One of the most important resolutions you can make for 2015 is to improve your home’s security. But with so many home security gadgets and gizmos on the market, how do you know where to start?

We’ve compiled a list of eight easy and budget-friendly ways to help fortify your home against burglars.

1. Install a home security system.

Nothing tells a burglar that your home is protected like a home security system. In fact, homes with monitored home security systems are three times less likely to be burglarized than homes without security systems. Because of this, many insurance companies offer discounts up to 20 percent on homeowner policies when a monitored home security system is installed and used in the insured home. There are a number of home security systems available, from professionally installed systems that offer a variety of home automation features in addition to security features, to DIY security systems that can typically be installed in less than 30 minutes.

2. Replace worn house numbers.

The longer it takes police to find your home, the more time a burglar has to gather your treasures and make off with them undetected. Replace your home’s worn numbers with new, easy to read ones that emergency personnel will have no trouble spotting. Inexpensive and easy to put up, reflective house numbers mounted on a mailbox post and on your home are a great choice.

3. Secure gates and sheds.

An open gate is like eye candy to a burglar. Keep your gate closed at all times, and if practical, secure it with a padlock. Not only will closing and locking the gate likely deter a burglar, when a neighbor sees the gate open it will raise a red flag. You’ll also want to keep the door of the shed closed whenever it’s not in use so criminals don’t get a peek at the goodies stored inside and secure the shed door with a high quality padlock that includes a tamper alarm.

4. Trim overgrown landscaping.

Overgrown shrubs offer burglars the concealment they need to break into your home without the neighbors noticing. Trim landscaping near windows and doors, and consider replacing it with prickly, uninviting plantings like holly or cactus.

5. Purchase a quality safe.

If a burglar breaks into your home, they’ll likely head right for the master bedroom. That’s because homeowners often hide valuables like jewelry, cash and guns in their dresser, under the bed, or in the closet. Protect your precious belongings from the burglar by storing your valuables in a fire resistant safe that’s built into a wall or secured to the floor.

6. Install motion sensor lighting.

There’s nothing more inviting to a burglar than a dark house that can be approached without being seen. Illuminate your home’s exterior with motion activated lighting. Relatively inexpensive to purchase and easy to install, exterior lighting is one of the most effective ways to keep thieves at bay. You might want to supplement your home’s lighting with a motion detection security camera that starts recording video the moment motion is detected.

7. Set interior lights on a timer.

Typically, burglars avoid homes that are well lit and occupied. If you’re not home at night, a digital indoor light timer can fool criminals into thinking that you are. Unlike the predictable timers of yesteryear, today’s digital timers offer random light cycles, as well as a number of programmable cycles.

8. Automate your home.

From locking or unlocking your home’s front door to turning on your home’s lights, home automation technologies give you the power to control many aspects of your home right from your smartphone or other web enabled device. Pair home automation with a monitored home security system, and you’ll boost the power of both technologies.

Thanks to advances in technology, fortifying your home against the bad guys is easier and more affordable than ever. Use these tips and make 2015 the year you resolve to improve your home’s security.

Top Image Credit: Gelotte Hommas

Is your home due for a safety upgrade this year?