10-Steps to Burglar-Proof Your Home
- Maintain your property. Keep snow shoveled off of your walkway and driveway, as well as removing holiday decorations and fallen tree branches in a timely manner. This shows would-be burglars that your home is occupied.
2. Know your neighbors. Introduce yourself and speak regularly. This way you know who lives at the house and likewise. If there is an intruder, all parties will know who belongs and who doesn’t.
3. Assess your home’s vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself, “How would I get in if I were locked out?” The first thing you think of, whether it’s the window with a broken lock or the door that won’t shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in. Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.
4. Respect the power of lighting. Criminals are cowards, and they don’t want to be seen. A well-lit house is a deterrent because thieves don’t want the increased witness potential Easy tools include dusk-to-dawn adapters that go into existing light fixtures and motion detectors. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.
5. Use technology to make your home look occupied. Smart home technology makes it easier to make it appear as if someone is home even when they’re not. If you have purchased different brands of devices throughout the years, a device like Wink Hub- (http://www.wink.com/products/) allows them to all communicate with each other and you to control them all on your smart phone. There are also simple light/lamp timing devices available at hardware stores.
6. Lock your doors. No matter where you live, you should always lock your doors and keep your garage door closed. Some facts sellers should know: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22 percent use the back door.
7. Reinforce your locks. A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame. Invest in a solid door jam and strike plate first. Know the difference between a single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadbolt. Double cylinder deadbolts are recommended because they require a key to get in and out. For safety and emergency escape purposes, you must leave the key in when you are home. But they are against regulations in some places, so check with your local police department’s crime prevention office.
8. Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know police can’t respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime. For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don’t have an alarm, it’s not a bad idea to invest in fake security signs and post them near doors. Even fake security system yards signs give burglars pause.
9. Consider surveillance cameras. Video doorbells such as Ring (https://ring.com) allow homeowners to view streaming video of what’s and who is outside their door on their smart phone. The device has a motion detector feature, as well. The HD video assures that you can see a clear image and the two-way voice feature allows you to talk to them no matter where you are. Most state and local regulations require warning people that they are being recorded, which can be accomplished by printing simple paper signs and posting them near doors and windows. This can be effective even if you don’t have actually have the cameras installed!
10. Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible ink pens or engravers to mark identifying information (driver’s license or State ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers and take photos of your belongings. Check to see if your police department participates in the Operation Identification program. They will have stickers for you to place on doors or windows warning would-be thieves that your items are marked. These steps may prevent them from pawning or selling stolen items and can help you reclaim recovered belongings.
As your local Real Estate specialist, I am always thinking of you and your family’s safety. For more safety tips, drop me an email at Jlyne@kw.com .