If you live in the United States, then there is a good chance that your home will be invaded. According to recent stats, 20% of Americans are victims of home invasions. Even more scary is the fact that, of the 3.8 million home burglaries which are committed each year, 7% result in some sort of violence – including many rapes.
You can either sit back and accept this risk.
Or you can take steps to secure your home.
I know that you think home security and defense systems have to be expensive, but there are actually a lot of ways to secure and defend your home for cheap. There are 3 points you will need to focus on:
- Deterring intruders from wanting to get into your home
- Preventing intruders from getting into your home
- Staying safe if intruders do get in
We will go over each of these points and the cheap things you can do to enhance your home security and defense. Feel free to add any more tips if you have them in the comments section or on our Facebook page.
1. Deter Intruders from Wanting to Get into Your Home
A lot of attention goes towards preventing intruders from getting into your home, but good home defense starts well before the intruder has even picked you as a target. You need to get inside the mind of the criminal and learn what makes someone become a target.
Thieves always go for the easiest target in terms of the reward. So, it should be no surprise that the types of homes most targeted by thieves are in low-traffic areas and have poor security features. It is all about risk vs. reward. So you’ve got to make yourself seem like a big risk for a little reward.
Make Your Home Seem Like a Big Risk
- Get a security system: If you can’t afford one, then just get one of those home security signs to put in your yard.
- Put up a sign: Those funny signs about “being ready to shoot” can do wonders in deterring intruders!
- Fake security cameras: If you can’t afford the real thing, then fake it.
- Make it seem like you are at home: Most home invasions happen between 10am and 3pm when people are at work, so make it look like you are at home. Park your car in the driveway, leave the TV on (or get a fake tv), and set lights on timers.
Make Your Home Seem Like It Offers Little Reward
- Reduce curb appeal: Nice things on the outside of your home tell burglars that there are nice things inside
- Keep curtains and blinds closed: So potential burglars can’t see what nice things you have inside.
2. Make It Harder for Intruders to Get Inside
Intruders have two goals: to get into your home as quickly as possible, and to get out as quickly as possible. They typically don’t want to spend more than 60 seconds entering a home. Anything that makes it harder for intruders to get into your home may just be enough to motivate them to find an easier target.
Remember, that there is nothing you can do which will make your home impossible to break into. If an intruder wants it badly enough, he will find a way. But most criminals won’t bother with your Fort Knox when there is a home with an open window down the street!
Here are some of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to keep intruders out:
- Shut and lock doors and windows: This should be obvious, but a striking 6% of home invasions occur at unlocked entrances or storage units.
- Install deadbolts: These are much harder than standard locks to open.
- Reinforce your door frame: The most common way for thieves to break in is to simply kick down the front door. A dead bolt or security door isn’t going to stop this. The weak point is actually in the door frame. Reinforce the door frame with a security striker plate. This is one investment in security which is really worth it.
- Install rods and tracks on sliding doors and windows: These are one of the weak points of your home. Buy wooden dowels (they are really cheap) and put these in the slider to make it harder to open the door or window. Most thieves won’t break the glass because they don’t want to be heard.
- Keep shrubbery and trees away from your home: These make great cover for thieves while they break into your home. Thieves don’t want to be spotted while they break in, so get rid of any landscaping near your windows and doors.
- Install motion sensor lights: Don’t just put these near your doorways, but also near windows.
- Get a yappy dog: A home security system can fail, but a yappy dog won’t. Train your dog to bark when someone is coming, and this will make it harder for thieves to enter undetected.
- Build a security perimeter: If you already have a wall around your home, you can install spikes on top of it to make it harder for thieves to scale over. Those on a really low budget can even use mortar to affix broken glass to the top of the wall (though I doubt your neighborhood association is going to like this!). You can also use thorny shrubs like cacti to make a security perimeter if you don’t have a wall.
*Remember, these methods won’t stop anyone from getting into your home. If an intruder really wants to, he can even go through the walls! But it should buy you enough time to take other actions.
3. The Intruder Has Entered the Home
Most burglars strike when you aren’t at home. But it does happen that intruders invade your home while you are inside. In these situations, your primary concern should be your safety. Never try to be a hero and capture the thief. Even if you have a gun, it simply isn’t worth the risk… or the lawsuit you could face for shooting the intruder!
The best home defense for this situation is completely free. It is to PLAN AND PREPARE. Come up with a plan about what to do if there is an intruder in your home, and run drills with your family.
Ideally, you are all able to get yourself to the safe room in your home and call 911. If the intruder doesn’t leave quickly, the police are sure to get him/her off your property.
But there are some other cheap home defense methods you can use.
- Get a megaphone: Once in your safe room, you can get on your megaphone to call out “the police are on the way!” The sound of a megaphone is sure to freak out the intruder and get him to leave.
- Pepper Spray Fogger: There are some cool anti-burglar systems which use pepper spray to get intruders, such as Burglar Blaster. Since they are non-lethal, you don’t have to worry about killing anyone and a lawsuit. Burglar Blaster works on infra-red or a tripwire, and will spray a fog of pepper spray. That should get the intruder out!
- Guns: If you have a gun, don’t go after the intruder. Don't fire any warning shot as this will give away your location and give the intruder time to defend him/herself. Guns should be used as a last-resort self-defense weapon. Some sources do say that you should fire a warning shot once in a safe room and to call out that the police are on the way – especially because a warning shot might save you from a manslaughter conviction. But that depends on 1) how secure your safe room really is and 2) how sure you are that you can fire a “warning shot” without accidentally killing a family member or neighbor. Bullets easily pass through walls remember! It is better to wait for the police to arrive and handle the situation. Guns America has a good article on budget-minded guns for home defense.
If you are interested in learning more about DIY home security, read this post about the 5 pinnacles of home security and defense.
How are you securing and defending your home from invaders? Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion on Facebook!