According to the FBI, a burglary is committed in the U.S. every 20 seconds. That can make homeowners feel like sitting ducks.
But burglary is a crime of opportunity. If your home looks unprotected, burglars may strike; if not, they will likely head down the street to another home.
How can you ensure your home isn’t targeted for invasion? Realtor Magazine offers these tips:
Keep your property well-tended: If the paint is peeling, the bushes untrimmed and so on, burglars may feel the home is abandoned “and, therefore, an easy target.” Keep things tidy and the walks shoveled in wintertime.
Know your neighbors: When a community is well-connected, burglary is more difficult, as neighbors will know when someone who doesn’t belong is snooping around a property. Make sure you interact with those around you.
Think like a burglar: Walk around your house and look at how you might break into it. When you see vulnerabilities (windows that aren’t secure, doors that don’t shut tightly and so on), make a list of items to repair.
Light your home: Burglars work in the shadows so that they aren’t spotted. Plentiful lighting removes this advantage. Consider dusk-to-dawn adapters that can be used with existing light fixtures.
Use smart-home technology: New technology can make it look like you’re home when you’re not. Install systems that remotely control lighting, music and other elements to give the impression that someone is home even when you’re away.
Lock your doors and windows: This may seem obvious, but in 30% of all burglaries, criminals entered the home through an unlocked door or window; 34% used the front door, 22% the back door, according to the FBI. Keep doors secure at all times.
Reinforce your locks: “A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame,” notes Realtor. Buy a solid door jam and strike plate, and then install a double-cylinder deadbolt that requires a key to get in and out of the home.
Install surveillance cameras: Realtor notes that after the Los Angeles Police Department initiated a program encouraging homeowners to install doorbells that came with video surveillance capabilities, the burglary rate in one high-crime neighborhood dropped 55%. Surveillance—or signs that indicate the presence of surveillance systems even if they haven’t been installed—is a strong deterrent for criminals.