There are over 2.5 million home burglaries in the US each year! I want to make sure that I do everything I can to prevent a home burglary and protect my family. There are some simple and affordable steps you can take to make sure your home isn’t an easy target.
I remember seeing a story on the news recently about a young mom who was at home with her new baby and was shot by a home intruder. This happened at 10 in the morning! Apparently, most home invasions happen during the day when robbers think that people are at work. I stay at home with my daughter so this really made me want to make sure my home was as safe as I could make it. Here are some things that I have done to help prevent a home burglary and you can easily do to your home. This post contains affiliate links.
Park in the Garage
A lot of criminals will start watching houses to see if they can guess your routine. If you park in the driveway or on the street, they can easily drive by and see what times you aren’t at home. If you park in the garage, this makes things a lot more difficult for them. They won’t be able to predict when you will be away.
Beware of Door to Door Sales
Some criminals will pretend to be selling things door to door. They could be dressed in a uniform and look the part but they are trying to see who is home and what you have in your house. Some might even try to force their way in once you open the door. Even if you have the door open just a little bit to talk to them, they can quickly scope out your house and see your TV, electronics, etc. that they may want to come back for later. I just never open the door for someone I don’t know. It might be rude, but I would rather be rude than put my safety in jeopardy.
Burglars are less likely to target a home that has a security alarm sign in the yard. Letting them know that there is a dog in the house may also deter them. Even if you don’t have either one, buy a sign to make criminals think that you do. You can find both alarm signs and Beware of Dog signs online. They will move on to a much easier target.
Don’t make it easy for a burglar to hide. Make sure that you trim any shrubbery or bushes you have around your home. Also, trim any tree branches that may give easy access to a second story window.
Remember to turn on all of the outdoor lights at night so that your house can be easily seen. No one wants to try and open a lock with a light shining on them. If you don’t want them on all night, you can invest in motion sensor security light.
Use your Locks
This may sound like common sense but nearly 30 percent of all robberies happen through an unlocked door or window. Make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked at all times. Just make it a habit to lock a door whenever you close it.
Go around your house and check that all of the windows are locked as well as the door that leads to the garage. If you have a privacy fence, put a combination lock on the gate. A lot of criminals will sneak into the backyard to see if there are any unlocked patio doors or windows they can easily get through.
Don’t Hide a Spare Key
Don’t leave a spare key laying around, even if you think it is in a good hiding place. Robbers know where to look and that fake rock you are using isn’t fooling anyone. Most people have cellphones now so give a spare key to a trusted family member that lives close by or even a neighbor. If you get locked out, all you have to do is call them and ask them to bring you a key. It’s just too risky leaving a key where anyone can find it.
Be Careful What you Post on Social Media
Most home burglaries happen in July and August, when people go on vacation. Don’t post on social media when you are going or even pictures of your vacation while you are there. Anyone can look up your account to see what you have posted, especially if you have your settings to Public instead of Private.
When you go on vacation, have someone collect your mail and newspapers. Nothing says “I’m not home” like an overstuffed mailbox. If it is winter, ask someone to shovel your driveway. If it is summer, ask them to cut your grass. This will also make it look like you are still home.
Don’t Advertise Big Purchases
If you get a brand new TV, laptop, or other expensive purchase, don’t leave the big box by the curb. That is just letting criminals know what you have in your home without them even having to go in. Cut the box up really well and make sure nothing is showing from your trashcan.
Keep your Keys Hidden
Don’t leave your keys laying around on a table or somewhere out in the open. Keep them in a drawer or in your purse. Now criminals don’t even need to steal your key to make a copy. They can take a picture of your key and make a copy using a 3D printer. Granted, your average burglar won’t do this, it will be more of the professional burglars who do, but I don’t want to take the chance.
Leave your Last Name off the Mailbox
Just put the address number on your mailbox and leave off your last name. Anyone driving by can see who lives there and can easily look up your social media accounts. If you post about when you go on vacation or out to eat, the criminals can keep track of when you aren’t at home.
Use a Complex Alarm Code
Most people opt for a 4 digit alarm code, choose a longer one if you can and try to stay clear of using special dates, they are easy to guess. When you enter the code over and over, the buttons become oily. A criminal can see which numbers you use by using some powder and a cheap UV light. If the code is only 4 digits, they have an easier time of guessing it.
Most criminals give up after a minute, which is how long an alarm usually takes to call the police. If you make it more difficult, they will give up and leave. If you can, rotate the code every few months so that you aren’t pressing the same buttons over and over again.
Put Away your Laptop
Your laptop has some of your most valuable information: bank codes, credit card info, passwords, etc. So many people just leave them sitting out in the open. They are easy to grab and take so make sure you have them put away where it might be more difficult to find, not just sitting out on a table.
Keep Car Keys on Nightstand
Most people hang their keys up by the door. A safer place to put them is on your nightstand. If a burglary does happen, you can grab your keys and hit the panic button. If your car starts beeping and making noise, this might spook the burglar enough that they will leave.
Get to Know your Neighbors
One of the simplest ways to stay safe is to get to know your neighbors. You can look out for each other and keep an eye out for strange activity. This is why crime rates are lower in neighborhoods that have a neighborhood watch program.
My neighborhood uses the Nextdoor social media site to keep each other up to date on events, suspicious activity, and more. It’s really neat and a great way to connect with people in your neighborhood. You can set up your neighborhood on this program and get people involved for free (plus, you get a $25 Amazon gift card if you set up a new neighborhood)!
I hope that these tips keep you and your family safe. We all have so much on our plates that worrying about a burglary doesn’t need to be one of them. Are there any other ways you prevent a home burglary?
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