According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an American home is the victim of burglary every 15 seconds. The average loss is around $2,000 of stolen goods or property damage. As the national economy gets worse, home burglaries become more and more common. This information is important to understand if you own a home and have a home owner insurance policy. If you have a high deductible, then you will most likely have to pay out of pocket to replace the items stolen from these small time thieves. However, besides lowering your deductible, there are some other smart, inexpensive, and effective things you can do to protect your home and make it less appealing to burglars in the first place.
Close The Blinds
- It seems like such a small thing but it really does work. It’s that whole out of sight out of mind thing, and taking away the temptation for someone passing by or searching your neighborhood. “Window shopping” is one of the ways criminals choose targets, so take the time to eliminate your home as a place for criminals to shop by simply closing the blinds.
Avoid Trash Advertising
- Especially with the holiday season just ending, it is typical to have large empty boxes at the curb with your trash. If the boxes are from new flat screen televisions, computers or other expensive items, it’s like an advertisement to criminals about what is inside your home just waiting to be taken. Try to consolidate your boxes by breaking them down and putting them inside something smaller that is not labeled, or even inside a large plastic trash bag. It’s a little thing that won’t take much time but is well worth the effort.
Motion Sensors And Timers
- Dark areas are a thief’s best friend, allowing him to get in close without being seen. Therefore, the best deterrent is motion-sensing security lighting. These lights are activated only when motion is detected. This not only startles intruders, but also alerts the homeowner and the neighbors. Motion-sensor lighting is easy to buy and install, and very effective in sending those thieving rats scurrying away.
Reinforce Entry Points
- Install deadbolts on every exterior entry door. Sixty percent of all burglaries happen at ground level doors and windows, so that’s where you should concentrate your security efforts. Insurance companies recommend Grade 1 or Grade 2 American National Standards Institute deadbolt locks for these entry points. And don’t forget about any windows next to these doors. If a thief can just bust the window and reach in and unlock the bolt, it’s not much good. Use quarter-inch Plexiglas over any existing glass that is near an entry door. If it is attached properly, it can prevent the window from being broken, and allowing someone to be able to reach the lock on the door.
- Make sure any plants and shrubbery around your house are not big enough to conceal a person that is attempting to break in, and avoid privacy fences. If you do have an electronic surveillance system, don’t advertise which one it is with a sticker or sign. Some security systems can be hacked if the thief knows what brand it is, so just use a generic sticker or sign. A dog is a great deterrent to a thief. It isn’t that it has to be an aggressive dog; just it’s barking will be enough to scare off an intruder that doesn’t want any attention pointed his way.
Lastly, remember that the overall idea is to make your home look like the least easy target on the block. You don’t have to go for the Fort Knox effect; just don’t look like easy pickins. Check your home insurance policy for even more safety ideas, and to see if any precautionary measures qualify you for a discount on your premium.