Even if you live in a “safe” neighborhood, theft is an issue that has no borders. Any house can look inviting to a burglar. In fact, the FBI lists home burglaries as the top threat to homeowners in the U.S. Approximately four homes are burglarized every minute!
When it comes to security measures for your home and family, you probably know the basics – keep your doors and windows locked, leave lights on when you go out so your home looks occupied, use motion-sensor lights for your yard, or install a home security system. But when planning your home protection, it helps to think like a burglar:
- We are currently in the prime months of opportunity for criminals, as people leave for summer vacation or spend more time away from home. It’s tempting to leave the windows open as you run a quick errand, but burglars are counting on that! Easy access makes the job much faster.
- Thieves use social media to track people who are on vacation, or even just out for a day of sightseeing with the family. Even “secure” social media accounts have vulnerabilities, and with little effort, these criminals can easily find out where you live. Check your privacy settings, but more importantly, NEVER post about vacation plans or share when you are away from home. Remind your children not to share these events on their social media accounts, as well.
- Open your window coverings and walk around your home to assess what can be seen from the street, your yard, even your backyard. Are expensive electronics, heirloom furniture, or other valuables plainly visible? If so, consider some strategic rearranging to reduce your home’s “criminal curb appeal.”
- When you buy an expensive electronic, such as a computer, television, or device, what do you do with the box? Most people drag it out to the curb on the next trash day. But for burglars who are canvassing a neighborhood for opportunities, this is an alert that your home will be worth the time and effort required to break in.
- Sliding glass doors may seem like a solid barrier, but they are an easy target for burglars. However, if you drop a metal or thick wooden rod on the inside track, it makes it impossible for thieves to slide open the door, even with a broken lock. This works well in easily accessible, first floor windows, too.
- Keep the area around your home open, clear, and well-lit at night. You may have heard not to plant shrubs in front of windows, but trees with low-hanging branches, foliage or décor which obscures the front door, or porches with non-functioning lighting all serve as inviting hiding places for a burglar.
- How about a pet? Dogs have proven their value as a deterrent for burglars, but size does matter. Interviewed criminals have admitted that only large dogs with intimidating barks would dissuade them from attempting a break-in. Small dogs are seen as less of a threat.
Over two million home burglaries occur in the United States every year, but every extra precaution you take will increase your home protection and make you less of a target!