Smart doorbells, smart locks and smart cameras are all on the market to keep your home safer, but sometimes they’re not in the budget. Five On Your Side spoke to the experts and found five ways to make your home safer on the cheap. In fact, every one of these ideas is under $30 and easy to install.
“On a weekend you can go to one of the local home improvement stores and buy these things and have fun putting them in place,” said Chapel Hill Police Sgt. Charlie Pardo.
Block your sliding doors
The first item to buy is a 2×4 or a wooden pole. Place it behind your sliding glass door and it will prevent the door from opening even if it’s unlocked. This one from local Home Depot costs $3.48.
“You can cut it to fit into the spot and fit in there perfectly,” Pardo said.
Keep windows from shattering with clear sheets
Next, lay impact-resistant clear sheets over your windows. These clear adhesives we found on Amazon cost $23.99.
“The window will probably still break when it’s hit by an object, but it will keep the glass from shattering,” Pardo said. “This is something that a lot of jewelry stores have.”
Get a longer screw to secure your door
Third, make your doors more break-in resistant by simply installing longer screws which go all the way into the framing of your home.
“Most homes come with good locks. The weakness comes from the latch plates and the screws on the latch plates,” Pardo said.
This one sounded too good to be true so Five On Your Side tested it out. Using a home lent to us by the City of Morrisville, we had reporter Keely Arthur try kicking in doors. One had regular screws while the other had 3-inch screws.
With two kicks, Arthur was able to get in the door with regular screws. Then she tried to kick down the door with the 3-inch screws and was unable to do so.
“That small change can make a huge difference,” said Morrisville Police Det. Ray Lynch.
A pack of 2 3-inch screws costs under $2 at Lowe’s.
Light up indoors and out, even when you aren’t home
Our fourth hack: get timers for your lights so it looks like you are home, even if you’re not. This waterproof outdoor light timer is $12.99 on Amazon.
“Perimeter lighting is important; you don’t want your house to be completely dark at night,” Pardo said.
Use a pin to secure patio doors
Finally, install a patio door pin lock to your doors and windows, to prevent them from opening from the outside, even when unlocked. This one from Walmart is $4.99, but the peace of mind you’ll gain could be priceless.
“You work hard for the things that you do have so work hard to protect them,” said Lynch.
Pardo and Lynch both say if you can afford to get a security system do it, but these hacks work well too because they significantly slow the time it would take for someone to break in. That is a huge deterrent. If someone is having troubling getting in, police say, they’ll often move on to an easier target.