Home security is important to everyone, and if you have children or elderly family members living at home, it’s likely even more of a concern. Ensuring that your house is well guarded against would-be intruders can be a big job, however, especially if you own a lot of property or are on a tight budget.

The good news is that there are many options available for those who want to amp up their home security, from simple DIY projects that can be done in a weekend to more involved, professional jobs. The key is to sit down with your spouse or partner and talk about what you want, what you need, and what makes sense for your budget. Work out a timeline to get everything done in and do some research on different companies around town that can help you out.

Once you’ve got a plan, think about these options for home security.

Outdoor lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to deter intruders, and there are many different options these days according to what your budget is. You might think about motion-sensor lights to put up around the garage and entryway area, and small solar-powered lights to place around the driveway or front path. After installation, check the bulbs often to ensure they’re still in good shape, especially if you’ve had bad weather recently.

Find a safe room

It’s not a bad idea to designate a “safe room” in your home that will act as a meeting place for everyone in the family in case of an emergency. In here, you can switch the doorknobs around so that it locks from the inside, or you can add additional locks so you can barricade yourself inside. Ideally, this room would have good-sized windows to allow for escape, so it would need to be on the ground floor if possible. Barring that, you should keep a cell phone and charger in the room.

Keep all sightlines clear

You’ll want to keep hedges trimmed at all times, especially around windows and doors. Make sure you have a clear sightline outside from any angle inside your home, especially to the driveway and backyard. You can also plant thorny bushes around windows, which can work for you as a deterrent.

Hold your mail

If you’re going away on vacation or just out of town for a few days, ask the post office to hold your mail or get a friend to pick it up for you while you’re gone. A full mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and that can be dangerous. You might also consider having your newspaper delivery halted, and talk to your neighbors to let them know when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back.

Leave the electrical work to the pros

Adding lighting around the home can be tricky; some are easier to install than others. However, it’s important to leave the big jobs to the pros. For outdoor light fixtures that also hold small surveillance cameras, be sure to call someone in to take care of the wiring.

Home security can be daunting, especially if you’re attempting to install new things yourself. It’s best to start with a good plan and a budget before jumping into a project, and talk to your family so that everyone is on the same page. Having the ability to keep your family safe will give you peace of mind in what can be a very chaotic world.

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