Friday, September 13, 2013

Frugal Home Security Improvements for NPM

Simple steps may provide enough deterrence to everyday intruders, or give you a few extra seconds to be prepared for them. Tips today will focus on spending $20 or less for increased security.

First is what I call 'Kettling." If you haven't seen the old Kettles movies, look them up.
The overall sense of the Kettles' home, from the outside, was that it was a dump. Let a few weeds grow. Let that fence be in a little disrepair.  Don't trim the hedge as often. Don't keep your front yard looking like you have a live-in gardener or landscaper.  That makes your home look more desirable when you sell, but also more attractive when bad guys are looking for a place that probably has valuables inside.  It's a little hard to get used to, but it helps. 

Next in low cost is checking your lock screws. The strike plate for your dead bolt has screws in it. Take one out. If it is less than 2.5 inches long, replace them with longer screws, at least 2.5 inches long, 3 inches is even better. Talk to your hardware specialist to see if they have a type of harder or less brittle screws. It could be the difference between a bump and a kick to get the door opened.

Check your windows, especially near the doors. Can they be easily broken or entered with a glass cutter, allowing easy access to latches and locks? If so, there are low-cost measures to slowing down the entry process.  Ask at your hardware store. They should have a variety of locks or small bars that will help. Room window glass can be reinforced with clear Mylar products that hold the broken glass together to prevent shatter and require another cutting tool to remove the broken glass to make an opening large enough to enter the window. I found some on eBay that we applied to a front window that would have allowed easy access to the front door deadbolt.

Landscape planting choices can also make your already Kettled front yard more formidable. Roses, pomegranates, Chilean mesquite and pyracantha are among the many thorny landscape plants you can use around windows to reduce their attractiveness for unauthorized entry. One gallon plants can be bought in most areas for about $6. Plant now and they will be large enough to help deter intrusions by next summer.  Be sure to leave a small space for emergency egress and have a twin-sized blanket or quilt near the windows. Egress training for children should include wrapping in the blanket to avoid thorns. Older children or adults can throw the blanket over the thorny plants during egress.

Other than a bunch of ammo waiting for anyone who comes inside uninvited, what are your favorite low-cost deterrents?

UPDATE: Great additional tips in the comments!  Thanks K and Odessa!!


  1. My dog is one of the best investments we have made, and he was a rescue!

  2. I have sliding windows in my house, so using pieces of 2x4s stuck between panes to prevent them from being opened by would-be burglars is my tip for a frugal security measure. A trusty neighbor willing to keep a lookout while I'm away also helps. -Odessa @ Alarm Relay

  3. We were unfortunate enough to find Vivint before finding Reliable. It was a nightmare with Vivint and we ended up canceling and having them remove the security system. ADT Miami