Through 2012, the most recent year with fully reported statistics, the number and frequency of crimes in the United States, including property crimes, have continued their long decline. This is comforting news — unless you’ve been the victim of a home break-in or burglary yourself. Most stolen property (except sentimental items, of course) can be replaced, but the sense of insecurity and defenseless that a home invasion generates (especially in children) can linger long after you’ve recovered from the loss of your possessions. When it comes to protecting your home and family, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so here are a few tips on how to save money on home security.Lock it up. Doors and windows come equipped with locks for one reason: To keep intruders out. You may think your neighborhood is safe, but if you’re not using your locks, you’re just tempting fate — and burglars. Deadbolts make the best door locks, are much less inexpensive than replacing lost property, and can be installed fairly easily. Similarly, you can secure windows affordably while still ensuring that your family can use them for ventilation and as fire-escape routes.
Protect your garage. An open garage not only offers burglars easy access to your home, it also advertises your lifestyle level. (A gleaming sports car in your garage makes you much more attractive to thieves than a dusty clunker would.) Secure your garage (and car) as tightly as you secure any other part of your home: Use a remote-control unit for your garage-door opener that attaches to your keychain; if you have a manual garage door, install safety locks; use deadbolts on all doors to your home; and frost your windows so burglars can’t tell when you’re out.Safeguard your perimeter. Erecting just a three-foot-high fence can act as a psychological deterrent, and motion-activated lights around the borders of your property can frighten off would-be intruders before they reach your house. Keep trees and bushes around your home pruned to eliminate second-floor access routes and hiding places. Putting up security-system signs (even if you don’t subscribe to a service) can ward off cautious burglars, and the threat of a dog (including a “Beware of Dog” sign or a recorded barking) can have the same effect.
Keep your house occupied. When you go away, put newspaper and mail delivery on hold so nothing piles up in your box or on your porch, and install timers that will turn lights and appliances on and off throughout the day.
Home insurance policies can help cover the financial hit of a burglary, but protective measures can help prevent break-ins before they occur. To save more money on your home security needs, try FreeShipping.com, where you can earn 5% cash back and enjoy free shipping and other savings at SmartHome and other security-related online retailers while continuing to ensure that your loved ones sleep safely and soundly night after night.