You don’t need to spend a fortune to protect your home from intruders. There are several ways to cheaply theft proof your home and turn it into a fortress.
For burglars and thieves, an unlocked door or window is an open invitation to break into your home and steal your valuables. But even a bolted door will not stop them from trying. Burglars are getting smarter and more persistent—if they fail the first time, they will try and try again until they succeed.
Installing sophisticated security cameras around the property is the most sensible thing to do but it may set you back a few hundred dollars. Here are 21 ways to protect your home on the cheap and keep the bad guys out of your property for good.
 Increase Entry Door Security with Reinforcement Plate
Burglars will not waste time picking your door locks if they can muscle their way in by body-slamming the door or giving it a good kick. Not all burglars know how to pick a lock quickly so the best way for them is to use brute force to split the doorjamb and destroy the door frame giving them full access to the house.
They may be strong but they’re no match for a door reinforcement plate kit. The kit includes a heavy-duty strike plate with an extra-long 3-inch wood screw. What the metal strike plate does is to protect the jamb making it extremely hard to break the door even when burglars try to kick it open.
Installing reinforcement plates on your doors adds a security feature to your home without breaking the bank.
 Secure Double Hung Windows with Pin Locks
Double-hung windows are easy targets for burglars because they can easily be opened. These windows are secured by latches which essentially just keep the windows closed and not much else. They are not designed to be burglar-proof so it can be opened using a knife or a flat tool. Over time, hot weather can cause the windows to not close properly.
There is an inexpensive way to secure your double hung window using a lock pin with chain connector. It provides reinforcement to the flimsy latches and securely locks the window by preventing the burglar to slide or lift the window. What’s great is that the lock pin can be installed either in a closed or ventilating position.
 Apply a Clear Security Film on Windows
One of the biggest vulnerabilities homeowners have are the glass windows or glass sliding doors. Extremely aggressive burglars and intruders will shatter the glass window using a hammer or any blunt object. While burglars try to avoid making so much noise, they resort to destroying property if they think it’s the fastest way they can gain entry into the home. They usually do this when they know that the family is on vacation or no one’s home.
Typically, insulated glass is used in double hung windows but no matter how thick the glass is, it can still be shattered. To make the glass a lot harder to break, a security film can be applied. It’s a clear film that you can easily stick on your window. What the film does is to keep the glass together even if burglar breaks the glass.
Just cut the security film to the desired size and coat the window both inside and out to reinforce the glass. The glass will still break but the shattered pieces will still be in place because they are held by the security film. It will take the burglar a long time and the noise will get the attention of the neighbors. If burglars can’t break into the home quickly, they will simply give up and move on to the next house. Applying an affordable security film protects your home from theft.
 Install Motion Detector Lighting
Burglars strike at any time of the day but they can be deterred by a strategically placed motion detector lighting around the home. Motions detectors typically work by sensing heat waves (infrared waves) that radiate from moving objects. Humans and animals emit heat so when they move within the detector’s field of view, they trigger the device, which in this case, the lights will come on.
Installing motion detector lights is an inexpensive way to deter burglars and unwanted visitors. Mounting the motion sensor light six to ten feet above the ground is ideal so that the device can capture more movements within its sensitivity zone. It’s recommended to position the sensor light in areas leading to your driveway, front door, back door, garage door, and darker areas around your property.
 Replace Phillips Head Screws with Tamper-Proof Security Screws
Exposed screw heads of your shed lock can easily be bypassed by thieves using a screwdriver. Shed door hinges are secured by standard Phillips screw heads which can easily be removed. They can be replaced by Torx-head screws, hex-head screws, or Allen head screws. They work quite well in deterring thieves because they require special tools for them to be removed. Any tamper-proof security screw works effectively as well because they require specific bits that fit tightly into the shape of the recess of the screw head. For example, a Torx-head screw typically has a star-shaped recess that requires a Torx bit while a hex head screw has a hexagonal slot that requires a hex-key wrench. Allen screw head is designed with a six-headed hole so it requires an Allen wrench to unscrew it. Unless the thieves have the right tools, the shed lock is a little more secure and you can have peace of mind.
 Use Locks that are Bolt Cutter-Proof
Thieves will use all the tricks in the book just to break into your home. Even if you put big locks, they will just use their angle grinders and bolt cutters. It’s time to switch to heavy-duty locks with shackles that are harder than hardened steel. Get the type of lock that has a shrouded design which minimizes the exposure of the lock shackle. This design is a built-in security feature that protects against bolt cutters. It provides maximum resistance to sawing, cutting, prying, and hammering. Even when armed with bold cutters, thieves will have a tough time cutting or picking locks. These durable locks are best used for sheds, garages, storage units, trailers, and containers.
