DIY active home security for $15

Here’s how I put together an active burglar deterrent in my home for $15. These work at night and help make my home less attractive as a target. Unlike having alarms blaring when someone breaks in, this leads burglars look for another home to consider even before an incident occurs.

I’ve been meaning to write about the steps I take to make my home less of a target. With my wife and my kids, I cannot take risks (actually nobody does). I read a few home invasion incidents on and realized that my neighborhood is normal. By normal, I mean it is not a fancy neighborhood, it is not a high crime neighborhood, it is one that is just like everyone else’s. That means that those home invasions that happened there can happen to mine as well.


If a criminal wanders into my street looking for an opportunity, the homes will all look about the same. One home might have nicer cars or windows. Another might have a dog or a good fence. For me, my home looks like someone is up and working all night. Do not come here, somebody is awake.
By this, I mean the garage has lights and a loud radio turned on at night til the early morning. In the quiet of the night, my neighbor does not hear it. From the sidewalk you might faintly hear the music. From the driveway, you will hear it and you can definitely see some light. All signs of human activity.
Here’s what you will need:
  • appliance timer
  • FM radio
  • lamp
The appliance timer is available on Amazon or Home Depot. This one is an indoor timer and is manually set for hours of the day you want stuff turned on. There are fancier ones, but this is my choice for my budget.
Used radio-part of my DIY home security setup. The sticker is still on it, cost me $5
I went to my local Goodwill store and got myself this radio for $5. Set it to your preferred radio station so you at least like the music if you hear it at night.
A decent lamp. This one is something most homes already have. Pick your least favorite lamp or get one at the same Goodwill store. My $15 budget is an approximation, it will vary on how you execute the overall idea.
Now the key is to find a location in your home from which you can set this up for best effect. It should be audible and visible from the main approach to your house-or at least the main approach that burglars may take. You might put this so it is heard or seen from a dark area on your property. In my case this was the garage-most of the burglary attempts in my area were from the garage or back door. This takes care of the front of the house.
For the rest of the house, I will be putting another one of these for the same effect in the backyard. Maybe on my wife’s next trip to the thrift store we’ll get another radio. Right now I supplement the garage “activity” with a light turned on elsewhere in the home, in a spot visible from the outside. Also, our backyard and front lawn both have lights turned on all night.

From what I have read, most robberies occur early in the morning or in the middle of the day when the home is empty (like when parents go pick up their kids from school). You can set the timer how you see fit and this should help make your home less of a target by appearing to have people still up and about at those times.

Note: this is also super helpful when we leave for days and the home still looks occupied at night.

Thanks for reading, I hope you find this useful. My goal is to help make resilient families. If you have any suggestions or feedback post them below. You can also check our Facebook group for daily updates and tips all focused on how to makeresilient families.

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