Burglary is a common threat to most households in the United States. Being a victim of a burglary can leave you feeling violated and psychologically scarred. Homeowners often forget that burglaries are mostly committed by opportunists, who break-into homes that seem an easy target. A slight mistake such as leaving your door unlocked for a few minutes can become an invitation for a burglar.
According to the FBI, in 2013, over 8,000,000 property crimes were reported out of which 74% fell in the category of residential burglaries. Unfortunately, there is no failproof way to keep out burglars. However, there are many steps you can take to minimize the risk of a burglary. Most of these steps are simple, yet effective.
Here’s what you can do…
Reinforce doors and door frames
Take a walk around your house and check all the entry points. If you were a burglar, would you be able to break in? Ask yourself. If the answer is yes, then we have a problem. Most doors are hollow and light weight. Hollow doors can be easily broken with a few forceful kicks.
Securing the entry points of your home is crucial. You can replace the hollow doors with solid core doors. Solid core doors are made from different material such as wood or metal. These doors are more resistant to force, and a burglar may avoid spending too much time or effort trying to break a solid core door. You should also reinforce the door frames with long screws that penetrate the wall.
To make your home more burglar-resistant, add extra locks to your doors and windows. There are many different types of pick-resistant locks available in the market. It is recommended that you take a trip to your local hardware store or visit a locksmith to find out which door lock you should get. Here are the two most common types of locks you can consider getting:
Deadbolt lock – is secure and cost-effective
Mortise lock – has dual locking system and is hard to pick
You may also want to consider getting additional locks for your windows. Depending on the type of window you have, you can choose from different locks such as the following:
Sliding window locks- prevents a window from sliding open
Keyed sash locks – are suitable for double-hung windows
Folding locks – prevents the window from opening completely
Keep shrubs trimmed
A messy yard with overgrown shrubs and trees can give burglars what they are looking for – the perfect hiding spot. Overgrown bushes near windows, unpruned trees, and other vegetation can give burglars a place to hide, observe, watch your home, and plan a break-in.
By keeping your yard trimmed and clean, a burglar won’t be able to find camouflage or covering. Also avoid leaving gardening tools outside which can be used by burglars to break-in.
Make your home look lively and occupied
Piled up mail and turned off lights give the impression of an unoccupied home. A burglar will prefer breaking into a home that looks empty. You can avoid this by taking a few simple steps such as the following:
Request USPS to hold your mail, if you plan to be away for a few days/weeks
Ask your neighbors to pick up any package or mail while you are away
Install light timers that will automatically turn on the lights at scheduled times
Keep your firearm ready
If you own a gun, make sure you keep it in a location that is easy and quick to access in case of an intrusion. You may use a gun magnet to conceal the weapon in a safe location, while also making it easy to draw when the need arises. This location could be your side drawer in the bedroom, a gun safe in a store room or even under the furniture.
Beware of social media risks
Don’t let the bad guys know you will be out of town. An “innocent” post on Facebook or Twitter about your upcoming vacation could increase the risk of a burglary. Burglars use social media too, and keep track of potential targets. It is recommended that you avoid posting your vacation plans and…
Avoid posting pictures of gifts and expensive items
Never post your address and contact details
Avoid accepting public invitations on social media
Avoid using check-in features
A well lit house may keep burglars at bay. Install lights in the following locations:
If you want to go one step ahead, you can opt for motion light sensors. The light will automatically turn on every time a movement is detected within its range.
Install a home security system
A home security system is a great way to maximize the security of your home. This system is designed to detect intrusion and alert you or the law enforcement agency. It comes with a range of sensors, an alarm, and a control panel. You can place sensors around your home’s perimeter and connect them to the main alarm. Every time a sensor picks up any unusual activity or a possible break-in, the alarm will go off. Here are a few other benefits of installing an alarm system:
A security system can detect fires, floods, smoke, and other hazards
You can make sure help is available even if you are away by programming the system to connect to the police department or a monitoring center
Burglars avoid breaking into homes that have security systems
You can upgrade the system and add more sensors and cameras
Never leave without locking up
Whenever you go out, lock all doors and windows. This includes locking the garage door, basement windows, first floor windows, and even the back door.
Don’t hide spare keys outside
If you have spare keys in secret hiding spots outside your home, remove them immediately. Such hiding spots are not as secretive as you might think. It is also recommended that you avoid giving spare keys to others, unless it’s an emergency. Only give keys to people you trust.
Post security company signs near the doors
Whether you have installed a security system or not, post a sticker or a sign that says your house has a security system. You can also go for other signs such as “beware of dog”. Such signs can deter burglars and lower your chances of being burglarized.