Each year in the U.S. there are more than five million home burglaries. Nine out of ten of these crimes are preventable. The risk of being burglarized can be greatly reduced by taking simple steps to make your home more difficult to enter and less enticing to would-be burglars. Remember the greatest weapons in the fight to prevent burglaries are light, time and noise.
- Make sure that exterior lights are mounted out of reach, so that burglars can't easily unscrew bulbs.
- Consider buying motion-sensitive lights, which are now available at relatively low prices.
- Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.
- Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows so burglars can't hide in the shadows
Make it time-consuming for a burglar to break into your home by:
- installing deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
- installing double key locks in doors which contain glass. This will keep a burglar from being able to open the door simply by breaking the glass and reaching through. (Note: so that everyone in the house can get out in the event of a fire, be sure to keep the key in designated place).
- placing additional locks on all windows and patio doors.
- Get a dog. You don't need a large attack dog; even a small dog creates a disturbance that burglars would prefer to avoid. Remember to license and vaccinate it.
- Consider having someone care for your dogs in your home while you're away, instead of boarding them.
- If you can afford it, install an alarm system that will alert neighbors of a burglar's presence. Most systems can even summon local police directly. Don't forget to check the alarm code.
Other tips to prevent break-ins
- Think like a burglar. "Case" your home the way a burglar would and look for easy ways to enter your home.
- Be sure valuables such as guns, electronic devices and artwork are not visible from the street.
- Be sure to lock up ladders and tools which could be used to break into your home.
- Work together with your neighbors. Organize a Neighborhood Watch and let your neighbors know when you will be away for an extended period.
- While on vacation, have someone pick up your newspapers and mail, so that they do not accumulate and alert burglars of your absence.
- Display your house number conspicuously and have it well illuminated. This will help police and emergency personnel find your home quickly.
Just in Case...
Sometimes, all your efforts won't stop a determined burglar. It's wise to take some precautions that will help you get your property back should a criminal successfully break into your home:
- Make a list of your belongings (be sure to keep receipts, especially for expensive items like stereos and computers). Be sure to update this list periodically.
- Keep copies of your inventory list and receipts in a safe deposit box or with a friend. (This is also important in the event of a house fire.)
- Photographing and/or videotaping your possessions is a convenient way to keep a record of what you own.
- Engrave your valuables with an identification number or mark to deter theft and to prove ownership should the article be stolen and recovered by the police.
- Be sure you have the right coverage. You may need to purchase additional coverage to protect special items like expensive jewelry or rare antiques.
- If you don't own your home, seriously consider buying a renter's policy. Your landlord will generally not be responsible for your possessions. Rental coverage is available at competitive rates and these policies also offer important protection against liability and losses due to fire or storm damage.