A burglary happens every 15 seconds in the U.S. Most of these burglaries happen in broad daylight, when many people are at work or school.
Is your home safe from such harm? Probably not, so let’s go over six things you can do to make your home less appealing to burglars looking for likely prospects.
Let’s start on the outside and work our way in, taking steps along the way to make your home safer by making it more secure.
Do away with hiding places
Let’s start in the street, looking at your house as a passing burglar might see it. Most burglaries happen in broad daylight but that doesn’t mean they happen in plain view. A burglar loves to have a place to hide while breaking in through a door or window. What kinds of hiding places do you see from the street? Are there fences, shrubs, trees or outbuildings like garden sheds that offer a nice hiding place and easy access to an entry point? They need to be addressed. Trim back bushes. Pull plants out. Move garbage cans. Do what you can to eliminate the “cover.”
Check the lighting, inside and out
Your next evaluation needs to happen when it’s dark, because you want to see how well you’re lighting your house for security. You’re still outside, however. Look for the same kinds of hiding places as you did before in the daylight, but this time look for shadows and dark corners. Then figure out how to shine a light on these problem areas. If you find places that need to be lit to make your home safer, but you don’t want your house and yard to glow all night like a nuclear reactor, consider motion detector lights for the areas that need extra lighting.
Also consider the lighting inside of your house as it’s seen from the street. Does it look like someone is home? Choose some windows to light up from the inside, and put lights and lamps on timers so the house is lit from the inside even if you’re still at work or you’ve gone out to a movie. This is particularly important in the winter when the days are shorter.
Make sure your home looks occupied
If it looks like someone is home, your house is less likely to be burgled, although it’s not a fool-proof deterrent. There are several tricks you can use to do make it look like someone is indeed inside, even if the house is empty:
- Put lights on timers, like we described above, so your house is never dark. You might want to leave lights on during the day too.
- Keep any extra cars in the driveway rather than leave them parked on the street.
- Ask your neighbors pick up any delivered packages so they’re not sitting on your front step.
- Leave the radio or the TV on when you’re not home.
Reinforce your locks
We’ve evaluated your home from the perspective of a passing burglar who is out on the street looking towards your house. Now let’s assume that despite your preventive measures, your home is still attractive to a bad guy. Let’s check the security of the home itself, starting with the locks.
Many times, burglars enter homes by breaking a window or forcing open a door. Invest in heavy duty locks and add deadbolts to your doors. To burglar proof your windows, insert dowels into the tracks of sliding glass doors and windows so they can’t be opened from the outside. Also invest in locks for your windows if they only have latches.
Don’t assume; double check
Having a lock does not guarantee it will be used, however. Get into the habit of making sure all doors and windows are locked every day when you leave, including the doors and windows of garages and tool sheds too.
Invest in a home security system
By now, we have put lights on timers and left a radio on. We’ve upgraded our locks and we’re locking the doors every time we leave. Now for the absolute best burglary deterrent: a home security system. Over 90% of convicted burglars say they would avoid a home with an obvious alarm system. And this method for protecting your home is like an inside/outside one: It’s inside your house, but it can be blatantly displayed outside so that any passing burglary-to-be can see the sign and keep on driving, looking for the next potential target.
And when it comes to keeping your home safe from harm, prevention is key!