When it comes to chances of your home being broken into, the odds are not exactly on your favor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that one in every 36 homes in America is likely to be attacked by burglars. Do you know how frequent that is? Take this: one home is being broken into every 13 seconds.
In 2012, more than two million homes fell to burglars accounting for 23% of property crimes. So if you think your home and your family are not at risk, think again. Whoever you are and wherever you live, burglars will find a way. If you are not careful, you can be on top of their list.
There are simple and practical tips to deter burglars that homeowners sometimes take for granted, making it easier for burglars to do their job. Sometimes it is as simple as closing and locking your doors. Do not sacrifice your family’s safety, privacy, and sanity by failing to take these simple precautions. Here are ten reminders to put off burglars:
Lock the doors
How easy can that be? And how easily forgotten?
The FBI Crime Report showed that 34% of break-ins are through a front door. Burglars are not rocket scientists and the first thing they look for is nothing but an unlocked door. About 30% of the time, they are in luck.
Aside from making sure the doors are locked, invest in a sturdy door. Burglars are desperate and aggressive and most of the time, they can pry a door open with just a few simple tools and one good kick. Make things extra hard for them by securing your door with a high quality deadbolt lock. A snug-fitting dowel can also help.
Secure your windows
Windows are also a common point of entry. Some 22% of burglaries start on the first floor window. Sliding glass windows are especially vulnerable. Use tempered and laminated glass for added security and make sure they have secondary locking devices. Putting metal window bars will also add a layer to privacy and security. Do not invite thieves by opening your curtains throughout the day without checking if your windows are secured.
Beware of the dog
Most burglars avoid homes with dogs. Dogs are not only man’s best friend. Their bark attracts attention and poses physical threat (especially big dogs). Burglars want to accomplish their mission with as little noise as possible and dogs will make it inconvenient for them.
Set up alarms
Security agency Safeguard The World estimated that homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be broken into. Burglars agree.
A 2013 research by the Electronic Security Association revealed that 83% of offenders said they would attempt to determine if a target has an alarm system. Sixty percent said they would go on to look for another target and discontinue the attempt. Aside from the sound of an alarm, another way to protect your family is to find an efficient way to install a surveillance camera that scares 40% of burglars and keeps them away. Security cameras could also help identify burglars and throw them in jail.
Put up “beware” signs
If you have a dog, an alarm system, or hidden security cameras in your home, let the burglar know about it. A visible sign that your home is protected tells the burglar that there will be consequences upon breaking into your home.
Mind your keys
Never make a habit of leaving a spare key under the doormat or the flower pot. Someone could see you leave or retrieve the key at one point. Don’t put information on your key that can reveal where you live because you might lose it and it would be fairly easy for a burglar to trace your address.
Make sure someone’s home
Make sure your home looks occupied even when is not. The FBI reported that most burglaries happen during daytime from 10am to 3pm when residents are in school or at work. Burglary incidence is also highest during summer months when families are on vacation (and announce them on social media).
Make sure your home appears lived in when everyone’s away. Use timers on your TV, radio, or lights that will automatically turn them on to give the illusion that someone is home. Contact billing agencies not to deliver your mail only to leave them in the mail box or in front of your door. A mail not picked up is a sign no one’s home. You could also ask a trusted neighbor to collect them for you.
Trim your yard
An untidy lawn does not only give the impression that a home is unoccupied. Shaggy shrubs and untrimmed trees also provide a good cover and good hiding places for burglars. Stand in front of your yard and ask yourself: can thieves possibly hide in these bushes?
Be a friendly neighbor
You are not a superhero and you can’t do things on your own all the time. Be friendly to your neighbors because you are going to need them. For example, when you are on your vacation, you can ask some of your neighbors to park in front of your home every now and then so it will look occupied. Ask a trusted neighbor to trim your lawn and pick up your mail and deliveries. Make sure they keep you in the loop whenever bad things happen in the neighborhood.
Think like a burglar
Put yourself in the shoes of a burglar. Look around your home and see if it is possible to be broken into. Look for red flags and weakest points of entry. Stand outside your home and check if it looks empty and looks vulnerable to burglars. Try breaking into your home to see if the doors and windows are secured and if the alarm system is working. Look at your home from a burglar’s point of view: if you were a burglar, would you target it?
Burglary is a crime of opportunity. Bad guys will take every chance they can get. Do not compromise your family’s safety and security by failing to do these deterrents — from installing alarm systems to simply locking your doors. These are simple and practical ways to secure your home and give everyone in your family peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.