21 Cheap Ways to Secure Your Home

With more and more sophisticated systems for home security coming out that rely on smartphone use, it seems as though the "I don't have a smartphone" crowd is being left in the dust. However, there are many ways that you can dress up your home with security without relying upon Wi-Fi or a monitored security system.

The idea is to make burglars think very strongly before attempting to enter your place. Make it always look occupied. You've probably already heard of the usual tricks: When out of town, put a hold on your newspaper and mail delivery; have someone mow your grass; have someone park their car in your driveway, etc.

But let's refine these tactics so that they don't look staged. But really, get a home security system. If you don't have the casheesh, then have fun with the following tips:

1. You've heard the one about leaving a large dog bowl by the front door. But come on, what actual dog owner does this? It's still a good thing to do.

2. Make it look used, not spanking clean. Keep a few morsels of food in it.

3. Place it over a little mat, which adds authenticity.

4. Don't put a dog's name like "King," "Duke" or "Bear" on the bowl to make the criminal think you have a huge mean dog. How many real dog owners label the bowl?

5. Nearby place an old-looking doggie bed. The local vet clinic might have a used one they're willing to give away. A burglar won't be fooled by a bed that looks brand new. And make sure it's the biggest one possible.

6. You've heard the one about placing a man's pair of boots by the door, right? So have burglars. Make this look less staged by placing a man's flip flops on the back porch or deck; this is a more likely place for them, for real; who leaves boots or flip flops outside the front door? Well, maybe some men do, but it looks less staged if they're in the back, and believe me, chances are pretty good that a burglar who's been eyeing your home intends to pay the back a little visit before making his ultimate move. And don't put a size 13 out; that looks staged. Make it a 10.

7. Leaving a pair of boxing gloves on the deck will look staged, but placing one hand grip (you know, those squeezy resistance things to make your hand strong) on the dash of your car (if it's parked outside) won't. So do that. A burglar will think that you have a crushing grip.

8. Also leave on your dash a man's pair of Nike's (but not ridiculously big). This way, the burglar not only will think a man lives there, but an athletic one-maybe a weight lifter. Leave a bodybuilding magazine on the front seat. (A karate magazine might look staged.)

9. Invest in a top-notch deadbolt system.

10. Use automatic light timers.

11. Install a fake surveillance camera above your front door and in the back.

12. Hang a portable alarm on your front door's inner doorknob; an alarm will sound if the knob turns (the battery-operated alarm can be turned off with a switch).

13. If you have horizontally-sliding windows, put Charlie bars or other blocking devices on the tracks to prevent them from being slid open.

14. Put special film on your windows that prevents penetration with bricks and crow bars.

15. Get a sticker that has a silhouette of a large dog that says, "I can make it to the gate in three seconds; can you?" and post it in a prime area. These stickers are on the market.

16. Place home security stickers and signs on your property; you can obtain these without having to buy the actual system.

17. Plant thorny shrubs around windows.

18. Invest in motion detection sensors that flip on lights and alarms.

19. Always keep your doors locked! Even when you're home! There's no such thing as a burglar who never works during the day, and rapists aren't stopped by daylight.

20. Keep all windows locked! Yes, sex offenders and thieves really do slip in through windows.

21. Learn self-defense and have the pepper spray strategically located in the house.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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