology, meaning you can install 300, 400 or even 500 watt bulbs for maximum exposure.
Security cameras are often considered “premium” options in home defense, but many wireless cameras have come down in price significantly as the market diversifies. For less than $100, you can grab a digital, wireless security camera which shoots 30 frames per second, includes audio and also lets you record video. Most of these cameras work using your home’s wireless network, meaning they can’t be accessed from the Internet at large and can’t be compromised unless someone hacks your wireless password.
Many come with built-in infrared sensors, allowing you to flip a switch and see exactly what’s going on in your yard, even if it’s pitch black outside. These cameras can be of great benefit to law enforcement if they’re looking for a suspect or to help identify neighborhood prowlers. In addition, many come with mobile app support, meaning you can control your camera from a smartphone or tablet.
Improve Existing Security
Even if you have a professionally installed security system, there are ways to improve its efficacy. First, make sure it only goes off in response to legitimate intrusions. Faulty sensors damaged by weather or renovations can cause random alarm resets — while your monitoring company will always call to check in your neighbors may start to ignore your alarm, which presents a problem when a real burglar comes to call.
In addition, examine the outside of your home for any visible security wiring. Criminals will often cut these wires to disable your system, so it’s a good idea to cover or reroute them. Moving wires calls for the help of a professional electrician, but you can also create a metal sleeve or sheathe for the wires and then firmly attach it to your foundation or siding.
DIY security doesn’t have to be expensive, but can be an effective way to protect your home. Ideally, the goal is to make your house an unattractive target for criminals by increasing the likelihood they will be caught in the act along with the amount of time it will take them to gain access. In combination with a reputable security monitoring solution, these DIY home security solutions can improve protection without breaking your budget.
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