How to protect your home for less than $100
But common sense and a few easy-to-install devices can help protect your home and family from intruders without costing a fortune, according to Officer Paul Rondeau, a crime prevention specialist at the Manchester Police Department.
For instance, there's a simple device available for about $10 that allows you to keep a window open a few inches but that triggers an audible alarm if someone tries to open it wider.
A few simple precautions, such as keeping ladders locked and out of sight (so burglars can't use them to gain access to upper windows), locking car doors and keeping bushes trimmed (to eliminate hiding places), can go a long way as well, Rondeau said.
And don't put large boxes that contained expensive items such as TVs on the curb for trash pickup. "That's a billboard telling the whole neighborhood you just bought a new TV," he said. Instead, he suggests cutting the cardboard into smaller pieces to go out with the recycling.
He and two partners just launched a new venture, homQu, selling do-it-yourself wireless systems from a kiosk at the Mall of New Hampshire.
A basic security package from homQu starts at $495 plus a $29 monthly contract, Davis said. Customers can add other home-automation services that let them know when their kids get home from school, turn on the heat or lights from their smartphone, or even take a photo of an intruder who's tripped the alarm.
Meanwhile, don't make it easy for burglars to figure out when you won't be home, experts advise.
That's why he likes the new home-automation systems that turn lights on from a smartphone.
Rondeau has another piece of advice: "Don't announce on Facebook that you're going on vacation." That goes for the kids, as well, he said.
He agreed with Rondeau that homeowners can do a lot to protect themselves with the technology available today.
"Anything is better than nothing," he said. "And a burglar does not like a lot of noise and a lot of attention. So if you can put some things on your windows that are going to make noise if somebody opens them, absolutely that's better than nothing."
"You may have less of it, but you still have the same kinds of things. If you talk to most small-town police chiefs, one of the two or three things they get the most calls about is burglaries," he said.