Protect your home without spending a fortune

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Whether you leave town for a vacation or just step out to run a few errands, a simple mistake can leave your home vulnerable to burglars. Local 2 consumer expert Amy Davis found three easy ways to increase your home's security without spending a fortune

It was another routine morning for Katie. She was getting ready to leave for work when she noticed her bike was missing.

"More than anything, I was just really, really frustrated and irritated and a little, more than a little, angry," said Katie. "Secondly, felt a little foolish becausethe side door of the garage had been unlocked."

Getting a good, sturdy lock is the first step to securing your property. Angie Hicks from Angie's List warns not all locks are created equal.

"You want to check with the American National Standards Institute to find the rating for each lock you are considering," said Hicks.

The most common type is the single-cylinder deadbolt. It has a twist knob on the inside and a key on the outside. You can get one for about $100.

"That included the cost of the deadbolt lock and the keys. It was worth it because the bike was worth well more than that," explained Katie.

Check your door frames to make sure they're in good condition. A solid door is more secure than a hollow door.

Since most criminals like to work under the cover of darkness, a well-lit home and property is a good deterrent.

"When installing security lighting, the key here is to make sure you are using it properly," explained Hicks. "Lights that are left on all the time are often ignored and may not be a sign that you are actually home."

Lighting contractor Ralph Redmond said homeowners should put the lights on a sensor system with different setting options

"The newest types of controls have a lot of functionality and they are easy to use," said Redmond. "They can turn the systems on and off at the times that you desire, even multiple times during the day, if you choose. And they also adjust every day automatically for the current dusk and dawn times."

If you hire a locksmith, do your research to make sure you are using a reputable, local locksmith. They should come in a marked vehicle and you should be able to pay by check or credit card.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.