Affordable home security, the new D.I.Y.

Okay, I know some might think this post belongs in the paranoia files, but home security is practical. More importantly, it's increasingly affordable, as companies offer do-it-yourself kits.

So what's a couple hundred dollars to protect your home and catch bad-guys? If you're not convinced, watch this incredible video captured by a Ft. Lauderdale woman who, while at work, caught young men breaking into her home via a live security-video-feed. It's a classic cops and robbers scene, and a perfect example that these handy-home cams aren't just for nanny-stalkers.

The Classic: The Teddy-Bear Nanny Cam
This cuddly, little fluff-filled creature isn't just for busting lazy babysitters anymore. Position these little cuties near doors and windows to get the best footage of crooks. It's obviously not so much a deterrent, but it can help bring criminals to justice and, like the Ft. Lauderdale example, you may be able to nab unwanted visitors in time.
Price: $199 from SpyAssociates

Pick of the Litter: Panasonic -- Wired Network Video Camera, Model BL-C111
This little classy cam will send you an email when someone sets off its heat-sensor. And it lets you monitor by logging into a website. User reviews are strong and say it's easy to use and install.
Price: $149 from BestBuy

Tricky Traps: The Spy Store

By now, stuffed bears may scream surveillance camera. If you want to be more discreet, try the Sponge Bob boombox with built-in spy cam from the SpyStore. Not a fan of the cartoon (gasp!)? Then try the oscillating fan, air purifier, or digital clock radio -- the James Bond versions, of course.
Price: $299-350

Looking for something more elaborate and techie? There are more hardcore options here, you big roller. If you think the idea of filming people is creepy --(which it's not! It depends on the context!) -- then Slashdot reports that InGrid and LaserShield supply do-it-yourself kits modeled after the services of traditional alarm companies. And Walletpop's own
Tom Kraeutler has more tips on cheap home security.

Remember: A happy home is a safe home. Happy criminal-nabbing!
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