THE COST FOR SECURITY
There are two costs to keep in mind when shopping for a home security system. The first is for the equipment and the installation, if you’re having it done by a professional. It can run from a few hundred dollars for a basic installation (or less that half of that if you install it yourself) to north of $1000 for a full-feature system with specialized sensors and wireless smoke and CO detectors. The second is the monthly service charge that includes fees for software-driven features and central station monitoring. It typically ranges between $35 and $60 per month. Some dealers, much like mobile phone and cable TV companies, will reduce the installation cost in return for a multi-year contract.
LOW-TECH, LOW-COST ALTERNATIVES
Burglaries have been dropping steadily for 20 years in the US according to the FBI, but that’s small consolation to the roughly 2 million victims of break-ins every year. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, there are a number of things you can do to make your home less vulnerable to theft. They begin with relatively low-cost improvements and common-sense practices. This is where to make your initial investment in home security.
1. Install window and door shades that make it difficult to see if someone is home
2. Upgrade locks on all doors and windows—and use them!
3. Put interior lights, TV and radio on timers so you can create the illusion that someone is home when you’re out.
4. Install motion-controlled or infrared-controlled outdoor lighting. There is nothing more suspicious than a porch light left on from dusk to dawn over a long period of time.
5. Prune or replace large foundation plantings so intruders cannot hide behind shrubs while prying open a window or door. Low thorny bushes are also a deterrent.
6. Form or join a block watch group. Such groups are effective crime deterrents because they encourage residents to be vigilant and to call the police whenever they see something amiss. They also exchange information about crime in your neighborhood and work with police to improve response times.
7. Don’t forget about garages and sheds. Always keep garage doors closed, even while at home, so thieves are not able to spot items they may want to steal. Lock valuable items, such as expensive bicycles and grills, to a very heavy object with a chain and pad lock. Drill holes in garage door tracks and insert a padlock or bolt, to prevent the door from being forced open. Install a hasp and padlock on shed doors.
8. Change the greeting on your answering machine so it doesn’t indicate whether you are away or not. Never leave a note on the door indicating you are away.
9. Keep car doors locked and windows closed. Never leave valuables, especially electronics or money, in the car. Or, if you must, put them out of sight. Use a locking device on your steering wheel in high-crime areas.
10. When engaged in a home improvement project, do not leave ladders in sight. They are an invitation to burglars. Similarly, don’t leave tools lying about that might be useful to an intruder, such as hammer or pry bar.
Provided by bobvilla.com