Burglary and home theft can happen anytime, anywhere no matter the neighborhood so helping to prevent break-ins should be a priority for everyone. According to Guardian security expert and ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP), John Lutz, who has more than 25 years of experience in the security system industry, burglars choose what house to strike based on whether it’s unoccupied and how easy it is for them to access. That’s why experts like Lutz advise that you take steps to make it more difficult for burglars to enter your home using multiple layers of security.
“The concept of layers of security is an acknowledgement that you just don’t know what is going to keep an individual from committing the crime. Some are deterred by lights. Others by the big dog. Others find signs and stickers announcing the presence of an alarm to be inhibiting,” says Lutz.
With that in mind, the best way to use these simple home security tips is to incorporate as many of them as you can into your daily life to help prevent break-ins. Burglars are opportunistic and look for homes that are easy targets. Having a house with security cameras, a home security system, nosy neighbors and carefully stored valuables would make it hard for burglars to execute a snatch and grab. According to a panel of ex-con’s here’s how they typically choose to rob a house:
- Burglars case neighborhoods and do some preliminary surveillance before they choose a home to strike.
- They most often choose to strike during the day while most people are away at work.
- They prefer unoccupied homes.
- Burglars also tend to move fast, and are usually in and out of a house in less than 5 minutes.
- They can potentially bypass one or two home security deterrents, but the more obstacles you put between a burglar and his ability to get to your valuables the more likely you are to protect your home and your family.
Here are some tips to help prevent break-ins.
Having a Dog May Not Prevent a Break-in
A trusty dog can help deter potential burglars by alerting you to someone trying to break into your home, but dogs often sleep 12 hours a day and having a dog isn’t the same as having a monitored home security system. You can’t rely on man’s best friend alone to help prevent break-ins. Also, some burglars have said that they will have treats at the ready to lure pets away, or they’ll simply let dogs out of the house before they go after your valuables. Some will even take the dog along with everything else you own.
Maintain the Appearance of Activity
Along with a dog, you should use security lights/automatic motion sensitive lights both in and outside of your home. Noise and light will draw attention to any burglar who attempts to enter your property. Leaving lights on during the day when you’re away at work, leaving your TV on with the volume turned up high, or leaving a radio on can give the appearance that someone is in your home, which may discourage a burglar from attempting a break-in. Smart home technology can also give you control over your lights and home appliances while you’re at work or away on vacation. Essentially, you can set your lights and smart tech connected devices to run on timers and pre-determined automated routines to add to the illusion of an active household while you’re not home.
Ask Police to Help Secure Your Home
Ask your local police department if they conduct free security audits of local homes to help prevent break-ins. Most local police stations will come to your home to help you look for weak spots that need to be strengthened against burglaries. It’s never a bad idea to become more involved with your community and local law enforcement. Seeking their advice on how to better protect your home can put a fresh pair of eyes on security weak spots you might have overlooked. A police security audit can also provide insight on how a burglar sees your house and what other kinds of criminal activity you need to be aware of in your community. Another way law enforcement can add to the security of your home, is by adding it to their “vacant house list.” When you’re going on vacation, you can call your local police department to let them know your home will be unoccupied, and they may be able to drive by and check on your house while you’re away.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Building a rapport with your neighbors, getting involved in your neighborhood, starting or being a part of a neighborhood watch are all ways to positively impact your home’s security. According to the Crime Prevention Research Review, neighborhoods that have instituted a neighborhood watch were associated with a 16% reduction in crime. Getting to know neighbors on all sides of your house helps you to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and to have your neighbors familiarize themselves with you. They can also stop by and check on your house when you’re out of town, and if they notice something out of the ordinary, they can contact you or the police in the event of an emergency. You can also start a private, neighborhood watch Facebook page where you and your neighbors can post pictures or general information about suspicious activity.
