Simple Tips for Home Security

By: Robert Thomson

Rampant job loss and economic troubles are causing a rise in the number of homes being broken into. And it's scary because some thieves aren't even waiting for the occupants to be gone from their home before entering. Having your home broken into is invasive on a number of levels, where it's difficult to regain any feeling of safety, again. It's also terribly painful to lose your hard-earned possessions and irreplaceable family heirlooms. Thankfully there are a number of ways to help improve the security of your home, many of which are simple and inexpensive solutions.

One of the best home security systems is having common sense. Do not leave your home unlocked, even when just running a quick errand. Also be sure to close drapes and blinds so that your expensive possessions are out of sight. Make sure to keep your travel plans under wraps and never "advertise" you'll be out of town on your social media pages like Facebook and Twitter. It is astounding how many homeowners give implicit details online about when they'll be gone and for how long. Don't make the mistake of falling into a false sense of security with your social media outlets.

When you do leave town it's best to have a house sitter because a lived-in house does act as a theft deterrent more times than not. Also be sure to have a yard that is well-lit with motion-activated lights. And please refrain from storing a spare house key in an obvious place. If you must leave a spare key handy then consider getting a lock box like the realtors use. And when locking up the house to leave for the day don't forget to check your windows are locked as well.

In addition to practicing common sense it's also a good idea to look into some sort of home security system. Do your research by looking online for systems with good reviews and ask your friends as well. It's not enough that they are effective, it's also important that the system is user-friendly and dependable.

Before purchasing a security system ask yourself these questions: Do you want the alarm to simply sound if a door or window is broken? Can you adjust the sensitivity to have the alarm ring when a window is opened instead of just broken? Or do you prefer the added safety of receiving live monitoring by a security company, 24/7? Though you'd incur a monthly fee with this option you will have someone looking out for your home at all hours of the day. You can even arrange for the alarm system to notify police in the case of an emergency. This option can be particularly appealing to single occupants and also for the elderly. And once you do get a security system don't forget to display the security stickers on windows throughout your house because that small effort is an added deterrent.

A fierce looking dog is also a great theft deterrent and can also add peace of mind, as well as excellent companionship. Traditional guard dogs like German Shepherds and Dobermans look fierce and are highly intelligent; they are also very loyal. But if very large dogs intimidate you as much as your would-be thieves then remember that some dogs sound much more fierce than they are and can also make thieves think twice before entering your home. When seeking a guard dog, work closely with a vet or training school in order to find the best match for your needs.

And don't forget to make friends with your neighbors so that you can all keep an eye out for one another. Sure, there's the adage Good fences build good neighbors but the really good neighbors are the ones that find the balance between allowing you some privacy but also look out for you and your home. If you do go out of town be sure to let your neighbors know so that one of them can bring in the mail and pick up the paper. Something as simple as providing a lived-in look may be the one small thing that makes burglars think twice. If you can't find someone to handle the mail then be sure to notify the post office to stop your service while gone.

It's also a good idea to take added precautions around the big holidays because that's often when thieves become most bold and are most desperate, so make sure your home is well-cared all year 'round.

However you choose to protect your home remember to always be diligent because coming home to discover you've been burgled is a sickening feeling. To know that a stranger has been rifling through your personal items robs you of the feeling of sanctuary you should always feel in your own home. Plus a break-in also has long-reaching financial ramifications and is frankly a very tedious event to resolve with the police, insurance companies, etc. So do everything you can to keep your space feeling like yours by using these simple and effective tips to deter criminals.

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Greg Borth is a writer who has published on He offers a specialty in writing about home security, including"> home security system comparison.

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