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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

How to Keep Burglars Away from Your Home

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 03 October 2018 09:43
How to Keep Burglars Away from Your Home SafeWise

Each year, there are over 2.2 million burglaries in the U.S.

Such thefts are not necessarily violent (although some cases are), but they can be significant violations—both of privacy and of assets. For most homeowners, a burglary can be financially compromising and psychologically damaging.

Luckily, you can take steps to protect your home from intruders, no matter where you live. If you are in the market for a new home, you can also keep your eye out for properties that will put you in the path of protection, not danger.

Here are a few pro tips about keeping burglars away from your home.

Update Your Alarm System

Homeowners keen to protect occupants and belongings from prying eyes and hands can implement an alarm system to warn of intruders. Most contemporary alarm systems are wireless with remote access, meaning that you can check on the security of your home even when away.

Older homes may not have alarm systems in place. Or they may have hardwired systems, ones that are linked to land lines or meters upon meters of cordage.

These may prove more ineffective than wireless systems, as they often require manual operation and sometimes have control panels in more than one place.

Update your alarm system to a wireless system, and if you are really uneasy about your home security, choose one that enables you to monitor intruders from afar (while you’re at your office desk or flying on a business trip to Bangkok, for example).

Avoid “Advertising”

An intruder is likely to enter your home if he or she suspects that its contents may be valuable. This does not mean, however, that only upscale homes in fancier neighborhoods are most subject to thievery.

Homes that suggest easy entry may fall prey to burglary, or those that display inattentiveness of any kind (open garage doors, windows, etc.). Even simply driving a nice car may suggest that you have items within your home worth stealing.

Avoid any external “advertising” in this regard. Keep cars in garages, if possible, and always be sure to seal and lock all entry points. Don’t leave any valuables out in the open or on display.

Lastly, it’s wise not to advertise on social media that you are embarking on a vacation of any kind. Even a seemingly innocuous public announcement of departure can signal intruders that it’s safe to break in while you’re away.

Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Most homeowners assume that they are vulnerable to burglary during evening hours. However, the majority of home thefts occur between 6 AM and 6 PM, when occupants are likely to be at work, school, or other obligations.

Burglars also use a variety of strategies when breaking and entering. Some can identify hidden cameras or quickly disable an alarm system, depending on the types that you use.

Familiarize yourself with how successful burglaries occur so that you can be prepared in the future. Also be sure to know what to do in the instance of a burglary. If you have a family, make sure everyone knows what steps to take in case your home is invaded (whether or not you are present).

Replace Locks

Some locks are more effective than others, particularly newer locks. If your home has old door handles and locking mechanisms, they may be outdated and insufficient for protecting against theft.

Replace the locks in your home with ones that are designed to fend off burglars, such as those that include deadbolts. You may even consider installing keyless locks (yes, those do exist!).

Check out these best locks for security purposes.

When you are away from your home, be sure to keep all windows, doors, and entry points locked. This should be the case even if you feel you are in a “relatively safe” area.

Install Burglar-Proof Windows

The craftiest burglars can break entry at any unguarded entrance to your home. These often include windows, even those that are higher up from the ground.

Burglar-proof your windows by ensuring they have interior locks. You may also wish to implement shatterproof or insulated glass to prevent against breakage.

Other homeowners will install window alarms in case entry occurs at any of these points.

Know Your Assets

When a theft occurs, you’ll likely be fairly aware of it. However, if a thief enters your home and steals a variety of objects, you may not even be aware of the extent of the burglary itself. For reporting and insurance purposes, it’s vital to know what assets you actually have—and their value.

Even if you feel that you live in a low-crime area, take the time to identify and evaluate all of your current assets. You may wish to keep a document of all of this information in case a theft does occur.

If you have any extremely high-value items, consider insuring your property. This is easier than most people assume and can be vital in instances of unanticipated theft. Learn more about personal property or content insurance here.

Know Your Neighbors

If you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood, get to know your neighbors right away. Introduce yourself to them in person, and get the contact information of your closest neighbors. This valuable network may prove useful down the road.

Lastly, consider getting a dog! Having an attentive animal on hand can signal neighbors or residents in case of a burglary-in-action.

Burglar-Proofing Your Home

I’m not urging every homeowner to expect a burglary. I am, however, emphasizing the value of being prepared and taking precautions against theft, particularly in areas that “seem” safe.

Home alarm systems and heavy-duty deadbolts can prove useful in this regard. Insulated glass windows and window locks can also prevent against unwanted break-ins.

Be sure to arm yourself with knowledge—get to know your neighbors, crime rates in your area, and habits of standard burglars. Communicate with your local police force if you are extra wary.

Good luck!

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Kate King

Kate King is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. 

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