You know what they say about accidents—you never know when they might happen. And that’s especially true in the case of home theft. According to statistics, a burglary happens every 15 seconds in the US and is more likely to occur during the daytime when the owners are at work. So if you’re wondering whether your irrational fear of getting robbed is entirely unfounded, it’s not because you should absolutely be worried.
But fear not! Here are seven helpful tips to ensure that your home is less likely to be broken into.
1. Secure all doors and windows
This should come as no surprise. Before leaving the house or going to sleep, make sure that all your doors and windows are locked. And we do mean all of them, including the garage door and basement windows. You want to minimize the point of entries as much as possible. But let’s start with your front and back doors—install a deadbolt or, better yet, an electronic lock system, so you don’t have to worry about losing your key. Don’t try the old trick of hiding your spare key under your mat or in a potted plant outside. That’s just asking for trouble. If your doors have a pet flap, make sure that’s secured as well and that your pet’s safely inside. Reinforcing your doors with sturdy material also keeps them from getting kicked down or broken.
Lock all the windows and make sure to cover them up with curtains. Thieves usually scope out a target first to see what’s worth taking, and if they see you with your flat screen smart TV or high-end PC, you can bet you’ll be on their hit list. Cover all your windows with blinds or thick curtains and install deadbolts on those, too, just in case. You want to cover up the garage windows as well if you store anything valuable in there. You can either use blinds or push up a piece of furniture, like a cabinet, against the wall to block it.
Don’t neglect your basement and attic, either, especially if you use them to store stuff. Try a similar trick with the garage windows by pushing furniture in place to block window access. Most importantly, remember to regularly change your locks or your keypad code if you use electronic locks, and make a habit of locking the front and back doors every time you enter your house.
2. Install a home security system
Nowadays, home security systems are so advanced they can notify you of any suspicious activity they catch on camera, and you can access live streams from any device at any time and anywhere. Having a home security system installed is just one way to prevent break-ins and give you peace of mind when you’re not home. These systems do more than just ring an alarm every time they detect forced entry. They can catch the theft on camera, lock and secure the house for you and detect any signs of fire or flood in your home. Your job is basically done for you with the right home security system.
3. Get a safe
In the event of a break-in, you don’t want any essential documents or effects to be damaged or stolen. Get a safe to store anything precious to you, from documents like your passport, birth certificate, and social security to personal belongings like jewelry, vintage items, and other valuables. Make sure that the safe is fireproof and airtight as well. As much as possible, don’t give away the code to anyone else, even to a family member. Most importantly, store the safe somewhere away from prying eyes, such as the basement or a blind spot in your bedroom.
4. Pretend that someone’s home
The presence of the homeowners usually deters thieves. To give the illusion that you’re home, you can leave the lights on in the living room, hallways, an upstairs room, and the front porch. If you don’t mind spending a bit of electricity, you can leave your TV or radio on to add more credence to the illusion. Whatever the case, just make sure that all your curtains are drawn so nobody can see that the house is actually empty.
5. Have a neighbor housesit
If you’ll be gone for a long time, asking or hiring your neighbor to housesit for you can make sure that nobody gets in and also assures you that the house will be taken care of while you’re away. Any person looking in from the outside can see that someone’s home, with no one none the wiser that it’s only your neighbor, and your neighbor will be able to inform you of any suspicious individuals or possible break-ins. It’ll be just like you were home, except you’re not.
6. Get insurance
Sometimes preventative measures aren’t enough; you want the added security of a backup plan or damage control. Comprehensive home insurance can cover the cost of damage or any valuables stolen in the event of a break-in. Just be sure to talk with your insurance provider about your insurance coverage and the price.
Statistics can be scary to look at, but remember that although they do hold some measure of truth, you can still do your best to remain in the percentage of homeowners who don’t have to experience a break-in of any kind. You can do your part to keep your home and your family safe by taking as many preventative measures as possible and covering all your bases. There’s no such thing as being too careful when you’re protecting your home and your livelihood.