Have Yard Signs that Show Security
Security system yard signs and window decals send a warning to burglars that breaking into your home isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Having a monitored home security system means that electronic intrusion signals will be immediately sent to a monitoring center that is staffed 24 hours a day and always at the ready to notify police and provide 24/7/365 monitoring for your home, family and valuables. There are other benefits to having monitored home security, too. You can customize devices to meet your security needs, such as adding video surveillance, an HD video Doorbell to see who’s approaching your front door, monitored smoke alarms, and smart home automation to put lights on routine Off/On schedules.
Secure All Entryways
Doors, windows, sliding glass doors, garage doors, any way someone can potentially enter the home should be double checked before you leave for work or go on a vacation. For sliding glass doors, you can put wooden poles or security bars at the bottom of the door frame to prevent the doors from sliding open if the lock is compromised, and you can put small nails or blockers in the frames above your windows so they don’t raise more than a few inches. Placing smart sensors at your doors and windows allows you to be notified if they have been left open, while a keyless entry with smart locks can also give you more control over who is granted access to your home.
Another way to secure your entryways and help prevent break-ins is to maintain visibility. You want to be able to see who’s approaching your home at any time of day or night, and you want to make it difficult for burglars to hide anywhere in and around your home. While fences, shrubbery and creative landscaping can help maintain privacy and prevent break-ins by blocking unwanted guests from entering your property, they can also obscure the view of entry ways and inadvertently offer a helping hand to burglars.
“There’s an increasing interest in environmental considerations and prevention. When choosing the shrubs for in front of your living room window, the selection of Holly or other bushes with thorns or barbs can make a potential hiding place very uninviting,” says Guardian security expert Lutz.
Evaluate placement of these carefully and for lighting your walkways consider using solar powered LED lights to help you make sure you can see who’s walking to your door or coming up your driveway.
Conceal Expensive Items
It’s important to secure anything valuable that you use outdoors because it’s easier for burglars to snatch and grab items that are left outside. If you cook out with a grill, make sure to store it away in a secure garage or lock it down on your porch with a chain and lock. Don’t leave bicycles, motorcycles or luxury cars out in the open. You don’t want to advertise that you have expensive items. In the same vein, break down boxes for flat screen TVs and other expensive appliances and place them in trash cans and recycling bins; use blinds to conceal what items you have inside; and use frosted film to cover decorative door windows so potential burglars can’t see what’s inside your house. Another area you can conceal that most people don’t consider is overhead garage doors.
Security expert Lutz advises that “the elimination of windows in overhead garage doors keeps determining if someone is home a guessing game.”
If a burglar does make it into your house, using safes for guns, jewelry and other valuables is also another way to secure your items
Prepare Before You Go On Vacation
An unoccupied home is an easy target for a burglar. If you’re planning to be away from home on a long weekend or a summer vacation, inform your local police department and ask neighbors to check on your house regularly and hopefully help prevent break-ins. Contact the U.S. Postal Service and place a temporary stop order on mail delivery or ask neighbors to pick up your mail so it doesn’t pile up. If you have outdoor plants, ask neighbors to water them, or ask a friend, family member or neighbor to mow your lawn or perform a few basic chores in and around the home anything to make it appear someone is living at the house or that someone is actively watching it.
The best way to help prevent break-ins, theft and burglary is to make it as difficult as possible for a criminal to get into your home. Burglars don’t want to be seen or heard. They want to slip in and out of your house as quickly as possible. Below are a few more burglary defense tips:
- Don’t broadcast what kinds of valuables you have
- Keep your home brightly lit with the appearance of activity
- Send the message that your neighbors are always watching by arranging for them to be outside, inside, and around your home while you’re away
- Display signs of a monitored home security system
- Utilize cameras and fencing to your advantage, making it extremely difficult for any burglar to consider your home a target.
At Guardian we are all about helping to protect you and your loved ones and everything you hold valuable. Find out more about what Guardian can offer you by checking out their wide range of smart home devices and smart security products or call 1.800.PROTECT (1-800-776-8328).