Unfortunately, crime statistics in most countries mean we don’t all have the luxury of feeling safe in our own homes. Tight budgets and expensive home security contracts mean many people forego this extra line of defense. You can keep your home, and your family safe with alternatives though. Here are a few.

1 – Fortify your Home

Most of us have the basics when it comes to securing our doors and windows – burglar guards and yale locks on the doors. If you don’t have a home security system, you may need a little more. Installation can be pricey, but for a one-off payment that will last a lifetime, it’s worth it. Trellis Gates on your doors, and burglar guards on your windows that can’t be bent back or cut easily are a good option.

2 – The Lay of the Land

You may need to sacrifice the occasional skinny dip in exchange for your safety. With high walls and privacy fences, the moment someone is inside the fence, they’re out of view of neighbors, patrollers and anyone on the street. Covered windows and dense brush also offer places to hide. Make sure your yard doesn’t offer any convenient hidey-holes.

3 – Neighborhood Watch

If your area doesn’t already have a neighborhood watch, consider starting one. It can really strengthen a community, and having people on alert in the area may make for faster response times than 911. On top of that, the presence of patrollers in the area on a regular basis will be an excellent deterrent. Make sure to vary patrol times and routes, so that any criminals watching the area can’t work around a pattern.

4 – Add Deterrents

There are a lot of options for deterrents. A fierce-looking dog, or even the sound of one barking or growling will put off all but the most determined criminals. They’ll also react quickly and alert you to potential threats. CCTV cameras, even dummy ones will work, are also a big deterrent for most criminals, because of the threat of being identified. Many legit security companies will also sell signs to non-customers for a few dollars. Putting one on your gate or fence will give the appearance of having a security company.

5 – Contract Free Security

Companies like Alder home security systems don’t always make you sign a long-term contract. Rather than being tied to a 12 or 24-month contract, you can pay month to month. You’re free to cancel at any time, or change your plan whenever you want or need to. This is great if you need to move unexpectedly, or you install other security measures that change your requirements. You can upgrade or downgrade your plan as it suits you.

So change your fences, get a dog, trim your shrubbery or opt for a contract-free security company. If you and your neighbors are up for the odd all-nighter, start a patrol roster. Personally, contract-free offers the most freedom.