According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report*, there were an estimated, 1,401,840 burglaries in 2017, a decrease of 7.6 percent when compared with 2016 data, but that still means that one burglary occurred in the United States about every 13 seconds.
What can you do to safeguard your home from burglary, which resulted in an average per victim dollar loss of $2,416?
You may not be able to build a wall or moat around your castle, but there are several easy, intermediate and advanced measures you can begin implementing now to further protect your home from break-ins.
Lock all doors and windows when you leave your house.
Pull the curtains. Burglars like to window shop, so make it difficult for them to easily eyeball what you have.
Trim your overgrown trees and shrubs. Left untrimmed, they can provide the perfect cover for unwanted visitors.
Don’t hide a spare key outside your door. No matter how clever you think your hiding place is, a burglar is likely to find it in short order.
Make your house look lived-in, especially if you’re away for more than a day. Have a trusted neighbor pick up your newspapers and mail.
Place a heavy-duty stick or dowel in the tracks of your sliding glass doors.
Get a dog. A barking or yelping dog will make a burglar look for another house that draws less attention.
Don’t leave your garage clicker in your car parked in the driveway. That’s just giving them push-button access to your home.
Don’t advertise your latest purchase. Break down and stuff the labeled box containing your big screen TV or other high-end purchase completely inside your garbage or recycling can.
Replace your low-tech mailbox with a security mailbox. Once the mail is inside, you need a key to the open the door to retrieve the contents.
Reinforce your front door. Most burglars, believe it or not, enter through the front door, by either simply walking through an unlocked door or kicking it in. To reinforce the front door, replace the strike plate — the metal rectangle on the inside of the door into which the deadbolt or door latch is inserted when you shut it. Also, invest in a heavy-duty dead bolt.
Install peel-and-stick alarms to fit on your window and doors. They blare when they sense the door or window open or by vibrations if the glass breaks. You can turn them on and off with the flick of a switch.
Install motion-detector lighting. You can buy hard-wired models or solar varieties starting for as little as $15. Mount them wherever an intruder could pass: doorways, walkways, gates, gardens, pools and all home entrances, including the garage.
Install a floor safe. There’s little purpose to having a safe that a burglar can easily walk off with and worry about opening later.
Install a wide-angle peephole that offers expansive views of possible intruders.
Install a smart lock. Smart locks let you open the door using a keypad, finger scan or your mobile device. That means no more lost or misplaced keys or no more keys stashed under the doormat or flower pot where even an inexperienced burglar is sure to look.
Hire a home security company to install a surveillance system. Although there is a usually a monthly expense, a system that provides 24/7 protection and also links to your local police department may well be worth the extra money. Many security services also include fire and carbon monoxide monitoring as part of their home security package.
Install a webcam. It can feed live images from inside your home to another computer or even your smart phone, letting you keep an eye on things while you’re away. If your home is burglarized, recorded webcam footage may help you or the police identify the burglar.
As part of your home defense plan, get your neighbors involved. You watch their backs, they’ll watch yours. If one doesn’t already exist in your community, start a Neighborhood Watch. https://nnw.org/register-watch.
And if you’re a senior living alone, call your city to see if it offers programs where volunteers make welfare checks or deliver hot meals. A home filled with activity is a happier home and one less likely to be burglarized.