The FBI’s 2016 report Crime in the United States noted 7,919,035 property crime offenses throughout the nation. While in the past 10 years there has been a recorded 19.9 percent decline in this type of crime, that is still a massive number to consider.
Even if you live in a neighborhood that is considered safe, everyone should take a few basic steps to secure your home. Similar to insurance, it’s better to invest a bit of preventative work or finances up front, than to be left covering the entirety of the costs in the event of an incident.
Plan of Action
You don’t need to hire a guard to keep your home safe, but a little bit of role-playing snooping around your own home could do quite a bit of good. Considering that the majority of home burglaries are not committed by experienced criminal masterminds, some simple precautions can ward off any would-be thieves. In no particular order:
- Lock the doors and close (and lock) the windows. Many burglars just climb through a window or walk through an unlocked door.
- Walk around your home as though you were trying to break in. See if you can find any weaknesses that could be exploited.
- When you move into a new house, change all of the locks and tumblers.
- Make it look like someone is indoors at all times. Whether that means using timers on the lights or a radio, or just keeping a tv on when you’re out.
- If your alarm system has been damaged and goes off frequently in error, get it fixed immediately. Once fixed, make sure that your neighbors know it is fixed. It’s easy to ignore an alarm you believe is faulty.
- Do not keep your spare key in the mailbox, under the doormat, or anywhere obvious or easily accessible. Rather, put the key in a box and bury it somewhere you know you can easily find it if needed (but where thieves would not think to look).
- If you have an air conditioning unit on the first floor, make sure it is securely installed so that it cannot be easily removed.
- Install deadbolts onto your windows so you can lock them from the inside.
- Decorative window bars can provide extra security while providing some welcomed additional decor to your home.
- Install a window alarm. If the window is opened from the outside, or forced without being cleared by the alarm, you’ll know.
- Avoid planting shrubbery close to doors or windows. These can provide easy hiding spots for potential burglars until they find an opportunity to sneak in.
- Consider outfitting your door with a deadbolt lock. These won’t be battered around and broken easily, and because they are not spring activated, they cannot be picked with a knife or bobby pin.
- Seal any space found between the door and the frame. It is easy for any would-be burglars to jimmy the lock open with this space available. You can use either sheet metal or plywood to fill in the gap.
- If the hinges on your door are on the outside, hire a professional to configure the door with the hinges on the inside. Some potential burglars may attempt to get past the door by knocking out accessible hinge pins.
The amount of property crime may be dropping, but it will not completely disappear. There is no reason to let a small immediate expense prevent you from far greater loss. Try these simple steps to protect your home and your family against big losses.