 Install a Heavy-Duty Pick-Proof Deadbolt
A deadbolt lock adds another level of security to your home. It’s activated by a key or a thumb turn, depending on the type of deadbolt you purchase. It’s essentially pick-resistant because it’s not spring activated and therefore cannot be jimmied opened using a knife or a credit card. This type of lock is suitable for solid wood, fiberglass, or steel doors because it needs to be installed on sturdy and durable doors. If installed on a hollow core door made of thin wood, it can be easily battered.
Deadbolts are given a grade rating of 3 to 1. Grade 1 deadbolts are the toughest and most durable in their class. They are inexpensive but they provide maximum security. So when choosing a deadbolt, look for a grade rating of 1.
To further reinforce the deadbolt, install a flip guard that holds the deadbolt firmly in place. So even if someone is trying to bump your lock, the latch will not pop open easily. Once the flip guard is engaged, the door cannot be opened from the outside even with a key. It keeps you safe when you’re home alone. It keeps people out until you actually answer the door.
 Secure Sliding Doors with a Security Bar
Sliding patio doors are easy targets for thieves and burglars. These doors are not only easy to pick, but they’re also easy to break open. Glass doors can be smashed using blunt objects. By simply putting a security bar on your patio door track, you are adding security to your home. Security bars are made from durable steel. They are adjustable so that it fits different sliding door lengths. Security bars can also be customized to match the interior design of the home.
Alternatively, a security lock is used to secure the sliding door. This type of lock is fastened along the bottom of the patio door and it comes with a bolt that attaches to a grommet to secure the door. Another type of lock attaches at the top of the door instead of placing it at the door track. It serves as a stopper so it secures the patio door. It’s easy to use because you only need to pull down to release and unlock. Whether you use a security bar or a door guard, you’ll get an added level of security that can deter thieves and burglars.
 Reinforce Your Garage Door with Wooden Panels
Wooden garage doors typically have weak center panels that thieves can easily kick in. Having a deadbolt is not enough to secure the entry doors so reinforcement is necessary. An inexpensive way to theft-proof your garage door is to install a half-inch thick plywood reinforcement panel and then add a bar secured by bar-holder brackets. It’s an old-school garage security tip that will not cost you a lot but the level of additional security it provides is top-notch.
 Use a Security Anchor to Protect Bikes, Tools and Equipment
What happens when burglars got through the first level of defense of your home? Protect the tools and equipment that the thieves are after by using a security anchor. This serves as a permanent locking point for bicycles, vehicles, tools, and equipment. It attaches to concrete ground, wall, or trailer bed.
So even if you do not have a designated place for your bike and gear, you can secure them with a heavy-duty anchor lock. Even the most persistent and determined thief will give up trying to unbolt because it’s extremely difficult to remove and time-consuming. Thieves and burglars will make too much noise trying to unbolt it. This will definitely deter thieves who will most likely move on to much easier targets.
 Fasten a Small Safe to the Floor to Protect Your Valuables
It’s always a great idea to make things difficult for burglars and thieves. They may succeed in breaking and entering your home, but may fail in getting what they came to your home for. Having a small safe can protect your valuables against thieves. With a safe, the thieves will have a tough time busting it open. To further frustrate them, make sure to fasten the safe to the floor or wall. Some of the best options are the cube floor safe, cylinder floor safe, and underfloor safe. With some DIY, they can be bolted on the floor or mounted inside a wall.
 Install a Door Scope
There are times when thieves pretend to be a utility or delivery crew. Before opening the door, you have to make sure you know who’s on the other side. Traditional peepholes still work to some extent, but most of them are so small that you can’t clearly identify the person. The field of view of most peepholes is so limited that people on the other side of the door can actually go out of view. In some situations, the view is so distorted that it’s nearly impossible to make out who is on the other side.
An inexpensive alternative to the traditional peephole is the door scope. It’s essentially a wide-angle door viewer that allows you to view up to 7 feet from inside your home. This means you can easily see who’s on the other side before they can get very close.
 Secure Your Mailbox
With increased online purchases, mail thieves and porch pirates are on the rise. They hang about and wait for the most opportune time to steal your mail and packages. There are mailboxes that can accommodate a lock so all you need to do is buy a heavy-duty bolt-cutter-proof lock to secure your mailbox.
