According to recent crime statistics, there is a burglary in the United States every fifteen seconds. If that sounds scary, it is!
But did you also know that burglary is one of the easiest crimes to prevent? The problem is that there are still too many people who either put off securing their home, thinking their neighborhood is safe, or aren’t informed enough about their options to take simple measures that can mean the difference between becoming another statistic – or not.
If you want to avoid that fate, here are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your home.
Deterrence means doing whatever you can to make the actual act of breaking into your home less appealing.
Burglars aren’t interested in getting caught! That means they aren’t going to risk breaking into just any house on the block. They’re going to look for homes that appear unoccupied and unsecured.
You can deter burglars by making it appear as if someone is home at all times. Keep outdoor lights on if you leave overnight, or better yet, put them on a random timer so burglars can’t guess your routine. TVs, radios, interior lights and even window shades can be put on a timer so your home looks occupied. Motion sensor lights can be an unpleasant surprise for a burglar who thinks he’s sneaking in by cover of night, so take full advantage of their presence.
Make it look like you’re home even when you are. Statistics show that most burglaries happen between 10AM and 3PM, when most people are out at work and the kids are at school. That’s prime time for burglars to find an unoccupied home, so if you take a sick day or are working from home, be aware that a burglar who is familiar with your routine may not think you’re home, even if you are.
A car in the driveway is a good visible sign that someone is home, or opening the shades while you work at the kitchen table, for example. Again, the TV or radio playing is also a good sign that someone is there.
And be mindful, that lights on can send mixed messages – if you leave the house and keep outdoor lights on all day, for example, a burglar is likely to think you forgot to turn them off when you left, or you’re away and feigning occupancy.
If you are away, don’t let newspapers build up on your driveway or mail overflow from your box. Have a neighbor pick it up, or if that’s not possible, hold delivery until you return.
And don’t forget the lawn! Nothing says “nobody’s home” like an overgrown yard. Likewise, don’t forget the driveway in winter. If it snows and your drive and walkway remain buried, that’s as good as laying out a welcome mat to burglars. Find someone you trust who can take care of small maintenance jobs for you if you plan to be away.
Visible signs of a security system are also a great deterrent. Sometimes, just a sign from a security company alone – with or without the actual system to back it up! – can be enough to deter a criminal.
Better yet, use video cameras in prominent locations to let criminals know you’re watching, even from afar. Technology affords you many options when it comes to video cameras, including cameras that can send you (and your central monitoring station) instant text messages with video clips should a break-in be attempted.
Finally, use good locks. Burglars know which ones can be picked easily, so go for quality over price and use deadbolts if you can.
Preventing a burglary means making it harder for a burglar to get in – whether you’re home or not. This goes beyond mere signs that deter, to actual measures that protect.
Burglars aren’t going to spend a whole lot of time trying to get into your home, even if they’ve decided it looks unoccupied or otherwise easy.
Keep all exterior doors, windows and garage doors locked. And install a security pin on sliding glass doors, which can be particularly vulnerable. Don’t leave your garage door open –that’s an invitation for a burglar to catalog your belongings and then grab and go.
Push button locks are easy to open, so as we mentioned earlier, go for high quality locks. While you’re at it, remember to lock detached garages and even sheds. Even if burglars can’t get into your home, they can still cost you a pretty penny if they take off with all your lawn and pool equipment!
And if you move into a new home or lose your keys, change the locks immediately.
Some burglaries are almost too easy to prevent, yet people neglect to take some of the simplest precautions. For instance, don’t leave your keys under a mat or in a flower pot. That may be convenient if you forget them but it’s not so great when a burglar finds them.
Keep trees and shrubs in front of your home trimmed so they won’t make good hiding spots for criminals.
And of course, install a security system so that if a burglar does try to break into your home, he’ll be greeted with a loud, blaring alarm that says, “Scram!”
Smart home technology offers some great options for burglary prevention, including conveniences like remote unlocking of your doors so you won’t have to leave those keys under the mat.
Stop writing notes on the door for the kids, the contractor or your guest to let them know you’re out and will return soon. If you do that, guess who else is bound to know you’re out? Instead, use smart home technology to alert you via smart phone if the doorbell rings, and to send you photos or video clips of whoever is at your door. If it’s someone you want to let in, you can do it remotely from wherever you are.
You can also control lights, cameras, thermostats and more, all from the touch of an app, which literally puts better security at your fingertips.
Even with the best security measures in place, it doesn’t guarantee a burglar won’t attempt to break in. That’s why detection is so important. It’s not enough to simply hope to deter criminals. You also have to be able to catch them when they’re too bold.
While a loud alarm may deter, a good central monitoring station means that even if a burglar gets a little too enthusiastic and tries to rob your home anyway, the authorities will be dispatched before he can do much damage or get too far.
If you’re home, the alarm can be as much of a warning to you as to the burglar, letting you know something is wrong so you can take action.
Things like text and video messages sent to you and to your monitoring station are all part of the detection process.
If your home has a second floor, take heed – this is a burglar’s favorite break-in spot. Often, the master bedroom is on the second floor and that’s the room burglars will make a beeline for, since most people keep their valuables, like cash and jewelry, in the master bedroom.
Unfortunately, too many people put their first floor under lock and key while neglecting to do anything to secure the second floor. It would be wise to take the same security measures on any floor of your home – including door and window locks, alarm sensors, motion detectors and glass break detectors. A breach at any of these points will alert your central monitoring station and have authorities on their way.
A final word of caution: burglars most often look for small valuables that they can easily sell without being asked too many questions and that they can carry out of the house quickly. Among these are laptops, phones and other gadgets, watches, cash and of course jewelry.
Most of us leave at least some of these things in plain sight all the time. That makes them easy prey and may be too much of a temptation for a criminal even if your home appears secure. A quick smash-and-grab may be enough for someone to make off with your expensive laptop – and all the files, photos and personal information on it. Take a moment to put small valuables away when you’re not home and don’t leave them in plain sight of an open window, whether you’re home or not.
With some simple safety and security measures, plus a good alarm system backed by a central monitoring station, you can significantly reduce the likelihood that you’ll end up a statistic.
Why put off protecting your home and family another day?
Give us a call or contact us online and we’ll visit your home for a free security consultation, and let you know how to best protect what’s most valuable to you.