Each year in the U.S. there are more than five million home burglaries. Most of those crimes were preventable. There are simple steps you can take to make your home less enticing to would-be burglars and reduce your risk of being burglarized.
Here are some ways to keep your home safe from thieves:
1. Don’t advertise
After you buy that expensive new television or computer do not leave the box sitting on the curb. You are telling would-be burglars you have things in your home that could fetch money. Cut the boxes into smaller pieces and put them inside the recycling bin out of plain sight.
2. Pretend someone is always home
Typically if burglars think someone is home, they won’t attempt to break in. When you leave the house, create an illusion that someone’s still there by leaving a light on, or even the television. You can also set timers to set lights to go on and off throughout the home at different times.
3. Secure sliding doors
Locks can easily be picked on sliding doors so take extra precaution to secure them. Place a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and slide it into the back groove of the sliding door to prevent the door from being opened even if the lock is picked.
4. Lock it up
Forty percent of break-ins happen without the use of force. Lock all the windows and doors and use the dead bolt on the door if you have one. When you leave make sure to lock the door leading from the garage to inside of the home. Even if your garage door is down, someone can easily open it.
5. Don’t provide easy access
Never leave a spare key hidden outside of your home that’s an open invitation for a burglar. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbor or hide a combination lockbox to keep a key in.
6. Trim the shrubs.
Don’t provide a hiding place for criminals. Keep the shrubs in front of windows low and cut away any tall tree branches that reach upper story windows.
7. Don’t advertise you are away
If you’re leaving town for a while, let the police know and request that they drive by your property to check on things. Break-ins spike during July and August when homeowners are usually away on vacation. Tell your neighbors you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Have a house sitter pick up mail, shovel the driveway or mow the lawn. These are all telltale signs of an empty home.