frugal

6 cheap, effective home security solutions

The neighborhood
The neighborhood © luna4/Shutterstock.com

Your neighbors can be your best home security -- especially the nosy one next door. Cranford, N.J., homeowner Rachel Schwartz says one of her neighbors frequently looks out the window to see what's going on in the neighborhood. Last year, the woman saw two men outside a house looking suspicious. She called the police, and the men were caught cutting the window screen trying to break in. "If she's home, nothing gets by her," Schwartz says.

There's a certain feel for every neighborhood, and you can usually tell who doesn't belong. "Someone will usually stand out," Hsiung says. Don't be afraid to call the police to report someone suspicious there, even if it turns out to be wrong. Hsiung once called about a newspaper delivery person. "I did feel a little foolish, but I didn't want to go off to work and find out a house on my street was broken into because I didn't call," he says.

Be sure to tell neighbors when you're going out of town, so they can look out for your house. Hsiung also recommends using an online social network such as NextDoor.com, which connects neighbors virtually and promotes discussions.

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