Alternatively, you can get a security mailbox that comes with lock and key. When the mailman drops the mail in the mailbox, no one else can get it but the person who has the key. Even persistent thieves may be deterred by the presence of a secure mailbox because it means more work, more time, and more attention.
 Apply Strategic Landscaping
A well-thought-out landscape design not only adds to the curb appeal, but it can also be an added security measure. Place thorny rose bushes or thorny plants under windows that can easily be accessed by burglars and thieves. While it may not be a strong deterrent, the bad guys will think twice about breaking into your home through the window. Anything that can delay their movements or cause unnecessary noise is going to dissuade them from continuing with their plans.
You must also remove excess shrubbery and hedges because burglars use them as hiding spots. You can trim tall shrubs so that no lurkers and prowlers can hide behind them.
 Install Door and Window Alarms
Wireless alarms are somewhat underappreciated because people tend to go for the more sophisticated and pricey security cameras. Not everyone can afford a high-end security system. Locking doors and windows is the first line of defense but it can be reinforced by inexpensive wireless anti-theft door and window security alarms.
There are different types of alarms for this specific purpose but the magnetically triggered alarm works on most sliding doors and windows as well as hinged doors. These are very loud alarms (over 100 decibels) that can alert the entire household and even the nearest neighbor. This type of alarm is only activated by opening windows and doors but the piercing sound will catch burglars off-guard. The loud noise attracts attention and it would send them running.
 Install a Smart Outdoor Security Camera
Not all security cameras are expensive. While most low-end security cameras only have basic security features, others have advanced features. Get one of those smart outdoor security cameras with motion and person detection and night vision. This enables you to see and hear what’s happening and at the same time able to see clearly who’s outside even in pitch-black darkness. By being are alerted to unwanted visitors, you’re always one step ahead of them and can make the right decisions to protect your home.
 Use a Combination Lock-Box
If you’re the type to put your house key under the mat, in a flowerpot, or under a stone, you’re inviting the bad guys. This just makes things a lot easier for them to gain access to your home when you’re away. Old habits are hard to break so if you want to hide your key outside, you need to be smart about where you hide it. Instead of hiding your key in predictable places, keep it in a combination lock box made from tamper-resistant steel. It’s easy to mount to any wall. It’s designed not to attract attention. Since it’s tamper-proof and secured by combination lock, burglars will have a tough time getting the key.
Alternatively, you can hide your spare key in plain sight in a fake rock. This rock is made from molded poly-resist that looks and feels like a real rock in size, shape, color, texture, and weight. It’s a clever way to hide your key and the burglars wouldn’t know any better.
 Install a Video Doorbell
Video doorbells are not just trendy devices that will eventually fizzle out; they actually add a layer of security to your home. With a video doorbell installed, you can see who’s at your door whether you’re at home or not. You can monitor outdoor home activities remotely by being alerted through the smartphone app. With a built-in microphone and speaker, you can chat with the person on the other side of the door. If there’s a suspicious person in your front yard, you can speak to them or scare them away.
With recording capability, the bad guys can be monitored and identified without them knowing. A smart video doorbell is an inexpensive way to monitor your home and keep unwanted guests away.
 Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Securing your home also includes making your Wi-Fi network hacker-proof. Thieves are not only after your money, jewelries, gadgets, and other valuables, they’re also after your personal and financial information. What’s even more worrying is that hackers can get your information easily and quickly without you knowing. Without security measures in place, you’re easy prey for enterprising hackers ready to sell your information to the highest bidders. So, you must enable encryption, use a firewall, create a strong password, and install anti-virus and malware software. This eliminates your vulnerability from hackers and identity thieves.
 Get a Guard Dog
If there’s one thing that burglars and thieves hate, it’s the presence of a formidable family guard dog. Dogs that are naturally suspicious of strangers and look intimidating will most likely deter criminals. Dogs with a loud bark do a good job of alerting you when suspicious people are outside your door. Of course, dogs that are tasked to protect the home must be properly trained and socialized. They must be able to distinguish friends and relatives from the suspicious strangers. Not every dog can be protectors, so make sure that you choose one that is trained by an experienced trainer. So whether it’s a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman, or Boxer, the dog must undergo the right training.
 Befriend Your Neighbors
Good neighbors will alert you when something suspicious is going on when you’re away. Some of them may like to poke their nose in their neighbor’s business and that can be used to your advantage when you’re not around and you want a set of eyes monitoring your property. When you’re friends with your next-door neighbor, you can ask them to alert you if there’s a suspicious person hanging around. You can return the favor when it’s their turn to go on a vacation.