Did you know that one in every 36 homes in the US is burgled? Figures from the FBI suggest that thieves cause more than $14 billion worth of damage every year. If you’re keen to avoid becoming a statistic, there are things you can. This guide will help you to protect you and your home against burglars.
Making your home safer
There are lots of different ways you can make your home safer. If you don’t already have security systems in place, here are some ideas to consider.
Home alarm system
A burglar alarm has multiple uses. Firstly, the visible box or pad acts as a deterrent for thieves. If you see an alarm in place, this makes breaking in a lot more difficult. The alarm itself can prevent thieves from even trying their luck. The second purpose of the system is to raise the alarm if somebody does get in. In most cases, movement will trigger loud noises, which will either wake you up or grab the attention of those around you.
If you don’t already have a home alarm system, you’ll probably be surprised at the range of options on offer. You can still buy basic alarms. However, you can also invest in incredibly sophisticated models. You can link your phone to the alarm, which enables you to control it remotely. You can also buy systems that feature cameras, for example, a doorbell camera. This gives you the opportunity to see who is at the door before you open it. With so much choice, it may be tricky to narrow down the options. If you’re looking for advice, you’ll find a shopping guide of home alarm systems online.
Security lighting is designed to illuminate the outdoor areas of your plot when a motion sensor is triggered. This means that if somebody is walking up the driveway, for example, your external lights will come on. Lighting enables you to see better. But it can also act as a deterrent. Thieves who spot lights on the outside of a house are less likely to target that property. Even if you’re not home, lights can alert other people to suspicious activity.
Gates and fencing
Even a simple fence can make life more difficult for burglars. If they have to negotiate a fence or get through gates, this will slow them down. They’ll have less chance of getting in or out of the house without attracting attention. Electric gates are particularly effective because you can’t just hurdle them. If you don’t already have a physical barrier or border of some sort at the bottom of the garden or the driveway, consider adding one.
You may not think there’s a great deal of difference between front doors. However, you’d be wrong. There are hundreds of different types of door out there, and some are a lot harder to penetrate than others. A double layer security door, for example, is a much more complex obstacle to negotiate than a standard wooden door. If your front door is old or damaged, consider replacing it and adding a second layer. You can choose from fixed or sliding security doors.
Locks make it incredibly difficult to break in through windows and doors. Most front doors come with standard locks, but you can also add extra features. You could fit another lock or use a chain for example. Many of us lock doors when we go out, but don’t underestimate the importance of locking windows too. It’s also a good idea to fit external doors and gates with robust locks.
Like burglar alarms, CCTV cameras are an effective deterrent for thieves looking for easy targets. You can link external cameras to internal screens, and any footage you capture can be used by police officers to track criminals down. Even seeing CCTV cameras can put burglars off. If there are CCTV cameras around, it’s likely that the house has additional security measures.
Beware of the dog
If you have a dog, you may find that it’s an incredibly effective security measure. Dogs are territorial, and they tend to let you know if somebody is approaching or trying to enter. When a dog is barking, it can be off-putting for thieves. There’s also the risk of being injured by a protective guard dog. Even if you don’t have a dog, putting up a beware of the dog sign may be beneficial.
Adopting good habits and being cautious
Do you often leave the house open when you pop to the shops or take the kids to school? Are you guilty of leaving the windows wide open in the summer? If so, try and make sure you secure your home every time you go out. Open windows and doors are the most welcome discovery for thieves. They make life much easier, and enable burglars to break in with minimal effort. Before you go to bed or you leave the house, ensure that all windows and doors are closed and locked. This includes skylights and windows on the first floor.
If you’re going away, make sure you store valuable possessions in a safe place. Double check all the windows, doors, and gates before you leave. Cancel deliveries, and ask a friend or neighbor to collect your mail. Piles of unopened letters and full milk bottles are an obvious sign that nobody’s home. Leave a light on, and the curtains closed. It’s also a good idea to park your car in the driveway if you have two vehicles. If you don’t, and you’re taking your car, ask a neighbor if they would mind parking in your driveway while you’re away.
If you leave your car in the driveway overnight rather than a locked garage, always make sure you remove valuables, such as laptops and phones. Lock the car, and take the key up to bed with you. Don’t leave car keys by the front door. There have been cases where thieves have pushed wire devices through letterboxes to get hold of car keys. They can then start the car and drive off without causing any disruption. If you do have a garage, take advantage of it.
If the doorbell rings, always check who is there before you open the door. If you can’t see properly, hold the door ajar, rather than opening it wide. If it’s somebody claiming to be from an energy company, always check the identity card or badge before you let them in. If you’re unsure, call the provider and ask them to check the personal details. It’s good to be trusting. But sadly, in this day and age, you have to tread cautiously. There are scammers out there.
It’s not nice thinking about the prospect of somebody breaking into your home, but the statistics speak for themselves. Burglary is common, and you shouldn’t assume that it’s something that only happens to other people. There’s always a risk that your home could be next. Follow these tips and suggestions to protect your home, and try and reduce the risk of burglary. Work together with your neighbors, and take steps to secure your home. Fit CCTV cameras and outdoor lights, and research modern alarm systems. Get into the habit of locking up every time you go out, even if you’ll only be gone for five minutes. Keep valuables out of view, and don’t leave keys lying around. If you’re going on vacation, let your neighbors know, and ask them to keep an eye on your house. It’s also worth signing up to any neighborhood watch schemes, especially if you tend to travel a lot. This way, you have peace of mind that somebody is looking out for you while you’re away.