Simple DIY Projects to Create a Safer Home

by SafewiseNovember 28, 2014

As a homeowner, you’ve probably wondered what you can do to create a safer, more secure environment for your family. An easy, low budget do-it-yourself (DIY) project may be the answer.

DIY safety and security projects not only help you save money, they also foster a sense of control over your household’s well-being and give every family member the chance to get involved. If you’re ready to improve your home’s safety and security, use these 10 simple DIY projects to get started.

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1. Install a wide-angle peephole.
A peephole lets you see who’s on the other side of the door before you open it, helping provide extra protection to your family. Available at your local hardware store, peepholes are affordable and can be installed in a few easy steps. A wide-angle peephole is your best bet. It installs just like a traditional one but offers the benefit of being able to see someone who is standing slightly to the side of the door.

2. Replace your mailbox with one that’s more secure.
Thieves looking to steal your identity will scavenge through your mailbox for personal information. One way to secure your mail is by replacing your mailbox with a security mailbox. A security mailbox allows the mail carrier to put mail in the box, but a key is needed to open it and take the mail out.

3. Install a DIY home security system.
In the U.S., a burglary takes place approximately every 15 seconds. Installing a security system can help reduce the chance your home will be burglarized by up to 30 percent. There are many advantages of a DIY security system, including affordability and easy installation. In fact, most DIY systems can be set up in about 30 minutes. Companies that offer DIY systems, like FrontPoint or Protect America, will talk you through the process over the phone if you need help. The majority of DIY systems can be configured to meet your family’s unique needs, and may include window sensors, remote video monitoring, and motion detectors. FrontPoint offers a variety of powerful wireless home security packages to choose from.

4. Get a safe or create a secret hiding place.
For about $150 you can protect your valuable items and sensitive paperwork. Choose a home safe that can be bolted to the floor and offers at least 30 minutes of fire protection. Typically, a safe that’s 1.2 to 1.3 cubic feet is sufficient for home use. You may also want to consider creating a secret hiding place that even the smartest burglar won’t uncover.

5. Outfit your home with a paper shredder.
Criminals won’t think twice about digging through your trash to find information they can use to steal your identity. Considering identity theft costs the average U.S. victim $1500, buying a quality paper shredder for about $100 is a smart investment. Cross-cut shredders are preferred over strip cut shredders because they cut the paper both vertically and horizontally, making it more difficult for the criminal to piece the paper back together.

6. Place alert sensors in potentially dangerous areas.
One of the best DIY projects for boosting your home’s security as well as the safety of your family is using alert sensors in sensitive or potentially dangerous areas. For example, you can install an alert sensor to a medicine cabinet, gun safe, liquor cabinet or pool gate. Some home security companies will send you a text message alert that the sensitive area has been accessed.

7. Reinforce your home’s front door.
More than one third of burglars break into a home through the front door. Often, that’s because the door is hollow and easy to kick in, or has a subpar lock. Replace a hollow or old wood door with a new solid wood or metal clad door and then install a sturdy deadbolt. You may also want to consider outfitting your front door with an electronic lock. When paired with a home automation system some electronic locks can be controlled remotely via your smartphone or other connected device.

8. Illuminate your home with exterior lighting.
Installing flood lights or motion activated security lights is an affordable and effective way to make your home less appealing to burglars. They also help illuminate shadowy places where criminals can hide and shed light on walkways, making it safer for your family to come and go. Consider installing a floodlight above the garage door, and positioning motion activated lights on the side and rear of your home. Solar powered security lights aren’t typically as powerful as hardwired ones, but they are easier to install than wired lights and can be moved when needed.

9. Create a family escape plan.
A family escape plan can help get your family thinking about what to do should a fire break out or an intruder break in. Gather your family and walk through your home room by room. Identify possible exit points and routes of escape, and choose a place to meet outside of your home should you have to escape. Then, use the National Fire Protection Association’s escape planning grid to formalize your plan and post it where every family member can see it. Practice your escape plan every few months.

10. Secure windows and sliding doors with a dowel.
There are a few inexpensive DIY ways to beef up the security of your home’s windows and sliding glass doors. One of the cheapest and most effective ways is using a one inch diameter wooden dowel. Cut the dowel to fit snuggly between the window and the jamb to prevent it from being opened. Have children practice removing the dowel so they are able to do so during an emergency.

These easy and affordable DIY ideas attest that creating a safe and secure home for your family doesn’t have to break the bank or require a professional. What DIY project will top your weekend to-do list?

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About The Author
Safewise
Elli is the head of outreach at SafeWise. SafeWise is a community-focused security organization committed to home and family safety and security. Refer to SafeWise’s frequently ask questions about home security for just about every question you have related to security systems, home break-ins, security equipment, and home automation.

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