Home Security on a Budget

There’s no way to dress this up nicely; times are tough for many people right now. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, buying an expensive CCTV system is simply not an option. You won’t want to use precious electricity putting every light in your house on a timer either. The good news is – although the more expensive options of CCTV and burglar alarms are certainly very effective – there are also plenty of free or low-cost ways to help protect your home and belongings.

  1. Make the most of what you have

If you have a lockable garage or shed, make sure your tools and bikes are kept inside and that it’s kept locked.

If you’re fortunate enough to already have an alarm, CCTV or security light (you can pick the latter up quite cheaply, often with a motion sensor and/or solar powered, to save electricity), set a recurring reminder in your calendar to check they’re working.

If your windows have locks, be aware that some have winter and summer settings; the summer setting being more vulnerable to tools such as crowbars. You can check for yourself by placing a piece of paper behind the seal, closing the window and pulling at the paper. If it slides out gently, it’s likely in summer mode. There should be a screw mechanism on the side of the window that you can use an Allen key to adjust. If you do find any windows that need switching from summer to winter, it will help to keep the heat in too, so that’s a bonus.

  • Don’t make it easy

Make sure you’re not giving potential burglars an easy route in or a quick getaway. Keep windows closed (and locked if possible), don’t leave ladders lying around and don’t keep bins or other sturdy items below windows or next to fences.

  • Love thy neighbour

Keep an eye out for each other; if you’re going to be away from home for any period of time, it’s worth letting a trusted neighbour know. Try to also ensure that any entrances to your home are unobscured, cutting back tall hedges or trees. This makes it riskier for a burglar to enter your home unseen.

  • Put your stamp on your stuff

Police recover an enormous amount of stolen property each year, but the majority is impossible to reunite with the rightful owner, because there is no way to trace them.

Photograph items, the original purchase receipts if you have them and make a note of serial numbers or unique markings. If an item doesn’t have anything unique to help identify it, add your postcode or your phone number. Various marking and labelling methods are available, but any manner of mark will help – it doesn’t have to cost anything.

Send the pictures to a friend or family member so you have more than one copy or record them securely, free of charge, on the Immobilise National Property Register. Any police report or insurance claim will be more effective and faster to complete when you have this information to hand.


Les Gray is from Recipero Ltd, providing over 20 years of service connecting the public with police, insurers and traders. Property registration and transaction verification prevents over £35m worth of stolen property from being traded in the UK each month and provides vital evidence to help prosecute thieves.