Approximately 1.7 million residences in the United States were burglarized in 2011, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. Don’t want to be a victim? Consider taking the following steps to reduce the likelihood that your home will become a target.
Always lock your doors and windows, all of them!
Do you often leave the door to your garage unlocked? This is something that is often overlooked. If you have a garage door opener in your car, someone can break into your car, open the garage and walk into your home.
Choose exterior doors made of hardwood or metal, and when buying a home consider the entrance. Is there windows surrounding the door that could easily be broken, allowing easy access to your home?
Invest in a sturdy lock with a 1-inch deadbolt. Consider changing the small screws that hold the strike plate with stronger 2 or 3 inch screws
Use (and/or install) a peephole
If you don’t have one, you can purchase them for around $20 at most hardware stores and install them in approximately 30 minutes. Always look to see who is at your door, and teach your children to do the same. Leave a step stool nearby if they can’t reach it. Let them know that they should only open the door for people they know or, in some cases, it may be best to teach them to never answer the door without Mom or Dad present.
Never leave a spare key hidden anywhere outside.
Instead leave a key with a trusted neighbor or family member.
Keep windows secure & visible
You can open your windows a few inches and install window locks ($4) which will prevent them from opening any further. Trim or remove any landscaping around your windows. Thick or tall bushes provides cover for burglars and allows them to “work” under cover.
Secure your sliding glass doors
Use a Charley Bar (a metal security bar that fits into the track and locks into place). Want to DIY? Use an old wooden broom handle or other metal rod or piece of wood. Just be sure it fits tightly into place. Additionally, you can prevent thieves from lifting the slider off its track by inserting a few large pan-head screws in the upper track.
Keep your home well lit
Outdoor lighting is a critical part of burglary prevention. It is recommended that you leave on your exterior lights, or consider investing in a motion sensor flood-light. Use timers for interior lights (even when you’re at home). This will give the appearance that someone is home at all times. It is also a good idea to change the times, so someone won’t catch on to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Consider installing a home alarm system
Having an alarm system can be very effective for preventing your home from getting robbed. It can also help to keep you safe in the event of a break in, as most systems notify the police immediately when the alarm company is unable to reach you. Installation can range anywhere from $99 to $200 or more, and monthly fees start at $30 a month.
Can’t afford an alarm system?
Consider purchasing a sign that makes it appear as if you have one. You can find signs such as “Protected by ….” on eBay or at yard sales.
Keep your keys next to your bed
If you hear someone trying to enter your home, push your panic button on your car keys. This will make a loud noise and hopefully send the criminal on his way.
Going on Vacation?
- Don’t announce it to the general public; however, feel free to contact the police department and let them know the dates you will be gone. If they’re not busy, they may be able to take a few extra patrols through your neighborhood.
- Ask a trusted family member, friend or neighbor to take any packages, mail and/or newspapers inside.
- If you’re going to be gone for an extended period, hire someone to upkeep your yard (mow the lawn, or remove the snow).
- Don’t announce your trip on social media!
- Ensure your light-timers are on and set to come on at the appropriate times.
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