You’ve packed your suitcase, lined up a rental car and scheduled a neighbor to take your pet for walks and mow the lawn while you’re gone. But did you remember to secure your home?
It only takes 30 seconds for a burglar to break into a house, so be proactive about protecting your property. Here are five easy ways to better protect your home: Keep in mind that protecting your home is important but also protecting the investments in your home is important too. A home warranty is the best way to protect your investment. Security is vital but it won’t help with an appliance repair cost if all you are doing is protecting your home from burglaries.
1. Install a Security System
Home security systems help protect your family and possessions from burglars and other intruders. They can also alert you to fires, flooding, and other dangerous conditions. Many homeowners’ insurance companies offer reduced premiums for those who have security systems.
Security systems can deter burglars in a more indirect way by displaying the company’s signage and stickers in their yards and front windows. This may discourage burglars who are aware of the presence of a security system from even considering your house as their next target.
A security system can be a complex piece of technology, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing one. Make sure the system you choose has a low upfront cost, as well as monthly monitoring fees that are reasonable.
2. Invest in a Home Alarm
A home alarm can help deter criminals by making it more difficult to break into a residence. Additionally, it can alert the police to a crime in progress, significantly increasing the chances that a perpetrator will be caught and the stolen property recovered.
Moreover, modern alarm systems often allow homeowners to monitor their homes remotely, which can also give parents peace of mind when their children are alone at home with friends or with babysitters. These systems can even make it easy to monitor people entering the house, such as cleaners or tradespeople, and communicate with them via two-way talk.
Obvious signs of a home security system, such as stickers and yard signs, can also deter burglars, who often act out of opportunism and are looking for an easy target. In fact, 83% of criminals surveyed said that they would avoid houses with obvious signs of a home security system.
3. Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Neighbors
In addition to being the eyes and ears of your community, your neighbors are also a resource that can help you feel safer in and around your home. By getting to know your neighbors, you can learn their routines and recognize suspicious activity.
Neighbors can also provide services that make your home appear lived in when you are away, like collecting mail and newspapers, shoveling walkways, or putting lights on timers to illuminate exterior lighting. Moreover, if you are going on vacation, be
sure to let your neighbors know so they can keep an eye on the house and report any unusual activities to authorities.
Neighbors can also serve as a backup for your family in case of fire. They can check smoke detectors, test fire extinguishers, and store gallons of water and shelf-stable food.
4. Lock Your Doors and Windows
While door locks are a crucial deterrent to burglars, windows can also be used as entry points into your home. Ensure all windows are locked and consider upgrading your windows with grates or bars. See where you may qualify for a discount.
Don’t hide a spare key under the mat or in the mailbox. Instead, give it to a trusted neighbor or put it in a lockbox that is integrated with your security system.
Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media and don’t leave messages on your answering machine while you’re away. It’s also a good idea to have dependable neighbors watch your house or pay them to take in your trash, mail and newspapers, and shovel your driveway and walk.
5. Keep Weapons Out of Your Home
Whether it’s a closet near the front door, or in a guest bedroom, store your firearms away from easy access. Thieves typically ignore these areas and can have the guns within seconds, giving them a huge advantage in a home invasion or robbery.
Consider planting dense, thorny shrubs around your property to make it less attractive to burglars. This can act as an effective deterrent and will alert you and your neighbors to anyone suspicious.
If you’re going on vacation, ask a friend or neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers, shovel the driveway, and bring in the garbage cans. It will also help your house appear occupied and deter any opportunistic thieves from targeting it. If you don’t have any friends or neighbors, consider hiring a trusted house sitter to avoid dangerous activities.