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What Basic Steps Can I Take to Prevent My House from Being Burgled?

Written by | Updated February 6, 2020

Keeping your home secure from burglary is certainly one of your top priorities, whether you own or rent the place you live. The good news is that protecting your home can be simple, sensible, and affordable.

These basic steps—from being careful with what you recycle to removing geo-tags from photos you post online—can go a long way toward preventing your home from being burgled.

Protect Your Home with a Home Security System

Older camera setups that once had to be viewed exclusively by off-site security guards can now be synced with your smartphone or tablet so you always have a view of what’s going on inside and around the perimeter of your home. As more providers have entered the home security market, prices have become competitive.

If you’re wondering if security systems can really prevent home burglary, the answer is that they do: almost two-thirds of burglars would not rob a home with a home alarm system.1

Use Smart Technology to Keep Burglars at Bay

The same automation that allows you to view surveillance video of your home on your smartphone can be used to put you in control of lights, music, and other indicators that someone is home—even when you’re at work or traveling. You can turn lights and TVs off and on to make it appear that your home has not only lights on but also people inside moving from room to room.

Don’t Advertise Your Goods

Use your blinds and other window coverings strategically. Make sure that a burglar who’s casing your home cannot see in through a window to determine if the alarm system is armed, for example. Arrange your home so that high-end electronics are not visible from the street. Of course, you can still make your home look inviting to guests. Just plant some attractive—and thorny—shrubbery around the perimeter of your home.

Be mindful of what you throw in the recycling bin, too. If you’ve just bought a flat-screen TV, don’t leave the box intact. Break it down and block out identifying brands or descriptions on the pieces. Additionally, if you or someone in your family uses prescription drugs, take the empty bottles back to a pharmacy that will recycle them for you. Even a bottle with the label soaked off advertises that there may be prescription medications in the house, and that can be appealing to a burglar.

Be Very Careful on Social Media

Though it can be tempting to post pictures of your Hawaiian beach getaway on social media, don’t do so while you’re still on the trip. You don’t want to make it obvious you’re on vacation. Wait until you’re home, then post a collage. It’s also a good idea to comment thanking your house-sitters—just to clue readers in to the fact that you don’t usually leave your home unoccupied, even during vacations.

Disable Location Tags on Your Camera

Did you know that posting photos online could lead someone right to your location? Many cellphone cameras automatically add location tags to photographs. Even though you can’t see the information on the photo, it could be hidden in the metadata; anyone with the right know-how can find out exactly where the photograph was taken.

If you’re selling items on Craigslist or eBay and the photos you post have geo-tags, you could be unintentionally advertising your address. While some sites do automatically remove geo-tag data, not all do, so cover your bases by changing your phone settings so that your photographs will not be geo-tagged.

Lock Your Doors and Windows, Even When You’re Home

Did you know that 34% of burglars come through the front door? To beat those numbers, get into the habit of keeping everything locked. In the warmer months, when you’d like to enjoy the summer air while you’re home, open windows only in the room you’re in—that way you can enjoy a breeze and still keep an eye on things.

Be sure to double-check that the locks are secure after someone works in your home, too. It can be easy to forget those little details when you’re wrapping up with a contractor, so set a reminder for yourself.

Shed Some Light on the Issue

Motion sensor lights will protect your home as they surprise a would-be burglar and send them scrambling away into the night. As a bonus, many motion sensor lights are affordable, starting at about $20, and easy to install.

Make Your Doors Secure

Always change the locks when you move into a new home. Even if the previous owner or tenant is the nicest person in the world, you never know who had extra keys or made copies. When you change the locks, make sure to opt for top-notch products—you could even consider replacing the current deadbolt with an electronic door lock for extra security.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Don’t wait for an emergency to meet your next-door neighbor. Take the time to introduce yourself and, if possible, establish a friendly rapport. Neighbors looking after each other—and paying attention to people or circumstances that seem suspicious—can go a long way toward creating the type of cohesive environment that’s uninviting to potential burglars.

Ready to make your property more secure? We’ve put together a guide to help you make the right choice and take an important step in protecting your home.

  1. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective

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