Thursday, June 6, 2013 | 2 a.m.
In the 1990 movie “Home Alone,” Macaulay Culkin was able to fend off home invaders with defense systems fashioned out of strings, paint buckets and toy cars.
Although there is nothing cinematic or entertaining about real home invasions or being a victim of crime, crime-prevention experts say there are some inexpensive steps homeowners or renters can take to avoid being a crime victim.
Decorate your yard
Plant and take care of a good garden. Avoid planting tall bushes for a home invader to hide behind. Trim tall tree branches that could provide access to windows or roofs. Place thorny bushes near windows.
If you're leaving your car unattended, make sure there are no valuable items in plain view. If you buy a new toy with a large box, don't keep the box in plain view in your yard.
Make your house look and sound like someone is home
Get a dog or, at least, a pretend one. Place a "Beware of Dog" sign somewhere visible. If you have a security system sign, place it outside, as well. At night, leave the outside lights on. During the day, leave a radio playing classical music, rock music, talk radio — anything that will trick unwanted visitors into thinking that your house is full of people ready to dial 911.
Organize a buddy system with your neighbors. If there's a suspicious car or person, don't hesitate to call your neighbors and let them know. If you're going out of town, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to bring in the newspaper and the mail so that it doesn't start to collect.
Repurpose normal home goods
Although they're usually used to keep liquids flowing, a PVC pipe can also help you stop the flow of intruders. If you have a sliding glass door, place a PVC pipe in the sliding glass door track. Local hardware stores carry numerous types and sizes of PVC pipes.
Turn your phone into a security system
Set one of your quick-dial numbers to 911. If you're going on vacation, forward your home phone calls to your cellphone. You'll be a mere swipe and a button push closer to assistance. If you're walking alone at night, pretend you're talking on your phone or texting a friend. However, make sure that you remain aware of your surroundings because predators will target people who look distracted.