When money gets tight, we’re less likely to spend it on luxury home improvements. Sure we’d still like those swimming pools, high-end kitchen upgrades, and expensive electronics systems, but for many of us they aren’t in the budget right now.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any trips to the home improvement store at all this year though. If you’re a homeowner, you’ll have some routine maintenance that you don’t want to defer, but you may also want to consider making some home security upgrades.
In times of economic hardship, increasing your home’s security can make a lot of sense. With more people out of work, robberies increase and even random acts of violence can be more common as people’s tensions are high.
I know that even in my quiet semi-rural neighborhood, there have been more instances of break-ins and even robberies in the last year. Just a couple of weeks ago, our little family-run gas station was robbed at gun point. Fortunately, the police caught the robbers after a car chase, but it was eye-opening since we don’t think of this as being an area of high crime (or any crime most of the time).
You may find similar things happening in your own neighborhood these days.
Fortunately, upgrading your home security doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money for a big fancy system that costs thousands of bucks to install and brings extra fees for monitoring each month. There are some simple (and not that expensive) steps you can take:
Upgrade your door hardware. You may want to go “beyond simple door locks” and check into door chains, hinge bolts, rack bolts, and the like.
Change your locks. Unless you were the first person ever to move into your house, condo, apartment, etc., you really have no idea for sure how many keys to your house exist out there. It’s possible that previous owners had extra keys made and handed them out to friends and family for access. Changing locks is an easy upgrade and ensures you know where all the keys to your house are.
Keep garages and storage sheds locked. A lot of folks leave detached garages and storage sheds that are unlocked or poorly locked, but this can be a big mistake. These out buildings often have ladders, tools, and other items that can help burglars gain access to your house. Keep these structures secure.
Keep your home well-maintained. It can be tempting to let the lawn go or let the bushes grow out of control–who has time for yard maintenance anyway–but homes that are in good repair are actually less likely to be targeted. Homes with tall lawns and the like can look vacant, and vacant houses are appealing targets for thieves.
Consider a home security system. While burglar alarms are more expensive than the other upgrades I’ve mentioned, they can be extremely useful. Just having a system (especially something with visible elements such as outdoor security cameras) can be a huge deterrent as burglars would rather break into houses that are easier targets. To save money, check into DIY systems.
While this is just the beginning of home security upgrades you may want to consider, it is a good start. Check out home security blogs and websites for more information and ideas.