Thwarting thieves: Protecting your home from burglary

The FBI states that a home is burglarized every 15 seconds. Even in the nicest neighborhoods, a home burglary can occur at any time. Thankfully, home burglary is one of the most preventable crimes in the country. Below, we have listed a number of ways to help keep your home and your family safe.

Lock up
Installing locks in your home is the most common method used in preventing home burglaries. Installing a lock on your front and back doors should be your first priority, as burglars prefer entering homes through doorways. Experts recommend using a deadbolt lock to secure your doors. A high quality deadbolt lock is difficult to break and often has mechanisms to prevent lock picking.

Exterior doors aren’t the only point of entry for a burglar. You should install locks on your windows, as well. There are many different types of window locks available, from pin locks to bolt locks and keyed locks, all of which provide additional security. If your windows are near a locked door, consider installing shatterproof glass in the window so that burglars cannot break the glass and unlock the door by reaching inside.

It’s absolutely imperative that you lock your doors and windows anytime you leave your home. Even if you’re only gone for a few minutes, that’s all the time a burglar needs to gain entry into your home. Make it a habit to ensure all of your windows and doors are locked before you leave your home. Furthermore, its best that spare keys be given to a trusted neighbor instead of being placed under doormats, in mailboxes or other areas outside your home.

Create the illusion of occupancy
Not surprisingly, the majority of home break-ins occur when the owner is not home. Therefore, one of the best methods in preventing a break-in is creating the illusion that your home is occupied at all times.

Whether you’re going out for dinner or leaving town for a few days, turn on some lights in your home before you leave. Lamps near your front door or lights in your bedroom are common signals that your home is occupied. You can also buy automatic timers to turn on your lights, or use motion detecting lights to deter intruders.

Avoid advertising
Never make it obvious that your home has something of value to steal. Did you just buy a new HD TV? Throw the box away in a black garbage bag instead of leaving it out next to your trash bin. Otherwise, you are practically advertising to thieves that an HD TV is inside, ready for the taking.

Sound the alarm
Another common method to deter home burglary is installing an electronic home security system. A home security system typically includes a control panel, keypad and an alarm that sounds when a door is opened or a window is broken (as long as the system is activated). Other home security systems can feature motion detectors or closed circuit televisions with cameras.

Depending on the service provider, a security system could be monitored. This means that if the alarm goes off, the service provider is automatically notified after a certain period of time passes. Then, they attempt to reach the homeowner by telephone. If they cannot reach the homeowner, or a password is not provided, the security system will call the police.

These are just a handful of things you can do to help prevent your home from being burglarized. For more tips, visit the website for the National Crime Prevention Council.

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