While the average American household takes at least a few precautions to protect their home from natural disasters and accidents, surprisingly few do much to burglar-proof their homes. If burglary were a rare thing, then this would not be a big deal, but not only does America have the highest crime rate in the world, it also has the highest rate of burglaries. Your home has a higher chance of being robbed than catching fire.
Besides burglar-proofing your home, you should also reduce the temptation to break in by keeping expensive items away from windows. You don’t want people on the street, for instance, to be able to see your big-screen TV.
Burglar-Proof Your Home When You Go On Vacation
When you go on vacation, you leave signs of your absence that an astute burglar will quickly spot. Here are some clues that show you’re not at home:
- There are no cars in your driveway.
- Your mailbox is overflowing.
- Newspaper deliveries pile up on your driveway
- The lights are always out.
- The house is always quiet.
- You leave a message on your telephone answering machine to say you’re on vacation.
- Your voicemail is full.
Burglars consider these signs an open invitation to come to check out what you have at home. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to give the impression that the house has occupants:
- If your household has several cars, leave one in the driveway. If not, borrow somebody’s extra car and park it in the driveway.
- Notify your post office to hold your mail and your newspaper delivery person to hold your newspapers. You can also ask your neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers.
- Use a light timer to automatically turn on the lights in the house in the evening, and also use a timer to turn on the radio.
- Do not leave a message on your telephone answering machine to say you’re away, and clean out your answering machine before you leave.
How to Burglar-Proof Your Home When You’re At Home
Vacations aren’t the only times burglars may decide to rob you. What’s more, you don’t have to be away at work, either. Home invasions are common, too.
In a home invasion, a burglar usually cons the person who opens the door to let them in.
One con is to park a car in front of your house, lift up the hood, knock on your door, and ask if they can use your telephone to call a tow service. Another con is pretending to deliver a package. The delivery man with the unknown package may ask for a signature or offer to carry the heavy package into your home for you. And yet another one is pretending to work for the utility company. The fake utility serviceman will say that he has come to read the meters.
Here are 2 ways to prevent a burglary when you are at home or at work:
- If you are at home, then make sure that you don’t let anybody who knocks on the door come in. If you think they may be genuine, call their company to verify their identity.
- If you are at work, then make sure that all windows are sealed shut and all doors locked.
Here are 4 ways to improve home security even more:
- If you have an alarm already, make sure it is activated.
- Reduce foliage to make the house visible from the street. Luxuriant bushes and trees are an opportunity for people to sneak around in your garden without neighbors noticing them.
- Do not leave a spare key in a flower pot near the door, under a rock near the door, or under the doormat. In other words, don’t use the usual hiding places people like to hide their spare keys.
- Get exterior lights to come on in the evening and turn on during the morning. Also, install exterior lights with motion sensors to cover entryways.
While it can cost you money to burglar-proof your home, it’s money well spent. The FBI estimates that the average American burglary costs homeowners about $2,000 and that there are burglaries every 15 seconds around the country. The cost of getting equipment or hiring a security firm is far less. In addition, many of the things you can do to burglar-proof your home is free. While it will cost you money to buy a burglar alarm, it will not cost you any money to lock your front door when you leave the house.