Think home security is still about bulky camera equipment and wires running all throughout your home?
Today, things have changed quite a bit, and the playing field has been leveled. Advanced tools and security systems are more accessible and affordable than ever. (And installing them might get you a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.)
Full-service systems are still a popular option with many people. Companies offer central monitoring, video surveillance, smoke/carbon monoxide detection and more. Some even include home automation tools so you can control appliances from anywhere, and many will send text-message alerts in response to specific occurrences, such as when the kids enter the house after school.
Do-it-yourselfers who don't want an all-in-one system have many choices as well. Here are three of the newest and most popular security tools:
1. Smart (and small) cameras
Cameras today can be tucked anywhere and don't require wires. With a good battery and wi-fi connection, you can see what's happening outside - or inside - with a glance at your phone or computer.
2. Key-free doors
Say you have a friend stopping by to check on your dog while you're gone for the day. You don't have to risk leaving a key outside. With a code-based entry system, you can simply provide your friend with temporary access that turns on and off when you want.
3. Home automation products
It's easier than you think to give yourself remote access to the lights and appliances in your home. At least one available product can be used with your existing power outlets; simply plug it in and control the power to that outlet from an app on your smartphone. Don't ever worry about forgetting to leave a light on again.
Of course, even "old-school" tools, such as motion-activated outdoor lights, can still have a big impact on security. So whether you choose high-tech tools or stick to the basics, you'll be making your home a less attractive target for burglars.