According to the FBI, there were more than two million burglaries throughout the nation in 2012. That equals one every 15 seconds. This proves how simple it is for a burglar to enter a home. While an alarm system is always a good idea, there are measures you can take to make your home seem less appealing to a prospective thief.
1. Hold a house meeting to discuss security issues within the home.
Home security needs to become a habit with all members of the household. Implement a routine that includes the simple rules listed below:
- Never open the door to uninvited/unwelcome visitors.
- Use window and door locks consistently– make locking them upon entering, when leaving and before bedtime a habit.
- Secure the home even while doing yard work.
- Always close the garage door (lock manual doors).
- If you have a home alarm system, use it consistently – even if you are just heading next-door to share a cup of coffee with a neighbor.
2. Organize a ‘mock’ burglary.
Have a trusted friend/family member roam through your home for three minutes, collecting any valuables that he/she finds. This exercise demonstrates how quickly an actual burglar can find your valuables. Take the valuables that were found and hide them in unusual places. You may also want to consider purchasing a safe that can be bolted to the floor or renting a safety deposit box at your bank.
3. Install timers.
Whether leaving for an appointment, heading off to work or going away for a few days, creating an ‘occupied’ look in your home is essential. From timers for lights, to devices that make it look as if the television is on, numerous gadgets are available to help create this ‘someone is at home’ illusion.
4. Never leave the ladder or other tools lying around outside.
Do not keep ladders or other tools in areas that are readily accessible to would-be thieves. Burglars may use the ladder to enter the home through a second-floor balcony or window. Tools could be used to assist the burglar in his attempts to enter your home.
5. Inspect all windows and exterior door locks.
- Check the windows to ensure the locks are operable. If they are not, they need to be fixed or replaced.
- A hollow door can easily be breached; thus, all exterior doors should be constructed of metal or wood.
- Because the locks are actually the weakest part of a door, make sure to install a quality lockset. Besides adding beauty and value to your home, a quality lockset sends a message to would-be burglars.
- If nothing else, install a grade 1- or grade 2-dead bolt. Make sure that the strike plate, which is the stationary piece that holds the bolt when locked, is heavy duty. The plate should be solid brass or metal and be secured using six screws that are three-inches long; this length ensures that the screws penetrate both the doorjamb and door frame.
- Use a doorjamb or purchase a floor bolt to secure sliding doors. A doorjamb is nothing more than a wood dowel or metal rod that is cut to fit within the interior track system.
- Adjust the track clearance of sliding doors to ensure that they cannot be removed from the frame.
6. Secure any air conditioners or fans in windows.
An unsecured window fan or air conditioner provides an easy point of entry for a burglar. All window units need to be secured using a sliding window lock, an air conditioner bracket or corner braces.
7. Consider installing key-less locks.
When you inadvertently become locked outside your home, that spare key hidden inside the hide-a-rock is great. However, this is a great way for a burglar to enter your home as well. For this reason, key-less locks may be the way to go. A key-less system requires a pin-code instead of a key, making it virtually impossible for you to be locked out.