You work hard every day so you can provide a home for your family. Keeping your house and your possessions safe is a priority, but did you know that the FBI reported that every 14 seconds, a home in the U.S. is burglarized? Home break-ins are among the most common types of property crime in the country, adding up to more than 2.5 million home invasions each year.
While such statistics are certainly eye-opening, there are steps you can take to help protect your home and your possessions. These 5 tips can help keep your home safe.
Alarm systems act as deterrents. One study has shown that about 90 percent of convicted burglars avoid homes with alarm systems. When choosing an alarm system, you've got a range of options, from simple, do-it-yourself systems to professionally installed systems that may include a combination of surveillance cameras, monitored alarms, and carbon monoxide and fire alarms. If you have some protective devices installed in your home, you may qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance.
Many burglars enter homes by kicking in doors. Reinforce your entry by:
- Installing a metal strike plate with three-inch screws
- Installing a dead bolt with at least a one-inch bolt in all entry doors
- Replacing hollow doors with solid core or metal doors
- Using a wooden dowel or metal tube in the door track to prevent sliding doors from moving
- Immediately change all door locks when you move into a new residence
During the warmer months, leaving the windows open to catch a breeze certainly is pleasant
but it also may attract criminals, especially if your open window can be seen from the street. Keep your windows secure by closing them whenever you leave the house and adding secondary locks to any windows that only have latches. If you simply must keep those windows cracked, don't open them more than six inches. Laying a wooden dowel or metal rod in the track helps prevents thieves from opening the window wide enough to crawl through.
That tree growing in front of your living room window may be lovely
but it may also provide criminals with cover that lets them operate unseen. Don't sacrifice your home's safety; when you're making landscaping decisions, consider security.
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed
- Plant thorny or prickly plants under windows
- Line beds under windows with large gauge gravel; it makes noise if anyone tries to walk on it
- Install motion-sensor or infrared lighting around your home's perimeter
- Use a timer to keep outdoor lights on at night
- Keep garages, sheds, outbuildings and gates locked at all times
Get to know your neighbors. When you're all watching out for each other's homes, it's more difficult for criminals to sneak in. Organizing a neighborhood watch group is free and easy, and a great way to increase security for everyone in the neighborhood.
Following these tips can help keep your home and possessions safe, and may even help you save money on your homeowners insurance. A combination of security systems, reinforced entry points, thoughtful landscaping, and community engagement can make your home a much less attractive target. Plus, many companies offer their policyholders a discount if they have certain safety devices installed in their homes, such as alarm systems.