They say that your home is your castle, and while we all have a right to feel safe and secure in our homes, nothing undermines this quite like a break in or burglary. According to the FBI crime statistics, a burglary occurs every 30 seconds in the US. That amounts to over 300 burglaries per day, which is a truly staggering statistic, and one that should be a wake up call to all Americans. Whether you’ve lived in your home for years, or just bought a place, the time to improve your home security is now. This article looks at some strategies for home theft prevention that you can do to make your home safer for you and your family.
Ways to prevent unwanted break-ins and theft
While the chance of getting burgled will be different depending on the state or city you live in, when it comes to home security you can never be too prepared. Below we look at some measures you can take to reduce your chance of becoming a victim. Burglars are often on the lookout for soft targets, and any precaution you take will make your house that much less of a target.
Tint road facing windows
Many burglaries are crimes of opportunity and so making sure criminals can’t see into your home is a great way to reduce the chance of a break-in. Burglars prefer to know that there are valuables in the home, so installing tinted windows is a great way to keep your possessions away from prying eyes. In the case of home invasions, intruders may also use windows to see who is home before entering the premises, tinted windows also help negate this surveillance technique.
Close curtains to the road facing windows
While tinting your windows requires an investment, a simpler, but no less effective solution is to simply draw the curtains on road facing windows. While not ideal in terms of letting natural light into your home, it makes it far harder for criminals to look for valuables.
Install burglar bars to deter intruders
Windows are one of the most common entry points for burglars, this is because they are fragile by nature and are often left unlocked or have inadequate locking mechanisms. Installing burglar bars on ground floor windows is thus a great safety measure to take. Another alternative is to install a lockable window latch, which provides an extra layer of security and prevents a window from being opened even if it is left open, but more on that in the next section.
Add locks to windows and doors
Many burglars are able to take advantage of unlocked doors or windows. These may be left unlocked due to a false sense of security or carelessness, but sometimes an open door or window is essential to keep the home well ventilated. In cases such as these you need to consider installing a lockable door or window latch where needed. LockLatch and its sister-product MiniLatch are patented security solutions that allow you to keep windows locked, while they are open. These ingenious devices can be fitted onto any type of window or door and use an adjustable C-304 stainless steel arm to keep the window open while at the same time ensuring the gap can’t be widened to let an intruder in. So secure are these devices that each LockLatch comes with a lifetime guarantee due to their simple, yet robust design.
Keep all valuables away from open windows
If you do use a LockLatch or similar device to keep your windows open, then you may want to be extra vigilant about leaving anything of value within reach of the window. Electronics and other portable (but expensive) items should be kept away from the window and out of sight.
Secure the garden shed
Garden sheds are another neglected area of home security, yet they often contain expensive items such as garden or power tools, which make them prime targets for opportunistic burglars. Make sure your garden shed has a working lock, and be sure to remember to lock it when you aren’t in the garden.
Install a safe or lockbox for valuables or important papers
If a burglar does manage to enter your home, they will usually be looking for small valuable items such as jewellery or electronic devices. That is why it is important to have a space to store these types of items. A safe provides a secure location to keep important paperwork, jewellery and firearms, which can be a nightmare to replace if stolen.
Security questions to run through before leaving your home
Security experts always say that you should think like a burglar when considering your home security. However, since most of us aren’t burglars, where do we begin? To help with this we’ve compiled a helpful checklist you can run through whenever you are leaving your home. Eventually these questions will come to you naturally as you become more aware of these security risks.
Are all window locks in place?
This includes even hard to reach windows like second floor or balcony windows, which are often neglected.
Are all door entries locked?
The door is the single most common entry point for burglars, so check them all, especially those around the back of the house.
Are your external gates locked?
External gates prevent easy access to your property, so they should be locked at all times. Always be sure to check they are locked or have closed completely when you are leaving the house.
Have you activated the alarm system?
Always be sure to activate your alarm, in many cases insurers won’t pay out if the alarm hasn’t been activated.If possible connect your alarm system to your smartphone, so that you can monitor it when you are away.
Things to ensure when leaving home for an extended period
Criminals are very adept at working out when someone is away from home for an extended period of time. They may notice a car is missing; or mail building up in the mailbox; or even that the lights aren’t on at night. Regardless of how they know, a prolonged absence will make your home a prime target for these opportunistic thieves. Below we’ve listed some measures you should take to help secure your home in the event of an extended absence.
Inform your neighbors
A good relationship with your neighbors is one of the most important security measures to have in place. Having an extra set of eyes on your property is always a good idea, and this is doubly true if you are away on vacation or business.
Lock the cat flap
If your furry friend is going to be visiting the cat or dog hotel, then it is a good idea to lock the cat flap or doggie door. A LockLatch (or PetLatch for larger pets) makes a great cat flap alternative, as the arm can be loosened and the door closed completely if you go away.
Alert security company
It is also a good idea to let your security company know that you will be away. This will allow them to respond to any incidents promptly, without first attempting to contact the homeowners who may not be available.
Do not leave a spare key hidden
This is a universal security tip (not just for vacation times), you may think that your hiding place is brilliant, but trust us, burglars know every hiding spot there is, and it won’t take them long to locate a spare key in a flowerbed or under a doormat. Rather give your key to a neighbor who can keep it safe until you may need it.
If you have the budget for it, then consider hiring a housesitter when you are away. Having someone present in your space removes all the tell-tale signs that you are away as criminals will see someone coming and going, and notice that your lights are on in the evenings. If you are concerned about the costs, then organisations such as Housesitters of America even have free house sitters on their database.
Remote controlled security lights
As we have mentioned a few times, lights not being switched on or off normally are a beacon for potential thieves, clearly indicating that nobody is home. One product that really shines in this regard is a remote controlled security lights. By giving your remote control to a neighbor, they will be able to switch your lights on in the evening and off in the morning, creating the illusion that somebody is home.
Window locks are on
Leaving your house unoccupied for an extended period, doesn’t just make it a target for burglars. The absence of natural ventilation for even a week can lead to the buildup of damp in your home, this in turn, can lead to the formation of molds and mildew, which can damage both your property and your health. A great way to avoid this is to install a lockable window latch on one or two key windows. This will allow you to ventilate the space and ensure that you don’t return to a mouldy home.
Add a routine check for interior and exterior home security
Remembering everything that needs to be checked when you leave home isn’t always the easiest task. To assist with this we’ve put together these useful checklists for both the interior and exterior of your home. You can use this list to help remember what to look at, and in no time these checks will become second nature.
Below you can find a list of key security checks that need to be completed on the exterior of the home.
- Check fencing
- Check gates and locks are working properly
- Note all potential easy access points
- Bushes and shrubs are trimmed
- Check entryways to an outdoor shed
Before leaving the interior of your home make sure you’ve covered these key security areas.
- Check door locks
- Windows locks are secured
- Check burglar bars
- Change alarm codes
- Check garage locks
Up your home security for optimal theft prevention with LockLatch today
We hope you’ve found this article useful in evaluating and improving your home security. If you are wondering where to begin, why not start with LockLatch which features a patented design to help secure both windows and doors (the two most common entry points in burglaries across the US) quickly and easily.