When it comes to protecting yourself from home invasions you can never be too careful. Whether you live in a leafy suburb, a rural community or in the inner city, there is always the chance you could fall victim to an opportunistic robber or home invasion syndicate.
Home invasions occur far more regularly than you might think. Statistics from the Department of Justice show that as far back as 2011 there were 3.7 million burglaries occurring each year. To put that in perspective that is more than 7 burglaries per minute and of those about 1 million were robberies.
Robberies refer to home invasions that take place when the owner is on the premises, while burglaries take place when the owner is away. While there are some homeowners who are willing to go to extreme lengths to protect their property, home invasions can happen to anyone.
The vast majority of home invasions occur between 10am and 3pm when homeowners are at work or out of the house. This makes sense as most burglars are on the lookout for easy targets; properties that offer easy access with little to no resistance. Armed robbery also carries much stronger penalties than a simple burglary.
That said, the DOJ reports that weapons are still used in the majority of robberies with 7.8% of robberies involving knives and (a frightening) 41% involving firearms. Furthermore, the DOJ also reports that 42.5% of home invaders will use intimidation tactics if the owners are at home. This would usually be to extract information such as the location of a safe, cash or other valuables, and while the intent may be to cause fear rather than commit a violent act, the post-traumatic stress of an encounter like this can have a lasting effect on an individual.
While you can never be too careful, there are some simple precautions and measures you can take to help keep you and your home safe. We’ve outlined 5 of our favorites below as well as giving you a couple of ways to help secure your home.
GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS
This is the one of the only things on our list that can’t be bought (unless you count a fruit basket as a welcome to the neighborhood gift). Having a good relationship with your neighbors is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a home invasion. These days there are many alternatives to the traditional neighborhood watch groups, including Facebook groups and dedicated community building Apps, such as NextDoor. No matter how you choose to network, having people you trust who can look out for your property, or call the authorities if the need arises, is one of the best ways to keep your home safe when aren’t around.
ALWAYS BE AT HOME (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT)
On that note, the number one tip given to homeowners to reduce home invasions is to always make it seem like someone is at home. We’ve already mentioned that most home invaders aren’t looking for conflict, instead they want to get in and out with as little trouble as possible. That’s why the idea of someone being home is often enough of a deterrent for a prospective burglar. Besides the easy option of just leaving the porch light on, there are some really cool and affordable items to help make it look like someone is home. Mechanical timers that switch lights on and off at set times are a low cost option, but with the rapid pace of technological development even smart home devices like Alexa offer light scheduling capabilities, as well as being able to turn on your music or television at scheduled times.
MAKE YOUR HOME SMARTER
Speaking of high tech solutions, one of the reasons home invasions are on the increase is because our homes now contain far more valuable electronics and toys than they did 20 years ago. This means that there is far more temptation for potential burglars and it also means that almost any house is a viable target because it will contain a laptop, cellphone or tablet. The flipside of this is that affordable technology aimed at combatting home invasions is becoming increasingly available. From DIY security systems to smart video doorbells the number of options in terms of electronic precautions is growing every day. Many of these solutions don’t even require a smart device or smart home setup, instead working over normal Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
LOCK(LATCH) YOUR DOORS & WINDOWS
A staggering 42% of home invasions require no forced entry at all. When it comes
to burglaries, the vast majority are unlawful entries that occur without the use of force.
In most of these cases individuals exploit open windows and doors to gain entry to a home. The obvious solution would be to simply lock your doors and close your windows but the reality isn’t that simple. Our homes should be safe spaces where we feel secure. The idea of bolting yourself up in your house defeats the purpose of feeling safe. Your home should be a place where your kids can play in the garden without having to lock the door; or where leaving the window open to let the breeze in isn’t a reason to feel vulnerable. Thankfully there are solutions such as LockLatch that offer security without making you feel like a prisoner in your own home. LockLatches are simply lockable latches that can be fitted to any type of door or window, whichever way they open and whatever they are made of – allowing you to leave any window or door open but locked!
THINK LIKE A CRIMINAL
No matter which precautions you take it’s important to audit your home security regularly and take stock of the state of your security. Ask yourself how you would get in if you were a burglar. This method uses your own knowledge of your property to determine where the weak points are in your security. You will start seeing overgrown bushes as potential hiding places; unlocked doors as entry points; expensive electronics displayed in the open as invitations. And you can start taking steps to remedy these problem areas.
We hope this article has given you something to think about when it comes to how secure your home is. When it comes to home security it is always better to be prepared. You want your property to be as difficult as possible for would-be thieves to enter and often a few preventative measures are enough to ensure that your house isn’t the easy target.
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