Homes without security systems are significantly more likely to be burglarized. There are a number of simple do-it-yourself projects homeowners can do to decrease the chances of break-ins, from fortifying windows and doors to prevent easy access to motion detector floodlights and alarms. DIY home security systems are simple to install and offer ongoing surveillance via WiFi cameras and motion detectors. Security companies can monitor your homes and respond to apparent threats providing additional peace of mind.
According to the FBI’s statistics in recent years, every 13 seconds a home burglary occurs in the US, and through 2026, 75% of all US homes will be broken into. A few more interesting, and alarming statistics regarding break-ins in the US include:
- 66% of the burglaries are home break-ins
- 77% of all crimes are property crimes
- 38% of all robberies are committed with guns
- 65% of home break-ins occur between 6 AM and 6 PM
- A residence without a home security system is up to 300% more likely to be burglarized
In terms of point of entry, the following are the leading access points for burglars:
- 34% via the front door
- 23% via a first-floor window
- 22% via the back door
- 9% via the garage
When taking into account the various points of entry, the fact that security systems for homes decrease the chances of break-ins and the alarming percentage of break-ins committed with a gun, it is clear that a number of steps should be taken in order to prevent your house from being targeted. Below a number of DIY home security projects you can do to improve your safety and decrease the chances of a break-in in your home.
#1: Uninviting Exterior
Intruders look for homes that are easy targets. Overgrown shrubbery, for instance, gives them places to hide. A simple DIY safety measure is, therefore, to trim your shrubs, making sure that they do not offer a cover for burglars to lurk in. Consider planting bushes with thorns, which are even more uninviting to unwanted criminals.
Additionally, put up signs informing that the house has a surveillance system installed. Make sure the signs are visible from any vantage point. Once the burglar sees these signs, they will likely look for a different target.
#2: Motion Detector Floodlights
Install motion detector floodlights on house and garage doors. These lights call attention to passersby and increase the chances the burglar will decide to move on. Motion detector lights are easy to install, but as they do involve electricity, care is needed. Additionally, they must be properly encased with approved conduit and weatherproof boxes. Each brand comes with installation instructions. The below instructions are general in nature:
- Turn off power to the relevant light, test that the power is indeed off by flipping the switch on.
- Unscrew existing lights removing the screws holding the fixture in place. Disconnect all three wire connections (white, green/copper and black/red/yellow).
- Mount the adjustable crosspiece of the motion detector light. Line up the bracket to your electrical box, and screw into place.
- Place rubber gasket around the external side of the motion detector fixture.
- Connect the wires in the unit to those in the electrical box, taking care to connect the neutral wires together, and the hot wires together. Use a wire cap to hold the wires together and electrical tape to secure in place. Tighten the ground wire (copper) around the screw, by loosening the screw, looping the wire around it, and retightening.
- Screw the new light into the electrical box while keeping the gasket in place, and attach bulbs. Restore power and check to see that the light works.
- Test the motion sensor, by walking in front of it and seal the fixture to the wall.
- .Adjust the angle of the various installed lights and the sensors themselves to ensure coverage of the area you want to illuminate.
- Customize the sensitivity of the sensor so that the lights go on for significant motion, and not every time the wind blows, and set the times for how long the lights should stay on once triggered.
#3: Fortify all Doors and Locks
An integral part of your DIY home security projects must be fortifying all doors and locks. Doors should be either solid wood or model, as hollow doors are easy to ax through or break down.
You can prevent the door from splitting by wrapping it with a metal lock reinforcement plate which securely attaches to the wall framing. Reinforce the plates by using long screws which penetrate the frame by at least 1 inch. Additionally, hinges can be anchored with long screws, of at least 3 inches, which penetrate the doorframe to strengthen them against forceful entry attacks.
Finally, install locks of high quality such as key-in-lock handles or heavy duty deadbolts. Opt for locks with a Grade 1 deadbolt.
#4: Treat and Reinforce your Windows
Install window shades, curtains or even cover glass on your windows. These easy to install treatments prevent burglars from window shopping, and from knowing if the house is unoccupied. Cover glass is a translucent film available in hardware stores and home centers. The film obscures vision but allows light in.
