1. Call the cops. Most communities have programs in place where a law enforcement officer will inspect a personal home or apartment and make recommendations based on exiting vulnerabilities. Generally they will make those recommendations within your budget upon request.

2. Install signage. I bought 2 “Beware of Dog” neon signs for $1.98 this week. One for the front door and one for the back door. The same hardware store had “This House is Alarmed” signs for short money.

3. Go to the pet store. Dogs are a great form of home security. A few things I can do without include all the barking, tumbleweeds of fur, financial expense of shots and all the dog doo. Save a few bucks and buy the biggest dog food bowl possible. Get 2, one for the front porch and one for the back. Write “Killer” in permanent marker on it. This gives the impression you have a big dog. You can even buy a barking dog alarm.

4. Get your neighbors to guard your home. Why pay for security guards or lame remote security monitoring when you can have your neighbor Ed keep a keen eye on your property? Start a neighborhood watch program and design it so everyone has a monthly responsibility to work the neighborhood.

5. Make your home seem occupied 24/7/365. When you are away put the stereo or TV on loud enough to hear from the immediate exterior. Buy inexpensive timers and plug all your lamps in.

6. Install motion sensors that make a burglar think they are being watched.

7. Use your existing door locks and LOCK THEM! Or buy better ones and install yourself. Beef up the strike plate, which is the metal plate where the bolt enters the jam. Install 3 inch screws deep into the jam.

8. For short money you can buy a “security bar” that wedges up under your door knob and is also alarmed.

9. Secure your windows so they don’t raise more than 6-10 inches. Install small angle brackets that prevent the windows from going any higher.

10. Get a home alarm system for less than 100 bucks; then a dollar a day. A home alarm is the best protection while you are home and away.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston.

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