frugal

6 cheap, effective home security solutions

Home exterior
Home exterior © SeanPavonePhoto/Shutterstock.com

Lighting is really important in preventing home intrusions, says Hsiung, who recommends standing outside your home at night, looking for the dark, shadowy areas. "You want the light to illuminate your doorways and pathways to your house," he says, since burglars are opportunists. They're less likely to break into a house with good motion-sensor lights, which are inexpensive and available at hardware stores. "They're very easy to install if you already have porch lights," he says, and can be programmed to different sensitivity levels.

While looking for dark, shadowy areas, look in your yard for spots with heavy vegetation. You should cut these bushes and trees back, as they are a good place for people to hide. "You don't want to come home and have the boogeyman behind the bush," Hsiung says.

Think about using dense hedges or thorny bushes near windows to keep away predators, says Lewis Long, vice president of consumer marketing for ADT Security Services. Make sure to keep them tidy, so they don't become a place for intruders to hide. Also, trim back any trees that may provide access to a second-floor window.

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