Each year in the U.S. there are more than five million home burglaries and a surprising nine out of ten of these crimes are preventable! You can cut your risk of being burglarized vastly by taking simple steps to make your home more difficult to enter and less enticing to would-be burglars.
Here are 10 mistakes that burglars WANT you to make—check this list to avoid making them:
- Leave your doors unlocked.
- Leave your windows unlocked.
- Leave your tool shed unlocked.
- Build a high fence/private yard. Private secluded yards allow burglars to operate in secrecy!
- Don’t install outdoor lighting.
- Don’t have a home security system.
- Leave your keys in the car in the driveway/garage.
- Use a webcam as “home surveillance system.” This will be no help when the thief is wearing a mask—and who is available to constantly check the constant feed and from where?
- Don‘t bolt down your safes. There’s nothing keeping an able-bodied thief from just carrying your safe—and all its precious contents– away with him.
- Trust in “hidden keys.” Your hiding places aren’t going to fool burglars for a minute—after all, they steal from strangers for a living!
THREE GREAT WEAPONS IN THE FIGHT TO PREVENT BURGLARIES: LIGHT, TIME AND NOISE
- Mount exterior lights out of reach where burglars can’t easily unscrew bulbs.
- Purchase and install motion-sensitive lights, now available at relatively low prices.
- Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.
- Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows so burglars can’t hide in the shadows
Make it time-consuming for a burglar to break into your home:
- Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
- Install double-key locks in doors which contain glass. This will keep a burglar from being able to open the door simply by breaking the glass and reaching through. (Note: Be sure to keep the key in designated place, for escape in case of fire).
- Place additional locks on all windows and patio doors.
- Get a dog. You don’t need a large attack dog; even a small dog creates a disturbance that burglars would prefer to avoid.
- Whenever possible, have someone care for your dogs in your home while you’re away, instead of boarding them.
- If you can afford it, install an alarm system that will alert neighbors of a burglar’s presence. Most systems can even summon local police directly. Don’t forget to check the Alarm Code.
Other tips to prevent break-ins:
- Think like a burglar. “Case” your home the way a burglar would and look for easy ways to get in.
- Be sure valuables like electronic devices and artwork are not visible from the street.
- Be sure to lock up ladders and tools which could be used to break in.
- Work together with your neighbors. Organize a Neighborhood Watch and let your neighbors know when you will be away for an extended period.
- While on vacation, have someone pick up your newspapers and mail, so that you don’t advertise your absence.
- Display your house number conspicuously and have it well illuminated. This will help police and emergency personnel find your home quickly.
Just in Case…
Sometimes, all your efforts won’t stop a determined burglar. It’s wise to take some precautions that will help you get your property back should a criminal successfully break into your home:
- Make a list of your belongings, being sure to keep receipts, and periodically update this list.
- Keep copies of your inventory list and receipts in a safe deposit box or with a friend.
- You may choose to photograph and/or videotape your possessions to create a record of what you own.
- Engrave your valuables with an identification or mark to deter burglary and to prove ownership should the article be stolen and recovered by the police.
- Be sure you have the right insurance coverage. You may need to purchase additional coverage to protect special items like expensive jewelry or rare antiques.
- If you don’t own your home, consider buying a renter’s policy. Your landlord will generally not be responsible for your possessions.
Follow simple burglar-proofing precautions consistently for your safety and peace of mind.