If a burglar is unsuccessful in breaking-in via the door, they may opt to force open, or, as a last measure, break a window. Inexpensive pin locks can be installed on double hung windows. These locks prevent the windows from being opened beyond a certain height. Instructions for installing a pin lock are:
- Open the window to the desired height.
- Mark and drill the location for the lock pin. The hole must penetrate both the window and the frame.
- Place a cover ring around the lock pin and insert in the above hole.
- Tighten the pin until it rests against the window frame.
Dowel rods can be placed in the track to prevent opening a sliding window. Make sure to purchase a rod which is thin enough to fit in the track. Cut the rod down to size, so that it is approximately one-half inch shorter than the track. When the burglar attempts to slide open the window, the dowel rod will prevent the window from opening more than the allotted half inch.
Finally, in order prevent entrance via a broken window, consider installing strong bars. Purchase and install ready-made iron bars, keeping distances between the bars at a minimum.
#5: Install Door and Window Alarms
Today’s home alarm systems are not simple burglar alarms, but rather wireless home security systems, with motion-activated alarms which scare burglars off. These DIY alarm systems are activated when the door or window is opened while the system is armed, or even when motion is detected in the monitored area.
To install, attach the alarm to the door or window with double stick tape or a screw alongside the magnetic strip. Make sure that there is no more than 1/2 inch distance between the magnetic panels. Follow the simple instructions which come with the infrared motion detectors, designed to monitor the area around doors, windows are even restricted areas within the house. The control box connects to your internet router, and the unit can be programmed via the home computer.
Smart home alarms can notify you when there is a breach in your home security. In addition to sounding the alarm, these systems call you, or your security company informing of a potential break-in.
#6: DIY Home Security Systems and Surveillance Cameras
The best DIY security systems include indoor and outdoor motion activated security cameras. These systems enable remote monitoring and alert homeowners when motion is detected, enabling them to check who is approaching, or who is in their homes, following alert. Homeowners can then call the police while the burglary is in process, resulting in arrests. Additionally, as no criminal wants to be recorded, they may go elsewhere once they see the cameras.
These security systems are based on door and motion sensors, and WiFi video cameras which stream the activity to the homeowner’s app. The WiFi cameras are simple to install, and include a control unit, arming station, motion sensors and door/window sensors. All that is required is to follow the step by step instructions. Leading DIY security cameras let users record stills at a press of a button, and offer sleep mode for when the home residents are active. Wireless systems are safer to use than with wires, as burglars can’t cut network lines to prevent usage.
- Mount the arming station where it is clearly visible to burglars from their most logical point of entry
- Mount the sensors and connect the control box to a power source and to the internet router. The sensors generally have a 100ft range, but if something obscures the line of sight, it may be shorter.
- System programming is done via the home computer.
When to Get a DIY Security System and When to Go for Professional Security Systems for Your Home
For additional security, you can opt for a monitored home security system. Monitored security systems for the home are installed and monitored by a professional security company. This company sends a security team to check the home when the alarm is set off.
One of the leading advantages of a monitored security system is convenience as the burden of monitoring the camera feeds falls on the security company, and not the customer. Potential break-ins are also handled by the security company. Monitored security system may decrease your homeowners’ insurance as well.
The main disadvantage of monitored home security systems is the cost. Depending on the monitoring and surveillance packages, as well as additional extras, such as home automation, this service can cost between $15 and $40 and upwards per month.
Certain companies, such as Link Interactive and Protect America cut the middleman, and offer DIY home security systems, with the option for monthly monitoring. The customers save on the additional installation costs, but enjoy the extra protection of security company monitoring and response.
Choosing the Best Home Security System for your Needs
When choosing the optimal security system for your needs you should compare home security system alternatives from window and door alarms, to home security systems with surveillance capabilities. Consider what serves your purposes and family best, providing the required level of security you feel you need. Look into monitored security options and compare the packages they offer.
Finally, remember to add additional protection to your house by some of the simple DIY projects mentioned above. The best offense is a good defense, and many of the above projects may just convince unwanted intruders to pick another target.