The idea of “Home Sweet Home” conjures up the image of a cozy, safe place. Cozy is easy to achieve, but how many of us have homes that are truly safe? The FBI reports that home break-ins are the most common threat to our homes. According to the home security website, www.safeguardtheworld.com, 2 million home burglaries are reported each year in the U.S. Whether you live in an apartment, a single-family home, in the city, or in the wide-open spaces of the country, here are a few suggestions for protecting your property.
- Secure locks are a must. One-inch deadbolt locks are the preferred choice for all exterior doors. For less secure doors, such as sliding and double French doors, metal security bars, known as Charley bars and permanently installed wooden bolts at the top and bottom, are effective. Windows are another matter because so many varieties exist. Fortunately, Home Depot has an entire PDF devoted to ways to secure windows. Here is a link to that article: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=Secure_Your_Windows&storeId
- Use caution when answering the front door. Homeowners and apartment dwellers are all too eager to fling open the front door when the doorbell rings or buzzer sounds. Opening the front door without knowing who’s there puts you in a vulnerable position. Many apartments have peepholes, so use yours and install one if you don’t. Homeowners should have a way to check who is at the front door, such as using another entry or establishing a vantage point from which to check it is.
- Light up the night with spotlights and motion sensitive lights on exterior entrances. Be aware of dark corners on your property and illuminate them to deter prowlers.
- Keep your garage door closed. There is no need to entice a thief with a clear view and easy access to your stuff. It also prevents entry into your home by way of the garage entrance.
- When you are away, keep your blinds and draperies closed. If a thief cannot “case the joint” through unobstructed views of your home’s interior, they will not be so confident that a break-in is feasible. Keeping things closed also prevents a likely thief from choosing which of your possessions they’ll be back for!
- Never leave a spare key outside your home, no matter how cleverly you think you’ve hidden it. Instead leave a spare with a trusted neighbor or friend.
- Do not advertise the fact that you are out of town by failing to stop the newspaper and mail. Stop it or have someone pick it up for you. Don’t post that you are out of town on social media websites where the general public has access to your status.
Although these are all tough things to think about, unfortunately the threat of a home intrusion is a reality for many Americans. These are just a few suggestions for how to safeguard your home. There are many more online and your local law enforcement office is a great resource.
Below is a video courtesy of the Houston Police Department discussing home safety crime prevention tips.