A burglary happens in America every 15 seconds, according to the FBI. Each break-in is estimated to cost homeowners an average of $1,675 along with their sense of wellbeing. Minimize the risks of becoming a crime statistic by taking the following measures to secure your home.
1. Remember to Lock Up
It may seem obvious, but less than half of Americans say they always lock the front door when they leave the house. That’s despite the majority of break-ins occurring between 6 am and 6 pm, when most of us are at work. Believing your community is safe and friendly can be a costly mistake.
Make it part of your bedtime routine to check all your locks, and do the same whenever tradesmen enter your home. It’s far too easy for workers to leave a door or window unlocked for easy access later.
2. Take Care with Your Spare Key
Keeping a spare key in a flower pot or underneath your welcome mat is so commonplace that it’s the first place thieves will look. Instead, leave your spare with a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member. PIN-secured boxes are another great place for an emergency set of keys.
Ensure that your children know your home’s security information is private. They shouldn’t share the location of spare keys, codes for disarming your security system, or other sensitive details with their friends.
3. Invest in a Home Security System
With burglars spending an average of less than 60 seconds breaking into a home, it’s clear that most look for soft targets. Installing a security system can act as a powerful deterrent, with nine out of ten thieves admitting they’d avoid an alarmed home.
Many homeowners are put off by the price of home security systems, but reputable companies like ADT offer a range of security systems for as little as $36.99 a month. See http://www.securitychoice.net/adt-prices/ to compare the prices on a range of authorized ADT home security systems.
Remember that your insurance company will typically offset some of these costs, as many offer discounts of between 15 and 20 percent to customers with home security systems.
Once your security system is installed, make sure you remove the sticker advertising its brand. Many homeowners mistakenly believe this shows they’ve got a reputable system, but it can actually give thieves an edge in disabling it. Instead, purchase a generic sticker which shows you’ve got an alarm system but doesn’t give the specifics away.
4. Get a Guard Dog
Image via Flickr by 5goldpieces Photography
Jack MacLean, the writer of Secrets of a Superthief, says more than 95 percent of prison inmates convicted of burglary would be scared away by a dog. While Dobermans and pit bull breeds were noted as particularly frightening, a quarter of convicted crims say they wouldn’t touch a house protected by any breed of dog.
If a pooch isn’t for you, you can still play on a felon’s fears. A “Beware of Dog” sign can be enough to make some thieves think carefully before targeting your home.
5. Make Your Home Visible
High fences and leafy trees might offer privacy, but keeping out prying eyes isn’t always an advantage. Should a thief enter your property, these natural features will also make them difficult to detect. Burglars can easily hide in tall, thick trees and shrubs, or use them to access second-storey windows. If you love these plants, make sure you trim them to less than three feet and keep them far from your windows and doors.
Green thumbs needn’t despair though, as many plants can make your home more secure. Seek out thorny plants with abrasive foliage such as the creeping juniper, shrub rose, and giant rhubarb.
Good lighting can also improve your home’s visibility once night falls. Motion-activated flood lights can alert you to activity outside and scare off thieves. Lights on timers can also give the appearance that you’re home while you’re vacationing. This is much more convincing than many other tactics, such as simply leaving your porch light on.
With one in every 36 American homes being burglarized each year, you can’t afford to think it won’t happen to you. Taking security measures now is the best way to keep your home safe for years to come.