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October 23, 2017

Securing your rental properties should always be a high priority.  Use the following low-cost DIY security ideas to keep burglars away.

Trim Back Your Shrubs

Robbers are more likely to break into a home if they have a place to hide. While plants, trees, and shrubs that line the home or apartment adds a nice aesthetic to the landscape, they can also provide burglars with a much-needed hiding place as they attempt to break in.

The process of modifying your landscaping for security reasons is called “defensive shrubbery” according to Ackerman Security, and here are a few ways to do exactly that:

  • Trim back any bushes around your home, especially under windows and near doors.
  • Plant thorny bushes or a row of spiky cacti under your windows, both of which will quickly deter any robbers.
  • Lay gravel around the perimeter of the home. If anyone is walking in this area, you’re more likely to hear the crunching underfoot.

Install a DIY Security System

Clunky, expensive security systems are a thing of the past. You can install your own on the cheap, starting with a basic wireless package. With the initial security system installed, you can add extra features a la carte, like alarms, sensors, motion-activated lighting, etc.

While going the DIY route will save money on professional installation fees, the holiday season is coming, and any extra savings is welcomed. To get the security you need, without sacrificing quality or spending more than you’d like, wait until you find a good deal or discount:

“Online discounts are most valuable in the technology sector, with larger discounts available the higher the price tag. With a small amount of research you can save around 10 percent on the original price,” says Marco Piu, General Manager Couponbox.com. Use an app to set price alerts at your preferred retailers and wait for the best pre-holiday deal.

Reinforce Doors and Windows

An investigation of 86 convicted robbers found that the most common way to break into a home was through an unlocked door or window: “I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut,” said one inmate, according to the investigation report. This makes it more important than ever to you reinforce both your doors and windows with the following DIY projects:

  • Update door locks: “When shopping for a new locking solution, look for those that come with a Grade 1 deadbolt, which means it’s earned the highest grade security certificate,” suggest experts at Safewise.
  • Replace door: Invest in a “pre-hung front door,” which is easiest to install on your own. Check out this tutorial from Lowes.
  • Replace windows: It’s easier than you might first assume to replace your windows. Follow this tutorial from DIY Network to save money and do it right the first time.

Build Smart Hiding Spots

Sometimes, the best way to make a home more safe and secure is as simple as keeping valuables out of plain sight. There are a few ways to help your tenants do this, including installing better blinds or curtains and adding “hiding spots” around the home. According to 6 Simple Tips to Avoid Home Break-Ins, some of the best hiding spots include:

  • A fake wall outlet
  • Mislabeled boxes in the garage
  • The inside of a houseplant

While you can’t make tenants hide their valuables, you can encourage them to take security into their own hands and use the fake wall outlet you installed, or find their own hiding places.

Reinforce the Garage

The garage is a common spot for break-ins—the 4th most popular, according to Nationwide, behind the:

1. Front door (34%)

2. First-floor window (24%)

3. Backdoor (22%)

4. Garage (9%)

While 9% doesn’t sound worrisome, any unprotected entrance on the property presents a security issue. If all the other areas are locked—the garage door is where a burglar will go next. Luckily, you can secure your garage and deter robbers from entering with a few simple DIY projects from this garage security guide:

  • Frost or cover the garage windows with curtains. This stops thieves from being able to see what’s inside or whether anyone is home.
  • Install a deadbolt or lock down the throw latch for an extra layer of security that’s nearly impossible to get through.

Remind tenants to always close the garage door and never keep a remote in their car, especially if they tend to leave the doors unlocked.

A Secure Season

This fall, make security your number one priority. Your property and tenants will be safer year-round, and especially during the holidays when they have even more goodies that thieves may want to steal. Use these ideas to reinforce entrances and keep valuables out of sight, both of which will increase security on a small budget.

Author Bio: Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She's worked with a variety of real estate clients and has written for Forbes, Inman, House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels

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