A majority of U.S. homeowners probably don’t have an alarm system. People have many reasons for not installing a security system: the unwanted expense, thinking they’re too complex, no perceived need or the home is secured by other means. A home should be secured in some manner, so let’s discuss those other means.

Option No. 1: Dogs

Until last year, my home had been secured by three large, assertive dogs — our “K9 alarm system.” With them around, we knew when anyone was approaching our home, and anyone approaching our house certainly knew we had dogs. (None of my dogs ever attempted to bite anyone. They just looked like they would be troublesome if someone wanted to cause harm to their family.) A dog would be my first recommendation as an alternative security system.

Who’s to Say?

After the last dog passed, my wife and I agreed we didn’t want the responsibility for a while. So we relied on the burglar alarm warning sign that came with the already-installed but later disabled system in our home. I have never received a valid burglary report for a home that had alarm warning signs posted outside.

Signs of Security allows people who don’t want an alarm system to order custom-made, owner-designed, home-security system signs. The combinations of sign design and layout are almost limitless, and they give the impression that the home has a working burglar alarm.

Smart Technology: Ring Doorbell

Recommendation No. 3 is to get a Ring doorbell/motion-detector system. The basic system is $99.99. It allows you to view, on your smartphone and from any location, who is at your door. It also allows you to talk to whoever is out there without opening the door. And it can link you with other Ring neighbors.

Basic Security: Securing Doors and Windows

A basic security measure is to secure your doors and windows. Deadbolts on exterior doors are a must! In most locales, burglar bars would be an extreme and unnecessary measure. If you do add burglar bars, make sure that they can be easily released from the inside. If you belong to a homeowner association, make sure they are permissible.

You should also remove any hiding places, such as large shrubs, that can provide a burglar with cover to work unobserved from the street. Keep exterior lights on after dark; fixtures with solar sensors on them make life easier.

Situational Awareness Is Key

Finally, always report any suspicious people, vehicles or activities you observe. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to through the years who didn’t call the police when they should have. They often said something like “I didn’t want to get anyone into trouble” or “Gee, I didn’t think anything of it” (“it” being the guy they saw prowling around a neighbor’s house). Let the police decide if the situation warrants a response and if anyone deserves to be in trouble.

If you put these suggestions into practice, word will get around the criminal community that chances of success at your residence are minimal.