Who is watching your home while you are away? It may be more than your neighbour...

Home invasions and burglaries are on the rise. Although the prospect is frightening, there are a number of measures that a homeowner can take to protect their residence. The peace of mind that a home alarm system gives you cannot be measured in dollars.

While most of your possessions may be easily replaced, many of your special mementos and valuables may be irreplaceable. Although your home insurance will likely cover most of your losses, they cannot take away the feeling of being violated and the fear that your home will be targeted again. While theft may be easier to understand and reconcile, vandalism is a senseless act that cuts deep and leaves lasting scars. Often one of the first things that homeowners do after a break-in is to install a home alarm system. They could have saved themselves so much time and aggravation, had they inquired about a home alarm system sooner. Installation of a home alarm system is an investment that you hope will never have to pay off.

For a low monthly fee, a home alarm system can provide added protection to you and your family. It will alert the authorities in your absence, providing protection by monitoring temperature changes, detect gas leaks and floods. Functioning smoke alarms can alert the fire department to the presence of smoke before a fire breaks out.

There are a number of additional measures that a homeowner can take to minimize their risks. Installing lights on motions sensors outdoors and using randomly set timers gives the impression that someone is home. It is a good idea to install extra lighting in the shadows and vulnerable areas of your home. It is also recommended to trim back bushes and trees that may enable someone to lurk undetected in the shadows. Window grills designed to impede a burglars' access through a basement window, can be purchased and easily installed, although it is important to ensure that you still have exits in the event of an emergency. Empty your mailbox regularly and do not allow an accumulation of flyers on your doorstep. Why make it easy by announcing that no one is at home? To further give your home a lived-in look, enlist a friend or neighbour to keep your lawn mowed or your driveway cleared of the snow while you are away. Stickers and placards can be affixed to doors and windows, announcing that you have the protection of a home alarm system. Burglary is frequently a crime of convenience and if your home is not identified as an easy target, hopefully they will decide that it is not worth the effort.

Ensure that you remember to lock all the doors of your home, especially the one from the outside that accesses your garage. Once a burglar gains access to the interior of your garage, they can work unnoticed and undisturbed. Conveniently, the tools they need are often right there. They may even be able to open the garage door, backing their vehicle inside to remove items from your home in privacy.

Security should be everyone's business. Make it your business too.

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