Keeping Your Home Safe From Break-ins

As one of the most common crimes, burglary is nothing to be taken lightly. Did you know that a burglary takes place every 18.2 seconds in the United States? That adds up to nearly 200 per hour, 4,800 per day, and 1,752,000 every year!

And unlike common belief, most of these burglaries happen in the middle of the day. According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, break-ins are more likely to happen between 6AM and 6PM, right in the middle of the day!

With the fall season upon us and the holidays approaching, it is important to make your home safe from break-ins. While there are many safety recommendations out there, HowStuffWorks has covered the seven most effective.

Don’t showboat.

If you’ve just purchased a pricey new computer or television, breakdown the box and place it in the garbage bin instead of leaving it on the curb for everyone to see. Also, take a walk around your house to see how visible expensive items are with the curtains open. You may want to move some of them out of view to avoid enticing thieves.

Pretend to be home.

A break-in typically happens when no one is home, especially during the day while many people are at work. For that reason, create an illusion that someone is still there. You can leave a light on, along with music or your television.

Secure sliding doors and windows.

You can easily break into some older sliding doors by simply popping them off of their frame, even when locked. It’s harder to do that with newer ones, but you should still take extra precaution to secure them since they can be an inviting entry for burglars. Simply take a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and slide it into the back groove.

Although you should always lock your windows before leaving the house, you can install a simple pin or nail into to the frame to stop it from raising more than a few inches. This will add an additional layer of security in case someone pops off the screen and you have left the window unlocked. Also remember to check window air conditioning units. If you can jimmy the window up from the outside, add a stopper to that frame.

Don’t leave a spare key out.

It may seem like a good idea to leave a spare key hidden under a flower pot or doormat in case you get locked out of your house. But that’s an open invitation for a burglar to walk inside without any difficulty. Instead, give a spare to a neighbor you know well or friend who lives nearby for safekeeping.

Remember to never put any identifying information on your house keys. If you lose them, and someone else finds them, it would be fairly easy to trace them back to your home and break-in.

Secure your yard.

Tall shrubs and overgrown trees are welcome hiding places for criminals to wait until the coast is clear to get into your house. That doesn’t mean you need to cut down every plant in your yard. Just keep things manicured.

Prepare before vacation.

Alert neighbors you trust about your trip and ask that they keep an eye on your property during that time. More importantly, when you leave town, don’t leave signs of an empty house. First, if you have a home phone, don’t change your message to alert callers that you have left town. Also avoid having piled up mail, overgrown lawns and newspapers strewn about your yard that send surefire signals you’re miles away. Last, but certainly not least, don’t announce vacation on social media.

Lock it up.

More than 40% of break-ins happen without the use of force, which means a lot of people are leaving their houses without locking the doors and windows. If you have a thumb latch lock and a deadbolt on your doors, always lock the dead bolt. Double-check weaker doors such as patio and sliding ones to make sure their locks are strong enough to withstand kicks. When you leave your home, don’t forget to lock up the door leading from the garage to inside. Even if your garage door is down, someone can easily open it.

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