According to the FBI, more than two million burglaries were reported in the U.S. in 2012, which equates to one burglary every 15 seconds. The good news is there are several things you can do that may help deter a burglar from making your home their next target.
1. Get rid of the “hidden” house key.
It won’t take you long to accomplish this security project, but it could help thwart a burglary. If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve “hidden” a house key somewhere outside your home, like under the door mat or in the shed. Burglars know where to look, and if they find your house key they won’t think twice about using it. Instead of hiding a key outside, give it to a trusted neighbor.
Tip: Consider installing an electric keypad deadbolt that offers the option of entering a code rather than using a key to unlock the door.
2. Illuminate your home’s exterior.
One way to help ward off burglars is to shine a light on him. Break out the toolbox and install flood lights or motion activated lights to illuminate dark areas around your home.
Tip: No burglar wants to be caught on camera; look into installing a few video surveillance cameras around the exterior of your home.
3. Trim shrubbery and minimize hiding spots.
You probably haven’t considered your landscaping as a hiding spot for criminals, but that’s exactly what it could be. Trim overgrown foundation plantings so burglars can’t conceal themselves while breaking into your home.
Tip: Plant thorny bushes, such as holly, under windows to make your home even less appealing to burglars.
4. Fortify windows.
If you were to check your home’s windows right now, chances are you’d find some were carelessly left unlocked or have inoperable locks. Fix or replace broken window locks and install a one inch diameter wooden dowel. Cut the dowel to fit securely between the window and the jamb to prevent an intruder from being able to open it.
Tip: Attach wireless motion sensors to your home’s windows and you’ll know right away if someone’s trying to get in.
5. Replace weak locks with strong deadbolts.
Installing a strong deadbolt is easier than you think and doing so could help save your home from being burglarized. When shopping for a new locking solution, look for those that come with a Grade 1 deadbolt, which mean it’s earned the highest grade security certificate. Once your home is outfitted with a robust deadbolt, don’t for get to use it.
Tip: Some electronic locks can be controlled remotely via your smartphone or other connected device through a home automation system. Two of the most popular home automation providers are ADT monitoring and Vivint.
6. Evaluate the strength of your home’s doors.
If a burglar tries to open the front door of your home and finds it’s locked, he could try to kick it in. In fact, kicking in the front door is a burglar’s most common method of forced entry into a home. Replace doors that are hollow, made of low-quality wood, or are otherwise easy to breach, with high quality steel doors or solid wood doors.
Tip: Reinforce your home’s points of entry with state-of-the-art motion activated security cameras. The moment motion is detected, the security camera starts to record video. You can set up the system so you’re alerted to activity via text or email, and even view the security video in real-time from your web enabled device.
7. Put up window treatments.
Install window and door shades so criminals will have a hard time telling when your home is unoccupied. Opt for window and door treatments that let in natural light during the daytime, but conceal what’s going on in your home at night.
Tip: Put up smart window treatments and use a home automation system to control them from your connected device. In addition to keeping prying eyes from seeing inside your home, smart window treatments may help reduce your home’s energy consumption.
8. Install a monitored wireless home security system.
There are several advantages of outfitting your home with a monitored wireless home security system, not the least of which is you can complete installation yourself in about 30 minutes. Plus, wireless security systems are often considered more dependable than wired systems because a burglar can’t cut phone lines to render the system useless.
Tip: Your insurance company may discount your homeowner’s premium by up to 20 percent when you install a monitored home security system.
No home is burglar proof, but tackling a few of these weekend projects may go a long way toward making your home less vulnerable to a break-in.