Simple security measures form the basis of an effective defence against thieves.
When planning how to secure your home, there are a few basic measures you should take into account before even considering anything fancy.
Line of sight
Lines of sight to the main window and door entry points of your house should be kept clear of trees and bushes. This means prospective burglars can't loiter there, taking their time to break in.
Buy quality locks
Buy both window and door locks: good quality deadlocks fitted to all external doors and proper locks on your windows, which bolt through the frame, are essential as a starting point.
You should also buy both window and door grilles. It is recommended that external doors should also have proper mesh security doors fitted. The hardware store cheapies will keep flies out but can be fairly ineffectual against an experienced house breaker. Steel security grilles or roll down shutters can also be fitted to windows.
Use sensor lights
Sensor lights on the outside of your house work as a deterrent, as anything which interrupts or startles a burglar will make them think twice about continuing. They can be wired into your mains (a job for a qualified electrician) or powered using an extension lead running from inside the house.
If you're setting these lamps up yourself, make sure that trees moving in the wind or family pets aren't going to be setting them off all night long as you may find yourself distinctly unpopular with your neighbours.
Look after valuables
It is always better to store your valuables in a safety deposit box at the bank rather than in your home, but this may be impractical for regularly used items. For items that must be kept at home, a properly installed safe is far more secure than the top drawer of your dresser.
Cameras and electronic equipment should be engraved with a security number and records should be kept of makes, models and serial numbers. Your local police station will provide advice on how best to do this.
Limit access from the garden
If you have a shed, keep the door locked. Use a quality case-hardened padlock with a hardened shackle. Garden sheds often present burglars with a soft target and things like mowers, leaf blowers and bicycles are easily converted into cash.
Ladders, if left out, can not only easily be sold by a thief but can also provide them with access to second floor windows or skylights.
These basic physical measures, when used in conjunction with electronic security, are the best protection you can have.
For personal protection, install a peep hole in the front door and fit a security chain or latch which will allow the door to open a crack. The safety of these measures can't compare to having a video-intercom at your door, but they're better than nothing at all.
Security and insurance
Before you can get home and contents insurance you will generally have to satisfy some basic security requirements, particularly if you live in an area with a high incidence of burglary. If you install a higher level of security in your home, such as a window and door alarms or a motion detector you may also receive a discount on your insurance premium.
Security and fire
Although making your home into an impenetrable stronghold might make you feel secure against theft, don't forget that danger can come from inside as well as out. A fire in your home is always going to be disastrous. But if door deadlocks and window grilles prevent you from escaping your home easily, it could be deadly. Make sure that when you install your security you leave yourself an escape path through in case of emergencies - contact your state fire authority for more information.