By Brian Meyer
Part of prepping is making sure your home is secure now so your prep, as well as your family, is safe and secure. As your stockpile increases the threat of robbery becomes all too real. All it takes is the wrong person seeing you load up your guns for a day at the range to get a thief more than a little interested in what else you have in your home.
Instead of leaving things to chance or relying on an alarm system, check out these cheap yet effective home security tips below to keep your home safe and secure while making sure you have as much of your budget as possible to use for your prep.
1. Use Timers For Your Lights
If you were an intruder and you were looking for a house to break into, would you choose one with the lights on or off? Even if you’re just out for the night, if that’s the night someone is looking to break in and your lights are off, you’re sending a signal that it’s all clear to come in.
For as little as $12, you can get a timer like this one that features multiple on and off times. Now even if you’re not home you can still have the appearance of someone being there to turn lights on and off.
2. Keep Your Yard Trimmed
It’s easy to let your back yard or side yard go without being trimmed for a little longer than you would your front yard, but this can invite intruders into an area they think is less visited. An untrimmed yard or a yard with leaves in it means you’re not in that part of your yard often enough to notice, which means you probably won’t notice an intruder or break-in there either.
By keeping even the least-used areas of your yard trimmed and tidy you don’t show a possible intruder a possible entry point where you won’t see.
3. Clean Up Landscaping
Just like your yard, make sure your landscaping is nice and orderly in all areas of your house. If your back hedge is shaggy and rough looking this means that not only are you not near it enough to notice, but that no windows that you look out of regularly are aimed at it either, or else you’d see it and want it trimmed.
A secondary benefit to clean landscaping is that you’ll notice if some of it becomes out of place that can signal foot traffic or an intruder possibly checking your house out in preparation for a break in. Keep things clean and trimmed and you’ll be amazed at what you notice.
4. Reinforce Door Jambs
The most common way for an intruder to get into your home is via the door. With this in mind you should secure your doors as well as possible and while locks are great, they won’t stop a forcible entry very well.
The best method here is to install door frame and hinge reinforcements like this one from Home Depot. For around $80 you can significantly increase the strength of your door frame and make it nearly impossible for your door to be kicked in.
5. Use Wooden Dowels on Sliding Doors and Windows
Many of us have sliding doors that let off into a back yard, and while these often have latch-type locks that are fairly secure, they can still be forced if someone is determined. The same goes for windows that slide, if someone pulls hard enough, they will open.
An extremely cheap and effective solution for this problem is simple wooden dowels. You can purchase these for usually a buck or less each from a craft store or hardware store, and these simple wooden rods can be laid into the tracks of windows and doors to stop them from opening. While these will lay easily in door tracks, you may have to secure them with a piece of tape to a window to make sure they stand upright.
6. Always Use Blinds and Window Shades
Windows that can be seen out of can also be seen into. Keeping this in mind, a set of blinds or window shades is vital to keep prying eyes out. Sure, everyone has blinds in their bedroom, but what about the living room? If you leave your laptop sit out or worse yet your gun, someone can easily look in and see what you’ve got.
Above this, if someone is planning a break-in, being able to see in your house helps them plan on their point of entry and how they’ll get around. Don’t give them the advantage and keep your blinds drawn unless you’re actually in your house enjoying the view.
7. Install Motion Sensor Lights
Nothing says “hey, I see you” like a light turning on. More often than not when someone is doing something they shouldn’t be doing and a light snaps on they’ll quit pretty quickly and retreat.
To keep people from sneaking up on hard to see areas of your house buy a motion-sensing light and aim it properly. A decent motion sensor will run you around $25, but the benefits are twofold. First, you get the scare factor for the possible intruder and second, you get a silent alarm that lets you know someone was just in a certain area.
8. Lock Ladders Up
It’s fairly common to leave a ladder outside, especially if you use it there often. Even if you have a low risk of it being stolen you should still lock it up. A ladder outside your house, especially in your backyard, is like giving an intruder a big helping hand.
Lock up ladders and ideally keep them in a garage or shed to keep preying eyes off of your house. Remember, intruders look for the easiest mark so they have the cards stacked in their favor. If you don’t help them out at all, they’ll find someone that does.
9. Never Hide a Key Outside
This is a pretty simple one and best of all; it’s totally free. Never hide a key outside your house. Don’t hide it under a rock or on the side of your porch and definitely don’t place it under the doormat. Just don’t do it.
Even if you have an amazing place to hide your key that’s far away from your front door and perfectly hidden, it’s very possible that someone saw you put it there, and if you get to it regularly then it’s almost certain someone saw you place it there. There’s no safe way to hide a key outside your home with absolute certainty that it won’t be found, so just don’t do it.
10. If You Can’t Afford It, Fake It
The final tip is possibly the most useful. If you can’t afford to have more expensive security pieces like a camera or security system then just fake it. If there’s a door you’re worried about someone trying to break into and is somewhat out of view, get a security camera like this one that even has a solar panel to keep the LED going forever.
Better yet, if you want the full approach, check out this system that comes with a fake camera, window sensors that actually buzz when separated, and an official security warning sign. This one is great because it’s from a company that actually makes real security cameras and if your possible intruder knows anything, they’ll recognize it.
Even if you have a security system in place, faking it can make it seem far more robust than it actually is, which should scare off any random intruder and even a few that want to target you specifically, too.
Brian Meyer is a technology nut who loves craft beer. Still a Boy Scout at heart, he believes in always being prepared. Brian believes the most important tools you can have when the SHTF are your brain and the ability to keep a level head, no matter what the situation is.