You finally built or bought the home of your dreams, moved in, decorated to the max, landscaped, and then breathed a sigh of relief. But before that last breath, you need to discuss how you want to go about securing your home and family.

A Rottweiler puppy may not be the answer if you aren’t a dog person. Besides the inevitability of replacing chewed chair legs, table legs, pillows, and shoes, you still have to take the time and money to properly train them. Don’t forget that many homeowners insurance companies will cancel your policy if you have a pet that is on the “dangerous” list.

If you are considering a home security system, a valuable tool to narrow down your choices is word-of-mouth recommendations. Be sure you are calculating all the costs of maintenance, installation, monthly fees, and other hidden costs. The city or county in which you live may charge a fee for a permit for emergency services. In addition, there may be fees charged for your alarm going off accidentally.

If you have already determined that a fancy home alarm system is not in your budget, you need to consider other deterrents. The biggest assets you and your neighbors have on the fight against crime are each other. According to CNN, the neighborhood watch system can be more helpful than any alarm system you can buy.  The bad economy has had a two-fold impact on home safety: Crime is up and so are budget cuts for emergency personnel. There is more crime to fight and less people to fight it. This is the most compelling reason to revive or begin a community watch group keeping the neighborhood under watchful surveillance.

Here are other important precautionary measures anyone can take:

- Timed or sound activated interior lighting.

- Motion sensor exterior lighting focused on high-traffic and dark areas.

- Individual window alarms that chirp when opened.

- Install chain locks to allow safe visual identification.

- Install shatterproof film on your windows.

- Prevent sliding glass doors from opening on the outside by placing a wood dowel the length of the sliding track to the door.

Enjoy your new home without fear. Taking these protective measures will ensure you and your family’s safety, and bring your neighborhood together in keeping crime away from your street.