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By Lori Melton

Burglars often look for the easiest way to gain access to your home. If you’re looking for extra home security on a tight budget, there are plenty of handy, inexpensive tricks to keep common entry points like patio doors and windows from being opened. Check out these homemade security hacks that can ward off potential intruders by keeping these areas locked tight.

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Entry Door Strike Plate Reinforcement

You may not realize a door jamb can be a weak point on your front, rear, or side entry door. You can reinforce it by installing a heavy-duty strike plate with extra-long screws. If you have a newer door (less than 10 years old), chances are it’s already reinforced).

To install a new one, remove the old strike plate, hold the new one in place and make deep score marks around it. You will likely need to chisel out space for the new plate, then drive 3 inch screws into pre-drilled holes to mount it.

Securing Patio Doors

Burglars love patio door locks because they are usually pretty easy to pick. But, before taking extra measures to secure the door, you should first check to make sure the existing lock is working and latching properly. If not, update your lock.

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Next, a common and inexpensive way to keep intruders out is to place a heavy duty stick in the door track. This can be a wooden or metal dowel that is cut to fit into the door track. This will prevent the door from sliding even if the lock is damaged or disengaged.

Finally, some companies offer auxiliary locks that fasten to either the bottom or the top of the door with a bolt and a grommet. These locks allow the door to open slightly without compromising security. Or, commercial grade locks (found at your local hardware store) feature one or two-bolt locking mechanisms that attach at the point your door closes and feature steel bolts that drop into place.

Securing Windows

There a few inexpensive options for beefing up security by reinforcing your windows. For double-hung windows, you can install pin locks in the window frames. They cost about $2 each and you drill a small hole to insert the pin to lock it closed and a second hole a few inches higher to allow some ventilation, if desired.

Bars and grilles add an extra layer of protection to your windows and are nearly impenetrable by burglars. There are some cool transparent options and decorative bars that add security and won’t detract from your home’s exterior appearance.

Also, installing keyed locks and sash locks may cost a little more money, but can be very effective in deterring theft. And, adding inexpensive wireless window alarms can make a big improvement to home security for a small price. A Google search will turn up several inexpensive online retailers. They are easy to install and most thieves will run at the first hint of an alarm noise.

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Finally, planting thorny bushes helps to make your window inaccessible to intruders. Most thieves won’t take the time they would need to cut through them to get to your window.