Did you know that your risk of becoming a victim of burglary in the United States is just 1 in 204? That may not seem that high, but remember – your risk may significantly increase or decrease depending on where exactly you live. In Cleveland, Ohio, for example, your risk of becoming a victim of a property crime like burglary is extremely high at just 1 in 21, while your risk in New York, New York is much lower at 1 in 66. Regardless of where you live, however, the national risk is still high enough to take precautionary measures. That is why we have compiled this list of top 10 home security tips for burglary prevention and protection.
If you are interested in home security advice for your area, check out our regional home security page for expert home security tips specific to your city (for example: home security in Fort Worth, TX).
Top 10 Home Security Tips for Burglary Prevention
- Keep all your doors and windows locked at all times. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is something many people forget or take for granted. Plus, you should keep your home locked up whether you’re home or away for extra protection. Remember to reinforce any French or sliding doors with flush bolts and security bars. Back doors, garage doors, and garage entry doors are the most vulnerable to break-ins; make sure they are reinforced and secure as well.
- Consider shatterproof glass. Speaking of doors and windows, consider going with shatterproof glass when ordering new ones – especially for glass doors. If replacing your doors and windows isn’t on the schedule or in the budget, you can buy a special security film to reinforce your existing glass. Also, if you have French doors or other doors with multiple, small glass panes, be sure the panes are extra secure in their frames and not easily removable or breakable.
- Make sure all the driveways and entryways to your home are well-lit. Don’t just rely on your typical, mostly-decorative porch lights. Back them up with durable, waterproof, hard-to-reach security lights that cannot be easily tampered with. If these security lights are too harsh to leave on all night, put them on an intermittent timer or, even better, a motion sensor. The risk of getting caught in a sudden, bright light is a great burglar deterrent.
- Create a means for clear visibility from inside your front door. This can be achieved through a peephole or windows. Please note that standard peepholes are usually not large enough to be effective. Look for a larger peephole that provides a greater field of vision.
- Maintain a clean, well-landscaped yard. Trim back any trees or bushes to ensure a lack of easy hiding places for potential burglars and to give your neighbors a clean line-of-sight to your doors and windows. Consider planting rose bushes, bougainvillea, or other thorny bushes under windows as a burglar-deterrent, and keep your yard clean of any toys, branches, or tools that may be used to break or access windows. Secure all fence gates with padlocks.
- Store your important information and valuables in an out-of-sight, secure place. Do not rely on common, “unconventional” storage methods like your sock drawer or the freezer. Instead, invest in items like a small safe or lockbox and a paper shredder. If you use a safe or lockbox, keep the key with you.
- Avoid hiding a spare key outside whenever you can. It is always better to leave a key with a trusted neighbor or arrange to give one to the person who needs it ahead of time. If you must hide a key outside, avoid all the obvious places like above the door jamb or under the mat. Instead, wrap it in foil and put it in a more difficult location – such as buried in the flowerbed.
- Always make it seem like you’re home when you’re not. Most burglaries occur in the daytime during prime work hours, so leave a couple of strategic lamps or lights on during the day as well as at night. Your porch lights should also reflect time of day. Timers are a great way to regulate both indoor and outdoor lighting to simulate a lived-in home. For trips longer than one day, have a friend or neighbor pick up any mail or newspapers.
- Hire or appoint a housesitter or home monitor for extended trips. There’s no better way to have your home look lived-in than to have it actually be lived-in. If you’re unable to get a housesitter, at least have a friend or neighbor stop by every few days to monitor your home. Also, don’t forget to stop or have someone pick up your newspaper and mail.
- Double-check your digital and social media security settings before long trips. The best way to prevent your location information from leaking out to potential burglars is to avoid social media and turn off any digital locators altogether while you’re gone. However, this can be unrealistic in a world as digital as ours. If you absolutely can’t resist tagging yourself at that exclusive club or bragging about your hotel balcony view to all your friends, at least make sure that your security settings are as stringent as possible. Since these settings are always changing and receiving updates, be sure to do a thorough check-up on them right before every trip.
Remember, these 10 home security tips only cover the basics. There are many more security measures you may want to implement before considering your home truly burglar-resistant. Check out our other blogs for more home security tips, including how to make your home more secure from burglars with specific home security packages and features.