(The below was taken from an article submitted by Jordan Martin, The Mulholland Brand Manufacturing Company.)
Posted by Ardis Bazyn, President of ABWA Verdugo-Glen Chapter
If you’re looking for some budget friendly tips to boost the security of your home or business, some tips below range from free to $200. There’s never been a better time to boost your security. The thing that holds people back from simple security solutions is not knowing where to start. Below are some simple tips to boost your security on a budget. By the end, you should feel confident in taking a couple steps to move forward on a security project boost.
Put Up Signage
One of the easiest ways to deter theft and burglary is to put up a security sign. According to a publication by the Electronic Security Association, a Cromwell-Olson-Avary study found that nearly all convicted burglars (90%) admitted they would avoid places equipped with security systems. This means that a simple sign that says that your place is equipped with a security system can potentially lower your chances of burglary by 90% making you significantly less likely to become a target. You can easily purchase a sign online for about $10; However, we don’t recommend using a sign promoting a fake company or promoting a company that hasn’t given you permission to use their brand. Putting up a security sign is a quick and easy solution to increased home security.
Get a Dog (Or Fake It)
If you have a dog, you probably already know that dogs can be a great early alarm system for unwanted company. Depending on your dog, they can even serve as a protective measure if things escalate. However, if you don’t own a dog and you don’t plan on owning one, you can help deter burglary by putting a sign that you do have one. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at most home improvement stores or online.
Crime can occur in the dark where the public can’t see. This is why it’s important to make sure your property is well lit. We suggest using motion detectors to trigger your lights so you don’t have to think about it and it won’t needlessly drain electricity. We also suggest solar powered lights to separate the security lights from your house electricity in case the power goes out or the burglar decides to cut the electricity. Solar powered motion sensor outdoor lights can run as low as $20 per unit. Solar powered units are also easy to install yourself so you won’t need to spend money on an electrician. If you already own outdoor security lights, it’s also recommended to periodically check your lights to make sure they all work properly. Make sure all of your units are clean and operate properly.
“Someone’s Always Home”
A burglary is less likely to occur when it looks like someone’s home. If you plan on being away from your home for an extended period of time, you can leave a few lights. If you’re concerned about electricity, you can switch out your lights with LED bulbs. LED bulbs use less than 1/10th the wattage of a standard halogen bulb. You can also make it sound like someone’s home by leaving a radio station on an AM talk show or playing some music. If you plan on being away for an extended period of time, have a neighbor, friend, or family member collect your mail while you’re gone. Nothing says “no one’s here” like an overflowing mailbox.
All Entrances/Exits Locked
This may sound a little too simple to be on this list, but we’re not just talking about front and back doors. Side gates tend to be left unlocked or very easy to open. Even if your gate is easy to get over, simply locking it makes your property harder to access. Do a quick walk around your property and find out what entrances or exits you may be forgetting about. While securing your home, it’s also important to consider emergency situations for all exits. In the event that you and your family need to exit your property, you should avoid locks that don’t allow you to exit quickly from the inside. This is called Free Egress. A free egress latch will always allow someone to exit from the inside, but lock from the outside. These are handy in the event of an emergency such as a fire or earthquake. An extra measure of security is to also have a deadbolt that can be locked with a key from both sides. If you and your family leave the house for a few days, this double sided key lock deadbolt makes it more difficult for a burglar to leave with valuables.
Secure Your Doors
If you’ve ever watched a cop movie, you’ve seen doors kicked in pretty easily. The fact of the matter is- this is pretty realistic. This door strike is what guides your latch or bolt into the door frame. The issue with most installations is that the screws that attach your strike into the frame are usually only about half an inch long. Behind your door frame are two studs: Your trimmer stud and your king stud. These small screws only grab onto the trimmer stud.
If someone wanted to kick your door in, they’d have to break these screws out of the wood. If you upgrade your screws to not only go into the trimmer stud but also the king stud, this takes your door strength to a whole new level. This is a simple, inexpensive way to secure your doorways is to switch these small screws with long 4” construction screws. A box of 4” screws will generally run you less than $10. The longer screws grab more wood and it’s going to take a lot more to rip these screws and break the wood. Another common type of door is sliding doors. Some of these doors have poorly designed locks that leave your home accessible with something as simple as a screwdriver. The way to secure these types of doors is by using a stick or rod that sits in the railing behind the sliding door. This ensures that even if someone was to jam their way past your lock, the door physically can’t slide past the rod. Most people have some sort of stick or rod they can use for this so it won’t even cost any money!
Secure Your Windows
A very common solution to securing your windows is installing bars; However, this can be difficult to do on a tight budget. A budget friendly solution is to use window security film. This is a layer of protective material that sticks to your glass surface and acts like a laminate. If a burglar attempts to smash your glass, this material will hold it together and make your window more durable.
Most burglaries happen very quickly and any disruption in the break-in process may dissuade the burglar from carrying through with the attempt. A failed attempt to enter a seemingly unprotected window has a good chance deterring them. You can easily purchase this material and apply it yourself; However, as it pertains to the security of your property, we recommend hiring a professional to install it.
Wifi Controlled Doorbell
There are several brands of wifi controlled doorbells that help you monitor your property from your doorstep. Most basic wifi doorbells offer ability to monitor, record, and communicate through your doorbell. These significantly increase the security of your home by allowing you to monitor your main entrance at all times. In fact, there have been many cases across the nation of these doorbells preventing package thieves and burglars. These usually cost around $100 for the most basic options and can go up to $300 for advanced features. Almost anyone can use these doorbells because they’re so easy to install.
Here’s a simple one that won’t cost you any money! Don’t open the door to strangers. While it may seem a little ridiculous to add to this list, there are plenty of people who open the door to people they don’t know without reservations. It’s even more important to teach this to children as they can be potentially overpowered by a burglar intent on entering your home. One way to help deter burglars is to respond to the door quickly. Some criminals will approach the door to see if anyone responds. When there’s no response, they may assume no one’s there and enter the home. But in some cases, it just takes a little while for someone at home to respond to the doorbell. This is where the wifi controlled doorbell can come in handy because you can respond to a door knock from your phone anywhere in the world; However, if you don’t own one of these, you can simply acknowledge the knock by yelling. If you’re not sure how to handle the situation, tell the person to go away, keep the door locked, and call the police. If you are home alone, you can always make it seem like more people are in the house by pretending to talk to someone. “George, can you see who’s at the door?”
Talk with Your Neighbors
If you simply speak with neighbors that have a direct line of sight with your property, this significantly raises the surveillance of your home.
Decoy for Valuables
Hopefully it never reaches this point, but if you are in a situation where a burglar is asking you for valuables, this tip could potentially reduce your losses in a robbery. According to the FBI, the timeframe within which a burglary is committed is between 90 seconds and 12 minutes. In general, burglars are looking to simply break in, find valuables, and get out. If you can have something prepared to hand over to get them out faster, this is ideal. This is where some sort of fake box or safe can come in handy. You can tell the burglar that this is all you have. Regardless of where you live, security shouldn’t be an afterthought. We hope that these tips give you a better sense of how to maximize security on a budget.