More than 1.7 million burglaries strike U.S. homes every year. A good security system is necessary for thwarting thieves, but there are more things you can be doing to safeguard your home.
The first things burglars hunt for is a house that looks vulnerable from the street. An overgrown yard, un-shoveled snow, overflowing mailbox, or stockpile of newspapers is a big advertisement that nobody is home and no one is watching the house. If your home appears empty, they’ll consider it a target.
Have a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member stop by periodically if you are away to collect mail and maintain the home’s exterior. And don’t announce your vacation dates on social media.
When you purchase expensive items or receive them as gifts, such as a new computer or flat-screen tv, don’t leave the box or packaging out in the open. Trim shrubbery below the windows so it can’t serve as a burglar’s hiding spot, and make sure the exterior is free of tools.
A good exterior door is constructed of solid-core metal. Decorative glass may be a tempting embellishment, but it can be easily broken and breached. Most importantly, your door should have a deadbolt that extends at least an inch and a half into the doorframe. Deadbolts can’t be unlocked with a credit card like standard locks.
A “smart lock” is a convenient option that enables you to unlock your door using a mobile device, keypad, or finger scan. This option provides additional ease and security of quick, keyless entry.
Pay extra attention to securing doors and windows that are below ground level. Thieves love basements because they are out of sight and muffle the sound of break-ins.
Hang drapes, blinds, or screens on your windows so thieves can’t peek in to see what kind of loot you have inside. Consider double-pane windows or glass coated with a film that makes it difficult to break. Make sure all windows have a secure lock, and consider approved security grates or bars if the neighborhood is really that bad.
Thieves lurk in the cover of darkness. Make sure to light things up around your home. Install motion-detecting or solar-powered night-lights around the entire perimeter.
If you do have an alarm company, which you should, post the company’s logo on your lawn or entrance. A generic alarm signs from the hardware store won’t cut it.
At the very least, get a dog who will be vocal about intruders.