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Some of the most effective measures you can take to protect your home cost nothing more than a little extra time and attention. Other home security measures come with a price tag, but the extra peace of mind makes the expenditures well worth it. These home security tips can help you protect your home and valuables without breaking the bank.

Pay Attention to Appearances

The way your home appears to passers-by can signal that it's either a burglar's ideal work environment or a target too risky to approach. For example, burglars can turn tall, thick trees and shrubbery near doors and windows into hiding places. On the other hand, plenty of exterior lighting – especially the kind activated by motion detectors – helps to deter would-be home invaders.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) advises being careful about what people can see through your windows and doors. Your home can still be a showplace for invited guests without giving outsiders a peek at your pricey electronics, art or antiques. Do your own walk-by to see what's visible and, if needed, rearrange your rooms to make your valuables less obvious.

Don't Advertise Your Absence

Burglars are known to scope neighborhoods for clues that dwellings are unoccupied. Piles of mail, packages that haven't been taken inside and houses that are completely dark in the evening are taken by burglars as signs that homeowners are away.

When you're going on vacation, tell a trusted neighbor or relative so they can keep an eye on your house. Hold your mail and newspaper delivery until you return, and consider getting automatic timers for some of your interior lights, so your house will seem occupied.

If it's financially feasible, you may want to hire a housesitter. You can even trade housesitting duties with a trusted friend so that both of you have peace of mind when you're away from home.

Invest in Extra Protection

For a modest cost, you can create barriers that make breaking into your home too much work for a hurried criminal. A burglar is likely to move on after five minutes of trying unsuccessfully to break into a home, according to the I.I.I.

Some small upgrades to your home can frustrate a potential burglar. Put padlocks on your storage sheds. Spring for a good deadbolt lock for wood and steel doors. Inspect your door frames and make sure they are strong. Burglars will sometimes bow the frame in order to pry open a door. A good strikeplate installed with long screws can leave a burglar scratching their head.

An alarm system is a bigger investment, but this article offers some good guidelines for choosing a solution that fits your budget. For a low-cost option, add alarms to key points around your home, such as the windows and doors on the first floor. You may want to sign up for a 24-hour monitoring service. For a monthly fee, these services will send police or other security personnel to your home if an alarm is triggered. If home security is a priority in your budget, look into sophisticated add-ons, like security cameras that can be monitored from your cellphone.

You may even be able to recoup some of your home security costs in lower insurance premiums, as many home insurance providers give discounts to people who install devices such as deadbolt locks and burglar alarms.

It's almost impossible to put a price on the value of protecting your home. Following these home security tips is a worthwhile investment of your time, attention and money.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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