Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. Any police officer or crime expert will tell you as much when it comes to protecting your home from a burglary. Know how thieves behave.
A burglary happens every 18.2 seconds, according to 2014 FBI crime statistics. Why so frequently? Because in under 10 minutes, a burglar nets an average of $2200 worth of goods from a residence. Make sure you're not one of them. Use these top 7 tips to secure your property.
We all know we should lock our doors and windows. You don't need to be told that - but how easily we forget. Roughly 30% of burglaries required little effort from the burglar - he just waltzed in through an unlocked door or window. Also, check the strength of your locks. Beefing up your door and window locks will make it even harder to break in.
Who's Your Burglar?
Know who is most likely to target your home. In most cases, it's a teenage boy who lives within walking distance of your home. He's familiar with your street, can surveil the neighborhood without looking suspicious, and knows when people tend to come and go - thus knowing the best time to strike undetected. Similarly, a laborer who has done work on a nearby property may have had time to observe your home for an extended period. Dressing up like a landscaper, for example, doesn't mean you are one (at that very moment), and it frees you to knock on doors in order to offer your "service".
Make It Look Like You're Home
Everyone knows that making your home look occupied is a deterrent - so do burglars. They know the game, and they roam a neighborhood in search of an easy target. There are a number of things you can do to paint a convincing illusion while you're gone. Keep a car in the driveway (make sure it's not dirty and obviously out of commission). Have a neighbor pick up your newspaper, or stop delivery. Have a neighbor gather your mail: This can be preferable to a mail hold because burglars are able to see that mail is not being delivered.
Having lights or a stereo turn on can be convincing deterrent. At the most basic, a set of smart electrical outlets allow you to control with your smart phone whatever is plugged into them. This way, you can alter the schedule so it's not obvious that your lights, radio, etc., are programmed. If you want to get more sophisticated, you can employ multiple smart home devices to work together.
Consider a professionally installed solution
When a well positioned smart home product is not enough, take a look a professionally monitored solution that combines the peace of mind and 24/7 monitoring of traditional alarm systems with the benefits of today’s smart home products. Solutions like Alarm.com and Honeywell TotalConnect provide you with a complete solution, including video cameras, sensors, control panels and alarms. And since it’s smart, you can control the entire solution from your mobile device. To go this route, you want to contact a home security dealer in your area.
Secure the Front Door
One of the most surprising FBI crime statistics is that most of the time burglars enter through the front door. While a back door and first-floor window were used 22% and 23% of time, respectively, the front door was used in 34% of burglaries.
Given this high percentage, it is an important place to monitor. You can do this with a traditional security camera. But often burglars are unafraid to ring the doorbell to find out if someone is home. With a video doorbell like the SkyBell HD, not only will you have a video recording of a potential burglar - you'll be able to answer the door remotely with your smart phone. No matter how far away you are, you can answer the door and create the illusion that you are home.
Beware the Guard Dog False Sense of Security
While having a so-called guard dog sounds bulletproof, it's the sound of the dog - not the size - that counts. A big dog may look scary, but if it's slow to bark it will deter few burglars. A noisy and persistent barker - regardless of size - will make it difficult for a potential burglar to operate undetected.
Don't Hand a Burglar the Tools
Burglars rarely case a neighborhood with a crowbar and a variety of break-in tools. That would be too obvious. But they sure love it when you're willing to help. Don't be an unwitting accessory to your own property theft: Lock up your tools. Leaving unsecured tools outside is almost as bad as handing a burglar the keys to your palace.