That old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true in many ways in our lives, from staying healthy to paying our bills on time and even keeping up with oil changes for the family car.
It holds true for protecting our homes and property too. Taking steps to prevent a burglary in the first place can prevent a whole lot of headache and heartache later!
Stopping a potential burglar doesn’t mean you can’t ever leave your home, or you have to chain up a Doberman in the front yard. Some very basic yet commonsense things can decrease your risk…the small “ounces” that pay you back in “pounds.”
1. Look like you’re home
Most burglaries happen in broad daylight, when many people are at work or school. If it looks like someone is home, you’re less likely to be targeted. Consider all the ways you can trick someone into believing you’re home and put them into action. If you have an extra car, keep it in the driveway rather than on the street. Make sure neighbors pick up any delivered packages so they’re not sitting on your front step. Leave a radio or a TV on. At our house, we leave a couple of lights on in the house even when it’s daylight because we have those lights on when we are home.
2. Hide your key. No, I mean really hide your key
Again and again we read about people leaving spare keys in obvious places—obvious to thieves, at least. We think we’re outsmarting the burglar, but the burglar has probably spent more time thinking about stuff like this, so we’re likely not. Assume your clever ideas aren’t, and work harder at hiding the spare.
3. Trim your bushes and remove any hiding places
Broad daylight burglaries are not the same as “in plain view” burglaries. Not that there aren’t stupid people who would break into a house in broad daylight and in plain view both, because there are. But most burglars are going to be at least a little bit sneaky, hiding behind shrubs, trees, bushes, fences, outbuildings…anything that keeps them out of sight while they gain entry to your home. Take a critical look at the outside of your home, and clear away any hiding places by trimming back bushes and branches, and even pulling plants out if you have to.
4. Reinforce your locks
Statistics show that almost all break-ins occur by force, and the burglar enters by a window they’ve broken or a door they have forced open. So make sure your locks are locks that can’t easily be undone. Add deadbolts on your doors for extra security, and make sure you’re using heavy duty locks and strike plates. Insert dowels into the tracks of sliding glass doors and windows to prevent their being opened. If your windows only have latches, not locks, add locks. And—as we said above—trim those bushes. A thief is less likely to break a window to gain entry to your home if they have to do it in plain view of the neighbors!
5. Invest in a home security system
Studies show a home security system is a huge deterrent. It’s not guaranteed burglary prevention but it will definitely decrease your risk. Most burglars want easy in, easy out access to your house. They’d rather bypass the house with the well-advertised home security system to find a more vulnerable option than risk setting off an alarm and getting caught. For very little money, a home security system can definitely offer a pound of cure!