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Top 7 Tips to Stop a Home Burglary

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.

Lock Up

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.

Want to stop a burglar? Think like one!

To stop a break-in to your home, you need to think like a burglar. Knowing when and where burglaries occur is a good place to start. First, most burglaries (74%) are of a residential home. And, most happen during the day (when people are away at work). According to the FBI, in 2014 only 28% of the almost 1.9 million residential burglaries in the U.S. are known to have occurred at night. In most cases, the burglar forced their way into the home, but 35% of the time, they simply entered through an unlocked door or window. In most cases, they enter through the front door!

We are on a mission to help make safer homes and neighborhoods – starting with the front door.  Our video doorbell has helped numerous homeowners prevent break-ins while they were home, at work and even in Europe.  While adding a SkyBell HD is a perfect way to help achieve more safety around your home, it helps to look at other ways to bolster your security.

This article offers more ways to increase your safety by looking at the data and thinking like a burglar.

Lock down

To toughen up your home, you should beef up your locks and your windows. Make sure they lock securely. You can upgrade to a “smart” lock if you want remote control of the lock and add window sensors that alert you when they are activated.

Look like your home

The best line of defense is for a home to look occupied, and therefore uninviting to a potential burglar. Having a car in the driveway (that doesn't look dirty and abandoned) is a start. Timed lights, radios or TV sets also make a home look occupied. Exterior lights with a motion detector also can startle a would-be intruder and deter a break-in. And, of course, when you're away, you should stop newspaper and mail delivery, and have neighbors watch your home. A barking guard dog, or at least a warning sign, can also help.

Don’t help them out

To further protect your home, you need to go beyond these recommendations and know your burglar. Then you can think like one. First, the person who breaks into a home is most likely not a professional. In most cases, it's a common thief or a teenage boy who lives within walking distance of your home. Given that profile, he's probably not showing up with a belt-full of tools to pull-off an impossible heist. So, don't leave tools laying around, and lock your tool shed. Anything left out and accessible can be used to break a window or pry open a door.

Secure your front door

Burglars are looking to get in quick and get out fast, spending roughly 10 minutes in your home. How do they get in? Not surprisingly, on the ground floor. According to 2007 FBI statistics, the back door (22%) and a first-floor window (23%) were popular entry points. What is surprising is that a high percentage (34%) came through the front door.

Knowing that a high percentage of burglars break in via the front door, this is an optimal location to announce that the house is being watched, and video recorded. With a SkyBell HD located in your entryway, you'll make this statement loud and clear. Even if you're away from home, you can answer the door and record live video of the person at your doorstep -- the ultimate deterrent.

Upgrade your home security system

While SkyBell is providing a DIY solution for home security, some folks still want the 360-degree and 24/7 comforts of a professionally monitored home security solution that can notify the police. The best part about today’s home security market is that you don’t have to chose between DIY and a traditional solution. Honeywell and Alarm.com have partnered with us to add the SkyBell HD to their smart home security platforms – giving customers all the benefits of a full time solution with the convenience and coverage of a smart doorbell camera.