Burglary is a problem everywhere, whether you live in a house, a condominium, or an apartment, in the city, suburbs, or a rural area. In fact, a household burglary is committed nearly every 23 seconds in the United States*. Don’t let your home become another statistic. Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your possessions.
• Make sure to install bright lights above your porches, yards, and entrances to your home and garage. If you’re renting, the outside of your building and the parking lot should be brightly lit. The more light you have, the fewer hiding places burglars will have.
• Consider timers or photocell controls to ensure your outdoor lighting is on from dusk to dawn. Or you can install motion-activated lighting, featuring sensors that turn on the lights only when motion is detected. You can even combine dusk-to-dawn and motion-activated lighting with Hi/Lo sensors. They keep lights on at 20 percent of their brightness from dusk to dawn, and switch to full brilliance when motion is detected.
• Trim trees and shrubs around windows and doors. The less cover you give to burglars the better.
• If you’re away for a lengthy trip, have your lawn mowed or raked and have your driveway, porch, and walks cleared of snow or leaves.
• Don’t let daily deliveries pile up while you’re away. Cancel printed newspaper delivery and ask your local post office to hold your mail for you. (Visit the U.S. Postal Service® web site to stop your mail delivery while you’re away and resume it on the day after you return.)
• Never leave notes or post messages online that can tip off burglars regarding your plans.
• When you’re home, park your cars in the garage and close the garage door. This will make it less obvious that your home is unoccupied when you are away.
• Don’t leave tools or ladders in your yard. Burglars may use them to gain access into your home.
• Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and doors from an attached garage. Look for a deadbolt lock that has been given a Grade 1 rating from the American National Standard s Institute (ANSI). The ANSI tests locks for security and durability, and gives them a Grade 1, 2, or 3, with Grade 1 being the best..
• Pin-type locks or key locks work best to secure sliding patio doors. For extra security, cut a 2”x 4” to size and leave it in the door channel while you’re away. You can also drive two or three screws in the overhead track to reduce the chance of the door being lifted out of the track by burglars. If you choose a keyed lock, be sure to keep the key in a location where it will be easy to find for family members in the event of a fire.
• To make locks more secure, install a heavy-duty strike plate using three-inch screws that penetrate the wall stud. Make sure the door strike is held in place by four or more screws. Strengthen the door frame by installing a door jamb reinforcement product.
• Consider purchasing two fire-resistant safes: One for your valuables and one for important documents and data. To protect your safes from theft, bolt them to the floor.
• Think about installing an alarm system, preferably a monitored system that includes an audible alarm and strobe light to frighten away burglars.
• Set up contact sensors for points of entry, motion detectors, or security cameras that can sync to a home monitoring system and be programed to notify the owner via text, email, or phone call when someone enters the residence.
• Have automatic timers installed to turn lights on and off in different rooms at different times.
• Keep a detailed inventory of your valuables, including the date of purchase, price paid, and serial numbers.
• Lower the volume of your telephone so it can’t be heard outside.
• Change locks when you move into a new residence.
Install a Home Monitoring System
To help you safeguard your family and belongings, use a home monitoring system. A home monitoring system may: discourage intruders from entering through sensor-protected doors and windows; detect water leaks early, avoiding serious damage; reduce fire and smoke damage through early detection.
Get a lock on home security
Be sure to take the basic preventative steps outlined here, and file this info away for future reference. Just by taking a few simple precautions, you could save your possessions from theft, keep your family safe from break-ins, and may keep your insurance premiums lower.
* Based on 1,402,214 residential burglaries in 2010. Crime in the United States, 2010. Table 23: Offense Analysis. U.S. Department of Justice—Federal Bureau of Investigation.