We all know that the best time to buy a home security system is before a break in happens, but for reality TV judge and famous producer Simon Cowell, a burglary spurred £500,000 in spending on personal protection.
Last year, while Cowell, his wife and their baby son, Eric, were asleep, a burglar broke into their London mansion and stole passports, jewelry and other valuables. Now that the perp is in prison, Cowell spoke to The Daily Mail about how he’s beefed up his home to prevent further break-ins.
“I’ve obviously had to massively increase my personal security at home with every mod-con you can imagine, and all this stuff, including a panic room,” he told the paper. “My house basically looks like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
All-in-all, his home got half-a-million British pounds (or nearly $650,000 in the U.S.) in security renovations. While a panic room can obviously add to your cost when specing out a security update, Cowell also took some low-cost measures to feel safe.
“We called in these guys and one of the things they suggested was a baseball bat,” he said. “I’m not even joking. So I literally have a baseball bat ready to go if anyone comes in!”
Cowell’s thief got away with nearly £1 million in goods before he was identified, so spending half that may seem reasonable for a man worth more than $500 million. But non-celebrities don’t have to spend quite that much to get decent security.
You don’t need millions to be secure
While you could go with the baseball bat, there are plenty of great security systems available for a reasonable cost. DIY systems can really bring the costs down, with companies like Scout Alarm offering security solutions starting under $10 per month. Even more-established security companies that can be professionally installed start at just $20 per month.
Cowell didn’t go into many more details about his security setup, but his costs likely include more than just a panic room and security system — other upgrades probably include stronger locks on his doors and windows, clearer deterrents to potential thieves and maybe even on-site security staff to keep an eye on his property.
The American Idol star is not alone in spending a lot on home security though. At one point, rapper 50 Cent was spending $20,000 per week on security, while celebrity family Jay-Z and Beyonce spend $4 million each year to keep them and their children safe at home and on tour. Rapper Iggy Azalea even used her security system to catch a cheating fiance.
What we can learn from Simon Cowell’s break-in
Cowell likely had a security system in place, but it was either not engaged or quickly disabled before alerting the authorities. Obviously, you should always engage your security system to maximize your safety.
It also may be worth it to invest in backup security options on separate systems in case your first line of defense is broken. These include floodlights, improved deadbolts on doors and Wi-Fi security cameras.
You also want to invest in security now. You never know when a break-in may happen, and Cowell is already investing too late. He told Daily Mail that he’s still having nightmare about what could have happened. You can always start small, getting a few DIY devices to catch or deter burglars, and add more products over time as your budget allows.