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Do-It-Yourself Home Security Check: 5 Essential Steps

Published: November 12, 2010
Conduct a do-it-yourself home security check by walking around your house to assess what needs to be done to reduce the risk of a break-in.

Home Security
A professionally installed and monitored home security system is a nice addition to your home´s defenses, but it shouldn´t be step one. First, conduct your own home security check. After you´ve inspected your home´s doors and windows, make sure these essential steps are covered:

1. Keep your home well-maintained on the outside.

Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that´s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window. To improve security, trim shrubs away from windows and widen front walks.

2. Install motion detector lights.

All sides of your house should be well-lit with motion-activated lighting, not just the front. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50 each, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place.

3. Store your valuables.

Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that´s where you´re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns. Tour each room and ask yourself: is there anything here that I can move to a safe deposit box? Installing a home safe ($150 to $500) that´s bolted to your basement slab is a good repository for items you don´t use on a daily basis.

4. Secure your data.

While you probably won´t be putting your home computer in a safe anytime soon, take steps to back up the personal information stored on it. Password protect your login screen, and always shut off your computer when not in use (you´ll save energy, too!) Don´t overlook irreplaceable items whose value may hard to quantify, like digital photos.

5. Prepare ahead of time in case the worst happens.
  • Check that you´re properly insured for theft. Note that high-ticket items in your home office, such as computers, professional camera equipment, or other business essentials, may require an additional rider or a separate policy.

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