Every smart homeowner is concerned about protecting their property and their family, whether it be from theft, emergencies, or natural disasters. There are dozens of home security companies out there these days, but in this economy, not everyone can afford the price of a full blown security system.

The good news is that you don’t have to there are affordable things you can do yourself to greatly strengthen your home’s defenses and bring you and your family greater safety and peace of mind.

Here is a List of just 10 Simple ways you can Strengthen your Home Security:

Home Security

1. Invest in Deadbolts and Mortise Bolts

If a prospective intruder makes it to your door, you want to ensure that your locks will be able to combat their attempts at entrance. Unfortunately, most common handle locks are easily picked and worked around, and that’s why you need a sturdy deadbolt and a couple of mortise locks on each door. Deadbolts themselves may be an effective deterrent, but mortise bolts have a greater advantage: When installed at the top and bottom of a door, they don’t have an outside lock to pick. They can only be locked or unlocked from the inside, so these work great for nighttime defense.

2. Take Advantage of Some Noise

No burglar wants to be heard, so if you want to scare off an intruder, a little noise can do the trick. For example, you will quickly and easily be alerted to someone approaching your home if you make the pathways in the front of your home graveled or pebbled. A barking dog will also alert you to intruders, as well as effectively scare them off. An added measure would be to hang a short string of bells on each inner door handle. This can be done in a decorative way, but will also make some noise any time a door is opened.

3. Add A Little Illumination

If no burglar wants to be heard, they definitely don’t want to be seen. Intruders are far more likely to break into a dark house than one that’s lit, which is why they most often break in during the night. If you have lights around the perimeter of your home, particularly sensor lights or daylight sensitive lights, intruders will most likely leave your home alone. Aside from the burglar protection this provides, it will also provide some illumination and extra safety for any family members returning home after dark. Timed lights inside the home are also a great way to ward off intruders while the house is empty, as it gives the appearance of an occupied home.

4. Install Fake Cameras

Security cameras in plain sight are sure to keep intruders and miscreants at bay but who says they have to be real cameras? Most places that sell home security items will also sell fake cameras that are incredibly effective when installed in noticeable but usual places such as near porch lights, above windows, or at the top corners of your garage.

5. Keep a Clear View

A yard full of bushes and trees won’t be an obstacle course for a burglar it will just give him more cover! One effective burglar deterrent is to keep your yard clear of hedges or bushes that block your window views. While many people use these to protect privacy, they are unfortunately also providing more cover and hiding places for prospective intruders. If you have a clear yard and a clear view through your windows, you will easily spot shadows or moving objects in your yard, and so will your neighbors.

6. Install Proper Alarms

You can purchase affordable battery operated alarms for doors and windows in your home if you want an added measure of burglar protection. They won’t have the same kind of guarantee or quality of a professional alarm system, but they can be a fairly effective addition to your home security. Home security, however, isn’t just about burglar protection it includes protection from dangers and hazards such as fire and natural disasters as well. Every home should have proper smoke detectors installed near each sleeping area and on each level of the house. You should also have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed next to each smoke alarm. Don’t opt for dual smoke and CO alarms, however, as their level of effectiveness has been disputed.

7. Make the Most of Emergency Escape Routes

If there is an emergency like a fire, flood, or CO leak, you will need to be able to get out of your house, and quick! You and your family should evaluate your home and determine at least two escape routes from each room. It is then vital that you ensure the easiest access possible through those escape routes. If an escape route requires going up or down a flight of stairs, keep the stairways and hallways free of obstruction. If one of the two escape routes from a room is a window, keep an emergency ladder in an accessible place in that room.

8. Invest In a Safe

A safe is a great way to protect valuable possessions in the event of a break-in, a fire, or a flood. If you can’t afford a large one, start small; that way at least a few of your more important valuables will be protected, giving you a small amount of peace of mind if an emergency does occur.

9. Always Have a Plan

Whatever your emergency, it’s important to discuss with your family what your emergency plan would be in that situation. Who is in charge of whom? In what situations do you call 911 or Poison Control? If an emergency occurs where you need to escape the house, what will be your reachable, safe-distanced, designated family meeting place outside the home? These are important questions to address and answer in every home and family so that everyone is aware and knows what to do in the event of an emergency. It will prevent unnecessary panic, provide an added measure of confidence, and can certainly save lives.

10. Practice Safe Habits

Above all, whatever your age or situation in life, teach and practice basic safe habits. Remember fire safety: keep candles away from flammable objects and children, and remember to put them out before leaving the room or home or going to bed. Never leave cooking unattended and always remember to turn off burners and ovens when finished. Also remember personal safety: don’t let strangers into your home, keep outside doors locked whenever possible, and don’t leave purses, wallets, cards, or keys out on counters or tables or in your car keep them near you or on you.

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