frugal

6 cheap, effective home security solutions

The 'duh' factor
The 'duh' factor © Artazum/Shutterstock.com

Using common sense is one of the best ways to prevent a home intrusion, Hsiung says. "You'd be surprised how many people leave doors and windows open when they leave."

Even an open garage door invites a quick theft of whatever you store in there. If a thief sees a bike in an open garage, it's an easy mobile crime to commit. "They come in by foot and take off on the bike," Hsiung says.

Because some burglars case an area for a target, be discreet before leaving town on a trip, which could alert thieves you'll be away. "If you're heading to the airport, you don't want to advertise it with your car trunk open, filled with suitcases," Hsiung says. Instead, gather your suitcases indoors, and put them in the car all at once, closing the trunk as soon as you've loaded it.

To keep prowlers away when you're out of town, make the home look like it's still occupied, says Hsiung. Make sure to cancel newspapers, and have the post office hold your mail, so it doesn't stack up in front of your home. Also, try plugging in timers to light your house while you're away. Hsiung says programmable timers are available that can be set to come on randomly or at different times. If burglars have the patience to stake out a house and analyze patterns, this can throw them off.

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