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5 Surprising Signs You're at Risk for Home Burglary


Did you know that every 18 seconds a home is burglarized in the U.S.? Home burglaries, larceny thefts and auto thefts cost Americans an estimated $3.6 billion in 2016, reports the FBI. Is your home secure?

Oftentimes, simple mistakes or habits can leave you vulnerable to burglary, even if you have a home security system installed. October is Crime Prevention Month, and there’s no time like the present to make your home’s security top of mind. As you assess your home’s security, keep the following common mistakes in mind:

1. You keep a spare key under your doormat

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) advises keeping spare keys with a trusted neighbor rather than under a doormat, beneath a planter or in your mailbox. All exterior doors should be deadbolted at night. Lock your front door anytime you leave your home, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Doors should feature wide-angle peepholes at a height you can comfortably use.

2. Shrubs or bushes obscure parts of your yard

Don’t get behind on yard maintenance. Overgrown shrubs or bushes offer natural hiding spaces for prowlers. Every one of your outside doors should have functional, bright light, so you can see visitors at night. Install motion-sensitive floodlights to illuminate dark spaces in your yard.

3. You leave bicycles, lawn equipment or other valuables outside at night

Securely storing a bike or yard tools at night may feel like a hassle if you plan to use this equipment the next day, but it’s vital to your home security. The NCPC advises storing lawn mowers and other valuables in a garage or shed at night or anytime you’re away from home during the day. If left in the open, lock these valuables to a stationary point and obscure them with a tarp.

4. Your alarm system is visible through a window or door

Whether it’s visible via a window or a reflection in a mirror, if burglars can see your alarm system status, they’ll know when it’s disarmed and “safe” to enter. If your system is noticeable, use blinds or shades to cover up the view.

5. You’ve never completed a home inventory

In the event of a burglary, would you be prepared to file a home insurance claim? A home inventory is a list of your home’s contents and valuable possessions. In addition to listing large pieces of furniture, record the serial numbers associated with major electronic items and appliances. Use your smartphone to record a video “walk-through” of your home and back up a digital copy to cloud storage.

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