Ways to protect your home from burglary
According to the US Department of Justice, an American home is the victim of burglary every 15 seconds.
“With the national economy getting worse, burglary is again becoming a more common crime,” said Charles Sczuroski, senior trainer for the National Crime Prevention Council.
While the average loss in a burglary is more than $2,000 in property, having a home break-in can also steal you and your family’s sense of security and peace of mind. Luckily, there are a number of ways that homeowners can protect themselves against burglary. The following are eight tips than can help protect you against break-ins.
1. Do a walk around. Take a few minutes to walk around your home, assessing potential entry points. If you notice a window with a broken lock, for example, a thief will notice the same thing. Many local police departments also have officers that provide courtesy home assessments to help identify weak points in your home security.
2. Trim shrubs and bushes. Overgrown trees, bushes, or shrubs, particularly those that obscure windows or doors, provide thieves the perfect place to hide while they attempt to break in. Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed so windows, porches, and doors are visible from the street. Likewise, planting low, thorny plants under windows can make getting to these access points difficult – and painful!
3. Close the blinds. Make sure all windows, including those in basements and garages, have some sort of window treatment. Blinds, drapes, and shades can keep your valuables out of the view of thieves – as well as give you and your family additional privacy.
4. Add motion sensors. Leaving on a porch light overnight may not be enough to deter thieves. Instead, install bright lights with motion sensors at any entrances to your home. This additional lighting is often enough to scare away any lurking thieves at night.
5. Secure vehicles. Make sure to bring in any valuables from your vehicles every night including purses, backpacks, computers, and tablets. Even if you park in a garage, do not leave spare keys or garage door openers in a vehicle overnight. Thieves can easily grab these items and return during the day with easy access to your home.
6. Avoid advertising expensive purchases. While you may be proud of your new flat screen TV, the giant box sitting next to the curb is as good as advertising to thieves. This is particularly problematic around the holidays when boxes from new electronics show thieves exactly what new toys are inside. Instead, try to dispose of boxes and packaging at public dumpsters or recycling facilities.
7. Make your house look lived in. If you are going out of town of vacation, leave your home with a “lived in” look. Ask a friend or neighbor to collect mail or newspapers, keep the grass trimmed, and put out and away trash bins. Likewise, various lights on different timers throughout your home can give the impression the house is occupied.
8. Consider a security system. While having a security system is not a foolproof level of protection against burglary, it is a significant deterrent to many thieves. Many security devices such as doorbell cameras can now be bought at home improvement stores, eliminating the need for a wired-in system or a contract with a major company.