3 cheap ways to protect your home from burglars

Summertime vacations can be easily ruined if you return to a burglarized home. According to A Secure Life, FBI data suggests that one in 36 homes in the United States are broken-into on an annual basis. This rate is particularly high for a developed country - in 2011 the United States beat out 68 countries in frequency of burglaries. Each break-in carries with it an average loss of around  $1,675.

Knowing this you may find it time to begin looking into security measures for your home. There are many things you can do to protect your home from theft - some of them are even cheap. If you're looking to protect your valuables without spending too much money, here are some cost-effective ways to secure your home. 

And if you think you need some more advice, most police stations won't turn you down if you call and ask them to check your home for safety. 

Rely on your neighbors
This is a great way to keep your home safe from break-ins because it is free. According to U.S. News and World Report people who are friendly with their neighbors are less likely to be victims of a break in. They will be more likely to contact the police if they see suspicious activity on your property because of the concern they have for you and your home.

"If they like you and they care about you and they are concerned about their community, then if they see something unusual going on then they will check it out or call the police," said Steve Houseworth, a program director for Theft Talk.

Bankrate recommends letting your neighbors know next time you're leaving on vacation so that they can keep an eye on your house while you are away. In addition, there are social networking websites such as that connect neighbors and help stoke conversations between them.

Make the exterior of your home burglar-proof
Making the outside of your house safer doesn't have to mean locks on the doors or bars over the window either. Lighting is one extremely important factor in ensuring your home is safe. Stand outside your home at night and take a look around. The areas that you can't quite see very well are the places that may serve as hiding spots later on. Burglars need places to hide, and shadowy areas provide them with just that, writes Bankrate.

U.S. News and World Report suggests that you also keep in mind your home's landscaping. Easy escape routes or shrubbery to hide behind only make a burglar's job easier. The more open spaces your home has around it the less cover a criminal has. Using very dense hedges or thorny plants will help deter them. Additionally, trim trees that may provide access to windows on the second floor or above.

Protect from the inside as well
If a burglar makes it through your landscaping undetected and to the windows or doors of your home there are a couple measures you can install to prevent them from breaking in. You can keep windows safe by placing a cheap dowel on the track to prevent them from opening. Anything that fits inside the track will work, and this method can also be used for sliding doors, according to U.S. News and World Report. 

Deadbolts for the doors are recommended as well. But a deadbolt will do nothing if your door isn't made from a solid material such as metal or solid wood with a sturdy frame. 

If they do make it past all of your security measures there's one more thing you can do to prevent them from reaching your most precious valuables. If you bolt a safe to the floor there's little chance they will get away with whatever is inside of it. 

Want to learn more?