Things you can do to Secure you Home for Free
By JR Girskis
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Home security is of the utmost importance to any renter or owner. And why wouldn’t it be? There are many aspects of home ownership that are rarely insured or never insured, so it’s to your enormous benefit to take every precaution (on a budget) that you can. Why is the benefit so enormous, because many of the tips offered here are cheap, easy, and quick to institute.
A cheap, and beautiful way to secure your home is with proper landscaping. Keep your scrubs and trees maintained so there are not easy hiding places for potential thieves. Also, consider planting thorny bushes or flowers near your windows, to deter criminals from sliding in through your windows.
Engage Video Security
A more serious home security device – a video security system – can be purchased for as little as $10 a month. Services vary from vendor to vendor, but AT&T currently offers a service that beams video to your cell phone from an at-home camera. Other companies offer small, but serious home monitoring system for a reasonable initial investment of a few hundred dollars an no monthly subscription fee.
Be Aware of Your Trash
Identity thieves and burglars often root through a person’s trash. They might be looking for old bills with your social security number and other personal information. Or, they might be looking for clues as to when you will be on vacation, what your regular day-to-day schedule is, and therefore determine the most opportune time to burglarize your residence. Rip up all credit card offers, receipts and correspondence before throwing them away, and keep garbage stored in locked containers or in your garage. Do not set it out the night before, but rather early in the morning.
Install motion-sensitive lights outside your home – especially in vulnerable areas like your back porch or side windows. Many intruders prefer to break and enter in the darkness, and the sudden glare of a motion-sensitive light is often enough to deter them. Look for solar-powered models so that your home remains protected in a power outage, and you don’t see an increase in your electricity bill. Also, don’t install them near your bedroom window, as wandering pets or waving branches could turn the light on and wake you.
Secure your Wireless Network
One of the most common ways people’s homes are infiltrated is impossible to see with the naked eye (unless that eye is looking at a computer screen). An unsecured wireless network allows a savvy person to peak into your computer and see anything in it they want. Any phone numbers, passwords, addresses, or any other sensitive information are vulnerable. To protect yourself, always use a password-protected wireless network.
Leave a Light On
Leave your lights or TV on. Or, if you’re going away on extended vacation, consider taking a trip to the local hardware store and inquiring about timers for interior lights. Seeing lights or the blue light of a television flickering from inside a home is usually reason enough for a thief to move on to a house that looks dark and uninhabited.
Hide Your Wealth
Make your home seem less luxurious or costly than it might be. If you have a nice car, park it in the garage. Don’t leave any mountain bikes, lawnmowers, or other costly equipment visible when you go to sleep or go away on vacation. This means moving things away from sight lines through windows. If a burglar sees your house lights have been out for four days, then sees a $500 pair of skis on the other side of a thin window pane, there’s a good chance you won’t see those skis on your return.
Hire a House Sitter
Almost any high school or college-age kid is more than happy to stay at your home or check in once a day if you’re going to be out of town for an extended period of time. This is one of the safer and cheaper ways (often they’ll stay for free – just to be free of their parents) of protecting your home. The largest risk, of course, comes with an untrustworthy house sitter throwing loud parties or spilling red wine on your white carpet.
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