Think your home is safe? Think again.
The FBI places burglary at the top of the most common crimes committed at home, occurring once every 15 seconds. These crimes usually happen in broad daylight, when the family is at the office or school. Most times, the victims felt that their home was safe and secure–an illusion shattered by a crime.
While it’s easy to blame burglaries to chance, security consultant Chris McGoey says crimes like these usually happen after a burglar’s “selection process” has exposed weak points.
To avoid falling prey to a burglary, consider the following suggestions:
1. Ensure your alarm is properly maintained and is highly visible.
Alarms are most effective not due to the blaring sound–a sound that happens after someone has broken in. They are effective due to their visibility to would-be-criminals.
Burglars skip homes with visible home security systems, opting for houses that are obviously not protected. Make sure you have alarm decals displayed where potential thieves can instantly see them (such as windows and unobstructed areas in the lawn). Also, keep your passcode away from the keypad and update the response call list as necessary.
2. Refrain from oversharing in social media.
Crime is already digital. In an age where tons of personal data is only a click away, it’s easier for burglars to find ways to break into your home simply by seeing what you post on social media. If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, refrain from sharing details such as when you left, where you are, and when you’ll be back. And post those vacation photos when you actually get back from the vacation.
3. Keep the spare key well hidden.
Though it’s good practice to keep a spare key hidden outside your home, keeping it in obvious and convenient places within the property (the doormat, the door frame, or a pot near the door) isn’t. Choose a hiding place that no one will find.
Better yet, leave the spare key with a friend or a trusted neighbor. You may also want to consider a door lock with a fingerprint scanner or a keypad.
4. Lights on.
According to McGoey, apart from easy access and escape routes, burglars also choose homes that have “the greatest amount of cover.” Poor lighting is an example of “cover.” To minimize nighttime burglaries, make sure that both indoor and outdoor areas are well-lit and if possible, have motion detectors.
Strong lights should be placed in both the front and back yards, at points of entries and along walkways. Objects like trees and pillars that create a camouflage should be accented with proper lighting.
Going on vacation? Get a timer and set the lights to turn on and off and regular intervals.
5. Invest in a home surveillance camera system.
Like the home alarm system, a home surveillance camera system works as a deterrent – and they work best if burglars know they are there to begin with. Burglars will most likely bypass a home with cameras, knowing that every movement can be recorded. It’s recommended if you have cameras with night vision for both indoors and outdoors (such as a camera that you can access via your smartphone or tablet when you’re on vacation.)
6. Keep the lock and door tougher than nails.
When all other five measures fail, a burglar’s last resort is always the point of entry. So you should ensure that your door and window locks are solid, tough, and heavy-duty. Doors should be of high-quality metal or wood, with a dead bolt or a dead latch. For windows, it’s advisable to install anti-lift devices and strike plates with 3-inch screws.
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