How to Make the Home Unattractive to Burglars
In the United States, there are more than 5 million burglaries occurring in residential homes every year. Experts say that 90 percent of these incidents are completely preventable. With just a few simple steps, any homeowner can greatly reduce the risk of his or her home being burglarized. The three key elements to remember are noise, time and light.
If possible, buy a dog. Large or aggressive dogs are not necessary to protect a home, but any breed and size of dog will come with the instinct to alert and protect. Even small dogs can cause bites bad enough to slow burglars down enough to where they are caught. Just be sure to keep the dog current on vaccinations and licensing. Place "Beware of Dog" signs on the fence to avoid any lawsuits. Instead of boarding the dog, it is helpful to have someone watch it in the home while the occupants are away. Another important element of noise is an alarm. Whenever possible, have a coded burglar alarm system installed. This will alert homeowners and neighbors, and many alarm service companies alert the local authorities also.
Burglars are always looking for homes that are quick targets. They figure they are less likely to get caught if they spend less time taking what they want. To slow them down, install deadbolt locks on every exterior door. Put extra locks on patio doors and every window in the home. If doors contain glass, install locks that require double keys. This means a burglar will not be able to break the glass, reach through the door's window pane and unlatch the lock. These keys should always be kept in designated places, and copies should be distributed to family members in the event of a fire when the door is locked.
All exterior lights should be put out of reach, which makes them difficult for burglars to unscrew. They often do this to ensure neighbors will not see them breaking in. It is a smart idea to buy motion-sensitive lighting fixtures. When doing this, place them as high as possible above the doors or windows outside. This puts them out of reach and usually gives off a wider stream of light. If the home is vacant, use light timers to turn lights on and off at random times. If burglars are casing and watching the neighborhood homes, this gives the appearance that someone is home. Light timers can also be used while the house is occupied. Be sure to keep all shrubs and trees trimmed in a way that burglars cannot hide in them.
Electronics, expensive art and guns should never be visible from the street. Always keep self-defense firearms secured properly. Valuable items in the garage should also be locked up or secured. These include ladders, tools and vehicle parts. Always let friends, family or trusted neighbors know the home will be vacant before leaving for a longer period of time. Be sure someone will pick up mail, newspapers or fliers that would otherwise accumulate and give the appearance that nobody is home. While they are much less likely to happen with careful preventative measures taken, burglaries may still occur. It is important to have a list of all valuable items if this happens. Keep a list updated frequently, and be sure the home insurance company is aware of new purchases or changes in the values of personal possessions. To learn more, discuss concerns with an agent.
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