The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S. Taking precautions to protect your house from a burglary is worth the small amount of time and money it takes. Check out our top five practices to use to help protect your home from potential burglars.
1. Team Up With Your Neighbors
A neighbor can report any unusual activity at your house when you are away, for example, but only if you know and trust each other. Your neighbor can also pick up your mail and newspaper, as well as shoveling snow from your walk when you are away for a few days. Taking care of these things makes it look as though you are home and this deters burglars. You can repay the favor and offer to do the same in return when they are away.
You might also want to leave a spare key with your neighbors instead of hiding one under the potted plant next to the front door. Experienced home thieves know exactly where to look for spare keys. It’s better to leave it with someone you trust than to tuck it under the doormat.
2. Leave a Light On
Set your lights on a time while you’re away. They should go on at dusk and shut off when you would normally turn in for the night. Make the illusion look even more real by connecting your television or stereo a timer too.
Lights outside of your house can help deter burglars as well. Set your porch light to go on with a timer as the sun sets. Motion sensing outdoor lights are another great idea. The light will turn on as someone approaches your house, which will dissuade anyone from trying to break in.
3. Install a Home Security System
Let potential thieves know that you have a security system installed by hanging the company’s logo in your window or by putting a sign in your lawn out front.
Don’t skimp on the security system. You want one with a motion sensor and one that alarms all entrance areas of your house, even that tiny window in the bathroom on the second floor. You might consider installing a system that sends out an alert if someone breaks a window as well. If you have a pet, consider a motion sensor that ignores the movements of your dog or cat throughout the house.
Keep your passcode private. Don’t write it on a sticky note and post it next to the alarm system. Memorize it and only give the code to people who live in the house or a trusted family member.
4. Trim Trees and Shrubs
Trim the bushes and trees around your house so that your landscaping looks nice but also so that potential thieves don’t have a place to take cover. It’s especially important to keep any greenery around the doors and windows tidy. An overgrown bush might just provide enough shelter from a burglar to wiggle the window open and slide in without anyone noticing. Be aware of other objects near your house that a burglar could duck behind. A child’s playhouse might provide the perfect hideout as can an empty garbage can.
5. Keep Doors and Windows Locked
Keep your windows and doors locked, even when you are home. Because a burglar can try to climb up to the second story to break in, lock the windows on upper stories as well. If you have an upper level deck or balcony, keep the doors on it locked as well.
Exterior doors should be durable and have deadbolts to keep thieves out. Doors that have windows require a deadbolt with keyed lock on either side. A deadbolt with a latch on the inside can be opened by a thief if he breaks the window.
Burglars are looking for an easy target – do what you can to avoid being that target. Working with your neighbors, installing a monitoring system and using common sense are all ways you can let burglars know that they are not welcome at your house.
What advice do you have for keeping your home safe?